Goalie's Return Boosts T-Birds

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Seattle may not have momentum going into Game 5 tonight of its playoff series against Kamloops but, at least, the Thunderbirds have their goalie and lucky bus driver back.

Danny Lorenz, forced to the sidelines by the flu after one period in Wednesday's 4-1 loss at Center Arena, has recovered sufficiently to start in goal tonight.

The Thunderbirds trail the Blazers 3-1 in the best-of-nine series to determine the Western Division champion in the Western Hockey League. Lorenz was sensational in Seattle's only victory, making 52 saves in Seattle's 8-4 triumph Monday.

The status of Seattle's captain and leading scorer, Glen Goodall, is less certain. Goodall, who suffered a shoulder injury in Game 1, played only five shifts Wednesday and was admittedly ineffective.

``Goodall still isn't 100 percent,'' Coach Peter Anholt said yesterday. ``I'm not so sure he's going to be able to play.''

A loss tonight means Seattle will face elimination Sunday at home in sold-out Center Arena in a 6:05 p.m. game that will be televised on Prime Sports Northwest (Channel 6 on most cable systems).

Seattle had a good-luck charm at the wheel yesterday when the T-birds departed on the 339-mile trip to interior British Columbia. The driver was Mike Lant, a Kent fireman whose previous stint behind the wheel was on the successful undefeated Eastern road swing in February.

``I've also been to about seven home games and they've never lost,'' said Lant.

Tonight's game has obvious importance to the T-birds, but Kamloops Coach Ken Hitchcock has a special theory about Game 5 in a best-of-nine series. In such a series, each team is host for two games and then the venue switches for each game.

``Games 2 and 5 are the key games,'' Hitchcock said. ``Game 2 is important because the home team is always emotionally up for Game 1 and plays a helluva hockey game. Then it's a real struggle to get them up for Game 2 (won by Kamloops 4-3 at home last Saturday). The team that wins Game 5 carries momentum into the last four games of the series that wind up being an endurance contest. That's because you're back and forth to each city, living and sleeping on the bus. If you win Game 5, you seem to get a little positive momentum and the bus seems to travel a little faster.''


-- To win the series, the Thunderbirds must win four of the five remaining games, which means they must win twice in Kamloops.

-- Kamloops has moved back ahead of Seattle into first place in the rankings of major-junior hockey teams in North America. The T-birds held the No. 1 spot for seven weeks and now are No. 2.

-- Seattle defenseman Cam Brauer had a black eye yesterday as the result of his Wednesday fight with Kamloops' Paul Kruse. Brauer has a knee injury and has seen limited ice time recently.

-- Dody Wood, a center imported for the series from the Tier II team in Fort St. John, has impressed T-bird Coach Peter Anholt.

-- T-bird fans who duck outside Center Arena between periods for a breath of fresh air are treated to a concert by tuba player Ed McMichael, who plays Ravel's ``Bolero.'' McMichael wears a hard hat because fans delight in trying to throw coins down his instrument instead of into the hat in front of him.

-- Brian Shaw, general manager of the Portland Winter Hawks, said the WHL is likely to put an expansion team into Eugene for the 1991-92 season. Some amateur games featuring players in their 30s and 40s have drawn recent crowds of 2,000 at a remodeled building on the fairgrounds in Eugene. More remodeling will be necessary before the arena is a proper WHL facility, said Shaw.

-- T-bird trainer Curt Kamp was a student-trainer at the U. of Washington for the 1981 and 1982 Rose Bowl football teams.

All-stars named

-- Goaltender Danny Lorenz and defenseman Stewart Malgunas of the Thunderbirds were selected to the WHL West Division All-Star first team.

Kamloops landed four players on the first team - defenseman Daryl Sydor, center Len Barrie, left winger Phil Huber and right winger Mike Needham.

The Tri-City Americans placed three players on the second team. Also on the second team were defenseman Cam Brauer and center Glen Goodall of Seattle.

The Thunderbirds' Petr Nedved, an 18-year-old center from Czechoslovakia, was given the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy awarded to the WHL's top rookie.

Seattle General Manager Russ Farwell received the Lloyd Saunders Trophy given to the league's executive of the year.