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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Game 13 Preview at Spokane

I'll have the video feed up and running on the T.V. tonight so I should be able to provide some live game updates as we go along.

Seattle is 6-3-3, 15 pts. (.625) which is good for 3rd in the U.S. Division and 5th in the Western Conference. Spokane enters the contest 11-2-2, 24 pts. (.800) which is good for 1st in both the U.S. Division and Western Conference. They are also undefeated in regulation on their home ice at 5-0-1. They have won 8 games in a row including a 2-0 victory in Spokane last weekend over the T-Birds. Seattle is losers of 2 straight.

I would expect to see Riku Helenius in goal for Seattle, but I have no idea on the goaltender for Spokane as Kevin Armstrong would technically be their #1 with Dustin Tokarski coming off a shutout over Seattle last weekend.

Spokane is lead by Drayson Bowman (10-8-18), Chris Bruton (5-11-16) and Mitch Wahl (4-12-16). Jared Spurgeon leads the team with a +11 rating followed by Jared Cowen at +11 as a rookie.

Seattle is lead by Thomas Hickey (5-7-12) who is averaging a point per game. Hickey had a point streak of 10 games (to start the season) snapped in Spokane last week with the 2-0 shutout. Prab Rai (0-9-9) and Bud Holloway (3-6-9) are tied for 2nd in points for Seattle. Hickey also leads the team with a +4 rating.

As usual Special Teams will be critical to the outcome of the game. Seattle ranks 21st out of 22 teams on the Power Play in the WHL. After showing some Power Play success through the first 7 games Seattle is now 12/89 good for 13.5% on the power play. Is it really as bad as the numbers seem to indicate?

I did a little number crunching research and Seattle still ranks #2 in the league at earning PP chances at 7.417 chances per game. Only Everett earns more per game at 7.467 per game.

They also rank #14 in PP goals per game. So the numbers may not be quite as bad as the #21 ranked PP would suggest, but there is no question that Seattle isn't capitalizing on their numerous opportunities.

Spokane ranks 10th on the PP having converted 16/85 for 18.8% but rank 16th in earning chances and 12th in PP goals per game. I would contend that Spokane's PP hasn't been much more of a factor than Seattle's.

Seattle ranks 4th in the WHL at killing PP's. They have killed 62/72 for 86.1%.
Spokane ranks 7th in the WHL at killing PP's. They have killed 67/79 for 84.8%.

About equal there.

I have one and only one key to the game.

-Seattle MUST get off to a fast start and earn the lead at the end of the 1st period. Spokane is 8-0 when leading after the 1st and 8-0 when leading after the 2nd.

Prediction: Seattle cannot be expected to win this game on the road against a team that is super hot and unbeaten (in Reg.) at home. At the risk of sounding like a complete homer though, I'm going to predict that Seattle bounces back from a disappointing end to last weekend and gets out of Spokane with a tight 3-1 victory.

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