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Coquitlam's Milic named WHL playoffs MVP, heading to Memorial Cup

Thomas Milic's dream year continues as the Coquitlam goaltender adds a WHL championship to his senior season collection.

The major junior hockey triple crown is now possible for Thomas Milic.

This after the Coquitlam goaltender propelled his Seattle Thunderbirds to their second Western Hockey League (WHL) championship in franchise history.

He turned aside 30 of 31 shots in a 3-1 Game 5 victory over the Winnipeg ICE to claim the finals' series 4-1 and hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup Friday night (May 19) in Kent, Wash.

It was Milic's 16th win in just 19 starts — an unprecedented feat that easily earned him MVP of the WHL playoffs.

"It's a team award," said Milic in a Seattle team release, who's shown humility with each honour he's accumulated, which also included the league and U.S. Division goaltender of the year awards.

"I wouldn't have gotten it without the incredible group in front of me. I'm so pumped to win it with this group and to do it at home. Super special."

Milic was the golden goalie for Canada in winning the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax, N.S., this past January.

That unlocked the first achievement of the triple crown, and winning his league's championship banner is the second.

Now, he has his eyes set on the third and final mountain to climb.

The Memorial Cup is Canada's national men's major hockey championship, and the tournament is taking place on familiar ice at Kamloops' Sandman Centre.

Seattle defeated the host Blazers in the WHL western conference finals, but two of their three playoff setbacks were against the B.C. rival.

Milic will face Kamloops at least once more at the 10-day event, as well as the winners of the Ontario and Québec leagues still yet to be determined.

Milic has stood tall for the T-Birds since day one of the postseason, winning 10 consecutive games that included sweeping the first two series against Kelowna and Prince George.

The Coquitlam minor hockey alum and Dr. Charles Best Secondary grad recorded a 1.95 goals-against average (GAA) and a .933 save percentage (SV%) in the playoffs, a significant improvement from his 2022 playoff numbers.

Last year, Milic won 14 of 25 playoff games for Seattle, but came up short in the WHL final — a 4-2 series loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Braeden Wynne, also of Coquitlam, was part of that championship Edmonton team as a rookie defenceman.

The 2023 Memorial Cup is scheduled for May 26 to June 4.

The team with the best record after the round-robin stage will receive an automatic berth in the national final, and will match-up with the winner of the semi-final between the second- and third-place clubs.

Milic's next appearance between the pipes will be May 27 at 3 p.m. Pacific time when Seattle faces off against the Ontario-league champions.

@tricitynews Coquitlam🤝Seattle. 🏆 #tricitynews #coquitlam #seattle #whl #memorialcup #thomasmilic ♬ original sound - TriCityNews
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