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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle at Chilliwack Preview

Tbirds take on Chilliwack tonight and put their undefeated (in regulation) record on the line.

-Seattle comes into the game with a record of 4-0-2 (I combine OT losses and SO losses since they both count as a point) good for 10 points and 3rd place in the U.S. Division. Based on Points Percentage the Tbirds are 1st in the WHL at .833 but have also played 2 less games than the Brandon Wheat Kings and 3 less games than anyone else in the WHL.

-Chilliwack enters with a record of 7-3-0 good for 14 points and .700. The Bruins have already played 8 home games and they are 5-3 in those games.

-The Bruins are 10/54 on the Power Play good for 9th place in the WHL. This works out to 5.4 Power Play chances per game.

-Bruins are also 55/65 on the Penalty Kill for 84.6% which is good for 12th in the league. Giving up 6.5 PP chances per game.

-The Tbirds are 7/44 on the Power Play for 15.9% and good for only 16th in the WHL. They have however generated 7.33 PP chances per game and if you take the perspective that they have scored 7 PP goals in 6 games which would place them behind only 8 teams in PP goals per game.

-Seattle is also 1st in the WHL in Penalty Kill at 33/36 for 91.7% and has surrendered 6 PP chances per game.

Goaltending comparison:

-Matt Esposito is 7-3 with a 2.56 GAA and 90.2% Save Percentage. He has only faced 24.4 shots per game making 22 saves per game and recording 1 shutout.

-Riku Helenius is 4-0-1 and leads the WHL in GAA at 1.58 with a Save % of 93.8%. He has faced 25.6 shots per game, stopping 24 of them per contest.

Scoring comparison:

-Mark Santorelli leads the Bruins with 4-11-15 pts and a +4 rating. He has compiled 1.5 points per game while Colby Kulhanek leads the team with 6 goals. Oscar Moller lead the team in goals last year and has 3-6-9 pts to this point. Brandon Campos has scored 4 times for the Bruins since being acquired from Everett a couple of weeks ago. Nick Holden leads the Bruins Defensive core, the 20 year old has 3 goals and 5 assist while posting a +7 rating.

-Seattle is lead by Thomas Hickey, the 18 year old captain has 4 goals and 3 assists in 6 games. Last year Hickey had 9 goals in 68 games and is on pace for 48 this season. Speaking of which... Jeremy Boyer is tied with Hickey for the team lead in goals at 4 and would also be on pace for 48. I'm going to go out on a very thin limb (catch the sarcasm here guys) that if Hickey and Boyer each score 48 goals this season this team is in very good shape. Jim O'Brien is second in points at 5... the 1st round pick has 1 goal and 4 assists in only 4 games since joining the team.

Keys to the Game:

The formula for a Seattle victory is very simple. For the Tbirds it has and always will start from back to front. Seattle has to limit the mistakes in their own zone and allow Riku Helenius to do what he is capable of doing. If Seattle can avoid any silly mistakes in their own end they should be able to control the Special Teams battle and earn more chances than Chilliwack.

Seattle wins if...
-They have more PP chances than the Bruins
-They convert on at least 1 of those chances
-They do not allow more than one PP goal
-They do not allow more than 30 shots on goal

Prediction... Seattle 3 Chilliwack 2

We'll check and see how accurate I am tonight...

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