Brett Robertson learned early in his Western Hockey League career that it takes something extraordinary to win in the playoffs.
As a rookie, Robertson played for on a Medicine Hat team that went all the way to the Memorial Cup. Now in his final season of eligibility, he's trying to get Seattle there.
"I was fortunate. I got to learn right away what it takes to win in the playoffs," Robertson said. "I just try to let the other guys know."
Robertson, an undrafted center from Strathmore, Alberta, has posted three goals and a pair of assists in helping the Thunderbirds to a 3-1 series lead over the Tri-City Americans in the first round of the playoffs.
The T-birds can close out the series with a victory tonight in Kennewick.
"We know they're going to come at us hard," Robertson said. "They are desperate and are a team that never quits. We have to be prepared to play, get on them right away and never look back."
While Robertson leads the T-birds in playoff scoring, it has been the defense that has been the key for Seattle.
Seattle @ Tri-City,
Spokane @ Everett,
Goaltender Derek Yeomans has two shutouts and has allowed Tri-City just three goals in four games. Yeomans, who has six career playoff shutouts in his career, said he has no superstitions he'll rely on to keep playing well.
"Honestly, I think superstitions are kind of stupid," he said. "We want to win the next game, obviously, but more importantly, we want to play a good, solid game and give ourselves a chance."
The T-birds have successfully killed off 28 of 30 Tri-City power plays, while goaltender Carey Price has helped the Americans limit Seattle to four power-play goals in 37 chances.
"When there are a lot of power plays, a lot of the saves are through screens or off set plays, so the goaltender is obviously playing great if they keep them out of the net," Seattle coach Rob Sumner said. "Both guys, Yeomans and Price, have been great in this series."
Tips, Chiefs tied
Entering the playoffs, the Everett Silvertips were 35-0 this season when leading after two periods. But on Wednesday, they surrendered a 1-0 lead in the third period and lost to Spokane 3-1, tying their first-round series 2-2. Game 5 is tonight in Everett.
Everett led 1-0 after a goal from Peter Mueller, and would have gone ahead 2-0 but had a goal waved off because it was knocked in with a high stick. Spokane got goals from David Rutherford, Derek Ryan and an empty-net score by Chris Bruton.
The Silvertips are just 2 for 18 on power plays in the series and went 0 for 9 in two losses in Spokane.
Mueller and Moises Gutierrez have five points for the Silvertips, and Drayson Bowman has five for the Chiefs.
Spokane goaltender Dustin Tokarski has allowed just 10 goals in the four games.
The teams will return to Spokane for Game 6 Sunday.