Well rested after playing their best game yet at the Memorial Cup in Kamloops, Nico Myatovic and his Seattle Thunderbirds teammates will get a shot at playing for one of the most coveted hockey trophies if they can find a way to beat the Peterborough Petes in tonight’s semifinal (7 p.m. PT, TSN).
“We’ve played pretty good and I think our game a couple days ago against Kamloops was our best one, so I think we’re trending in the right direction here leading up to tonight,” said Myatovic, an 18-year-old from Prince George.
The Petes recovered from a 4-1 deficit to shock the Blazers 5-4 in overtime in the tournament tiebreaker Thursday night and Myatovic knows the Ontario Hockey League champion are formidable foes.
“They beat Quebec the game before that, so they beat two teams back-to-back and they will be a difficult opponent tonight,” he said. “Every game we’ve had a day before to rest, so we’ve had a good schedule. They played last night so hopefully we’ll put our foot on the gas right away and get off to a good start.”
Playing right wing on the T-birds checking line, Myatovic and his linemate Colton Dach and Jordan Gustafson have drawn tough assignments shadowing their opponents’ most deadly snipers. Myatovic has been a dominant factor drawing forward duty on Seattle’s top penalty-killing unit.
“I’m playing with a really good line and just the entire team, everyone’s been positive and that kind of bleeds into how everyone plays and it looks good for all the individuals on the team,” he said.
He says he’s enjoying being in the national spotlight playing the best major junior teams in the country and has a vocal contingent of family and friends who made the trek south from Prince George to watch his games.
“It’s been exciting to part of this whole experience in the Memorial Cup,” he said. “We’re all here for the same goal, to win another championship and there’s more media attention involved in a tournament like this and that’s the biggest thing. To be a part of it and see where you fair against teams like this has been pretty cool.”
Tonight's winner will go on to face the Quebec Remparts in the final, which starts Sunday at 4 p.m. PT.