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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Still Regulation Undefeated

Got home from Iowa last night in time to catch most of the game. I arrived with my wife with about 7 minutes to go in the 1st period.

Let me share some quick thoughts on Friday night's game. Obviously I wasn't able to see the game, but from all accounts it looks as though Jeremy Boyer has arrived.

Boyer was highly touted out of Juniors and came in as an accomplished goal scorer but had only scored once in his first 61 games. That number is somewhat deceptive though since he made the team last year as a 16 year old and dressed most nights on the 4th line. While he had appeared in 61 games, its not as though he had logged a tremendous amount of ice time in those contests. I think what you are seeing now is a kid who is getting better and better, getting more ice time and is starting to produce with his chances.

Which brings me to last nights recap....

-I arrived late.... Helenius in net for the Tbirds. I assume they would like to get him as many games as possible before he leaves for the Junior Worlds which will allow DeSerres ample opportunities to log some games.

-Kamloops maintained an excellent forecheck through the last half of the period and kept the action mostly in the Seattle zone.

-Scoreless after 1st period... SOG's are Seattle-9 and Kamloops-10

-McKenzie delivers a big hit just inside the Kamloops zone but is called for Interference. Helenius stops a nice drive from Juuso Puustinen low to his blocker side and the penalty is killed.

-Richard, Boyer and McKenzie playing together.... not a bad little 3rd line.

-Kamloops again with a strong forecheck keeping the action mostly in the Seattle zone, but Helenius is stout to the challenge and the Tbirds earn a PP.

-Tbirds cannot convert on the PP but several good shots on goal. Schappert and Wells get some action on the PP and do a nice job as well.

-Richard off for Interference in the Kamloops zone... I didn't see it... seemed like a questionable call.

-Halloway and the kill unit give a really nice effort and the penalty is killed. Bud hasn't seen a ton of points to this point in the season but he has been solid on the kill all season. As I have said before, special teams are going to be critical to success and the Tbirds kill another penalty.

-Imac gets a cheap shot to the mouth after a whistle in front of the net by Bender and the two of them scrap for a short time. Imac wins the tussle with a few good right hands. Horrible officiating on this one as Imac gets 2 minutes for Checking From Behind (WHERE???) and 5 for fighting while Bender gets 2 for Roughing and 5 for Fighting. I've seen officials even up penalties all the time... but if you're gonna do it at least call it a Roughing on McKenzie because I have no idea where CFB came from.

-Kenton Dulle goes off for Interference and the Tbirds get another PP.

-GOAL! Tbirds get on the board as Jeremy Boyer stays red hot and flips a nice snap shot to the upper corner over the goaltender LeClerc's right shoulder. The play was set up on a thread-the-needle pass by Prab Rai through the top and left side of the penalty killing box that Kamloops had set up. Hickey with the second assist on the pass over to Rai.

-One second later Shattock and Acolatse drop the gloves. Looked to me like Shattock caught Sena with an early right hand and Acolatse ducked away for a few moments before delivering numerous right hands. I think Shattock caught him a few times but I'd still have to give a slight edge to Acolatse on this fight as well as he landed more quality blows.

-Score after 2 periods Seattle leads 1-0, SOG's SEA-18, KAM-18

-Kamloops goal but Pusstinen as he beats Helenius from a weird angle along the left hand board. I couldn't tell if the shot was deflected or if Riku just simply missed the shot because it didn't appear to be too tough from my angle.

-GOAL! Tbirds back in front a short time later as Josh Schappert scores on a breakaway with a nice forehand wrister over the left shoulder of LeClerc. Schappert got in behind the defence on the right hand side and Brenden Dillon put it right on the tape from inside the Seattle zone. These are the type of wonderful hockey plays that weren't possible before they took out the 2 line pass rule. Tbirds lead 2-1.

-Nixon goes off for a High Stick but the Tbirds cannot cash in the PP.

-Wiebe goes off for Interference on a play that may or may not have been a "slight" dive on the part of Benn Olsen. Either way he goes off here with about 11:33 to play but Seattle cannot convert the PP again.

-Helenius makes some excellent stops during the last 10 minutes and Nielsen goes off for Hooking with 2:30 to play.

-Excellent hustle play by Richard results in a penalty for Kamloops at the man advantage is nullified.

-Jackson takes a tripping penalty with 30 seconds to play but Kamloops cannot push through the tying goal and the Tbirds win it 2-1.

-Final SOG's, SEA-29, KAM-25

Let's Go Birds 3 stars of the night

1. Riku Helenius. Not his best game, but he was again solid throughout and made some tough saves when he had to to get the win.
2. Jeremy Boyer. This is a slight nod to his weekend more than this one game, but he cashes in another PP goal to give the Tbirds the initial lead.
3. Justin LeClerc. Obviously didn't get his team the win but made 27 saves and kept Kamloops from giving up more than just 1/8 while being short handed.

Honorable mention... Ian McKenzie, a tough physical game from him all night. Thomas Hickey, what more can you say about this guy. Brenden Dillon, this 16 year old looks very comfortable on the blue line for a kid his age and made a wonderful pass to Schappert for the GWG.

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