Social Icons

twitterfacebookgoogle pluslinkedinrss feedemail


Hockey Challenge 2014

Recent Articles


Tbirds can't catch Warriors from behind...

Seattle falls tonight 3-2 at home to the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Seattle fell behind 3-0 after a lack luster 1st period.

I didn't really feel that the effort was horrible in the 1st, but Seattle clearly had troubles in front of their own net and slot area.

Frazer McLaren opened the scoring on a Power Play goal from the mid slot area. Jacob DeSerres might want another crack at that shot, though it was quick and well placed inside the gloveside post.

Moose Jaw then scored two goals from close range separated by exactly 5 minutes. The second of which came on a nice effort by Giffen Nyren to get around Brendan Dillon and make the cross slot pass to Joel Broda for the 3-0 lead headed into the break.

Seattle dominated the 2nd and 3rd periods but couldn't quite catch the breaks they needed to catch Moose Jaw.

Seattle opened the scoring on a mistake by MJ goaltender Joey Perricone who attempted to play a puck in the low slot only to have Lindsey Nielsen shove it right back over his shoulder and off the back bar. That goal came at :23 seconds of the 2nd period and was exactly what the Tbirds needed.

Unfortunately, despite hitting two posts on their 17 shots in the 2nd period, Seattle was not able to score again and proved to be the difference.

Jeremy Boyer pounded home a rebound off an Ian McKenzie slap shot with just over 8 minutes to play in the game. For Boyer (and Nielsen) it was his 10th goal of the season.

Seattle continued to pound the net over and over again and Perricone just wouldn't give up the tying goal.

Perricone finished with 40 saves on 42 shots and even though I though on several occasions he was more lucky than good he was still overall very solid in net for the Jaw.

Jacob DeSerres ended with 21 saves on 24 shots and took the loss.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game (I actually agree with the in Arena stars).

1. Joey Perricone
2. Joel Broda
3. Lindsey Nielsen

Honorable Mention: Benn Olsen (again +2 but where was the fight with McLaren?)

Seattle falls to 16-12-6 which is 7th in the Western Conference on points but 5th in the conference in point percentage.


Seattle goaltenders are on fire...

After Jacob DeSerres posted the 3-0 shutout over Everett last night at Key Arena.... Riku Helenius has a relatively light 15 save shutout today for Finland over Kazakhstan.

Finland won the game 5-0.

More thoughts from last nights win

-Jacob DeSerres looked very comfortable in net and I thought the Seattle D did a really nice job of limiting the type of shots that Everett was able to get. The did generate 28 shots but most were limited to the outside and when DeSerres was not able to hold the rebound the D did a great job of getting the puck out.

-I know there tends to be some negative backlash towards Scott Jackson but I have to point out again how solid the D unit is with him back in the lineup. Even without Captain Thomas Hickey the D was able to put together a pretty solid outing and earned the shutout. Seattle is 6-2-1 since Jackson returned to the lineup.

-Wait Jeremy Schappert has been gone? He looked like he had not missed a beat and played very well in his season debut. The D core gets even stronger and older with Schappert back in the lineup and bodes very well provided that he can finally stay healthy.

-Considering that Seattle was without 4 players and Everett has their full lineup available I thought this game was dominated by Seattle.

-Greg Scott played his tail off and really deserved a star of the game.

-If that goal by Prab Rai isn't in the top 5 plays of the week, I'd love to see 5 better.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Jacob DeSerres
2. Greg Scott
3. Prab Rai

Honorable mention: Sena Acolatse (2 assists), Benn Olson (1 fight, +2 and is now +11 on the season and 4th on the team)

Seattle vs. Everett Recap

Seattle wins 3-0 behind 28 saves by Jacob DeSerres.

I got in late last night and I am up early this morning so I will give more thoughts later.

I can now report what I have known for about a week and a half now since Gregg Drinnan has broken the story on his blog (link you can find to the right). Many of you noticed that Josh Schappert was missing from the lineup tonight and is at home in Winnipeg and has asked to be traded.

The 18 year old Schappert had 4 goals and 4 assists in 22 games and had only just recently come back from a back injury.


Flurry of news today....

Seattle has also added Brad Haber to the active roster for tonight's game according to

Haber has been playing for the Hope Icebreakers and he is 17 years old. His player profile can be found here

He has 4 goals and 3 assists in 18 games for Hope. Haber was a participant in Seattle's main pre-season camp this year. He is listed as both a D and a F in different places so we'll have to wait and see where he ends up.

Riku Update

Helenius got the win in the shootout yesterday helping Finland get a 4-3 win over the Swiss. Riku made 25 saves on 28 shots. I found this picture from the game.

Josh Lazowski reassigned

Lazowski was reassigned to the Midget AAA team in Leduc, Alberta. Of course there was no announcement of this by the Thunderbirds so this comes from Gregg Drinnan's blog.

This is not the roster move I believe is on the horizon.


Moves coming

I have it on a good source there will be some roster movement in the very near future.

Stay tuned...

2nd half begins

As many of you know the WHL is back in action tonight with 4 games on the slate. Seattle obviously is not in one of those games and returns to action tomorrow night against Everett at Key Arena.

The Tbirds catch a little bit of an early scheduling break as Everett has to play tonight in Tri Cities against the Americans and return to Seattle for the game Friday night while Seattle rests at home.

In addition Seattle then gets Saturday off and waits for Moose Jaw to come in for a Sunday 5:05 game.

Seattle will be without Thomas Hickey and Riku Helenius and I would imagine Jacob DeSerres will get both starts this weekend with a slight chance that Calvin Pickard gets Sunday's start.


Merry Christmas/Boxing Day, etc.

Happy Holidays to everyone. Just a quick post tonight... Thomas Hickey had two assists for Team Canada in their last tune up game before the World Juniors are set to begin.

The link to the box score can be found here...


Seattle adds Calvin Pickard

Seattle has added Calvin Pickard to the active roster. I would think that they would bring him to Seattle to play in a game or two and serve as the backup to Jacob DeSerres. I don't think you add a 15 year old goaltender to the roster unless you intend to use him at least a little bit. Although not official I wouldn't think Seattle would carry 3 goaltenders meaning that Harrison May is likely out again (at least he played a little bit this time around).

Pickard looked very good in training camp and appears to have a bright future in the WHL. His play was very calm and stable throughout with very little wasted motion and a nice glove. Interesting to see how it translates in a few games of action. Being a 15 year old, Pickard would only be able to play in 5 games at the most.

Seattle returns to action at home vs. Everett on Friday the 28th and on Sunday vs. the Moose Jaw Warriors for their only visit to town before hitting the road for their annual New Years Eve game in Portland against the Winterhawks.


Formal Congrats to Riku

Even though we all thought this would likely happen... Officially Riku Helenius has been named to Team Finland. Congratulations to Riku for making the team. Jacob DeSerres will serve as Seattle's #1 goalie until Helenius returns and Seattle has to be pretty happy that they have a goaltender of his quality able to step in.

Juuso Puustinen who beat Helenius with that ridiculous move ( early in the season also made the team.

Roster here...


Seattle heads to the Winter Break with a big win...

Tbirds get the 8-3 victory tonight over the Swift Current Broncos. Greg Scott explodes for 3 goals and 2 assists while Bud Holloway gets 2 goals and 3 assists.

This marks the highest offense output of the season for Seattle on the night after they were shutout for the 4th time this season.

Greg Scott is the 1st star with the hat trick and 5 points and Holloway gets the 2nd star with 5 points on 2 goals. Jim O'Brien gets somewhat lost in the explosion but managed to score his 5th and 6th goals of the year in the win.

Brenden Silvester received an Elbowing Major penalty in the 1st period and with it came a Game Misconduct. We'll see if the 16 year old is suspended further.

Seattle moves to 15-11-6 on the season which is good for 36 points and a tie for 3rd place in the US Division with Everett. They also have 3 games in hand on the Silvertips. With a winning % of .562 Seattle moves into 5th place in the conference ahead of the Chilliwack Bruins and behind the Kelowna Rockets at .622.


Seattle at Spokane Review

If you had told me before tonight's game that the final score was 1-0, I would have told you that I thought Seattle had won. Instead Spokane skates off with the 1-0 victory tonight.

Jacob DeSerres played well in net tonight but was outdone by Dustin Tokarski who shutout the TBirds for the third time this season.

Tokarski clearly owns Seattle and deserved the 1st star tonight as he made 21 saves for the victory to improve his record to 13-2. 3 of his 4 shutouts this year have come against Seattle and all have come in Spokane.

The lone Spokane goal tonight was scored by Chris Bruton the Chief captain, it was a Power Play goal in the 1st period from assists by Roman and Wahl.

DeSerres makes 24 saves on 25 shots for the game to get the 2nd star and Bruton with the game winner gets the 3rd.

Seattle falls to 14-11-6 and heads home to face the Swift Current Broncos tomorrow night at the Key before the Winter Break.

Swift Current comes in at 18-13-5 and Seattle badly needs a win heading into the break to regain some lost momentum here tonight in Spokane.

Quick Friday Preview

-Seattle is in Spokane tonight to take on a very talented Chiefs team that is missing no one to international tournaments. Seattle will be missing Thomas Hickey and Riku Helenius.

-Nobody can really replace Hickey and that could prove to be the difference in the game tonight. Helenius is a very talented goaltender but Jacob DeSerres is a very capable backup and Seattle doesn't lose much or anything with him in net.

-Considering the losses I really would not expect Seattle to win tonight on the road against a team that has lost only 1 game at home all season.

-Seattle has added goaltender Harrison May to the roster to back up DeSerres. May has been on the active Seattle roster on a couple of occasions but has never played in a game for the Thunderbirds.

-Tonight's prediction: Spokane is just too talented on offence and Drayson Bowman is on fire... Spokane 4 Seattle 1


Team Canada

Not surprising that Thomas Hickey was named to the Canadian Junior National Team. You can find the link to the story here

Zach Hamill and Leland Irving from the Everett Silvertips were cut and sent back to Everett.


Bryan Bridges update (again)

I spoke with Bryan Bridges yesterday and he gave me an update on his status with the Colorado Eagles.

"I'm schedule to play this upcoming weekend. I've been practicing with them for about a month now. The visa process took almost three weeks." Bridges said. "Things are going well here in Colorado for me. We have a very good team and are looking to repeat last year's success by bringing home the cup."


Seattle scores in the final 15 seconds and sweeps the weekend!

Bud Holloway cashes in a rebound with 15 seconds left in regulation sending Seattle to the overtime period where they managed to win a shootout for the second time in a row.

Greg Scott scored the only goal of the shootout and Riku Helenius stopped all three Chilliwack shooters to earn the extra point.

Chilliwack led 1-0 on a goal by defencemen Dylan Chapman. Chapman fired a puck toward the Seattle net that hit a Tbird player in front and redirected through Helenius' 5 hole for the lead. The goal was Chapman's first of the season.

Seattle answered with Greg Scott pushing home a rebound from behind Bruin goaltender Matt Esposito. Brenden Dillon put a shot wide of the net that Holloway was able to get a slight piece of to direct behind Esposito where Scott finished it off.

WHL scoring leader Mark Santorelli then gave Chilliwack the lead back when he fired in a shot low and off the post past Helenius only 32 seconds into the 2nd period. The goal was a Power Play goal and was Santorelli's 18th of the year.

Seattle answered again as Ian Mckenzie was able to push the puck into the net on another puck that was able to get behind Esposito. This time Scott was able to put a pass from the left corner back through the legs of Esposito where Mac's quick hands flicked the puck into the net. The goal was a Power Play goal and his 8th of the season.

The Bruins took the lead again on a helper from Santorelli to Pighin over the shoulder of Helenius for the 3-2 lead.

Seattle was then able to get the equalizer with Holloway stuffing home a rebound on a nice shot by David Richard. The scoresheet gives credit to Lindsey Nielsen for the second assist but I would swear the pass came from Hickey. Either way Seattle gets earns the first point getting the game to Overtime before Scott picks up the second point in the shootout.

Helenius stops 16/19 for the win and Matt Esposito stopped 34/37 in the loss.

I though Seattle got what they deserved in this game as they outshot and out chanced the Bruins for most of the game. Chilliwack was able to convert their chances and certainly had the better goaltender on the night. In the end Seattle picks up two points and earns 6 out of 6 possible for the weekend and pulls into a tie for 3rd place in the U.S. Division and 6th in the Western Conference in points.

By point percentage Seattle leads both Everett and Chilliwack and would be 5th in the conference.

These points become very critical for the rest of the season as Seattle tries to get to 4th position in the West to earn home ice advantage in the first round and also avoid the big 3 teams in the West in Spokane, Vancouver and Tri-City.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Greg Scott - A goal and an assist for Scott and also converts the game winner in the "circus" for the extra point.
2. Matt Esposito - Solid in goal for Chilliwack and was the reason the Bruins had the lead for most of the night.
3. Bud Holloway - 2 points and the GTG for Bud tonight.

Honorable Mention - Mark Santorelli, Lindsey Nielsen, Dylan Chapman and Cody Hobbs

In the Rink:

1. Bud Holloway
2. Matt Esposito
3. Greg Scott

Seattle vs. Portland Recap

Seattle drops Portland tonight 7-1 and take care of business against a bad team on home ice. I wanted badly to give Portland a little credit for playing better lately but tonight's game leaves me no room for anything other than criticism. Portland was flat outplayed, outworked and just seemed not to care about the outcome of the game after falling behind in the first period.

I can't remember seeing a Seattle game where a Tbird player skated around defencemen and onto goal as many times as I did tonight. Portland either needs to dramatically improve their skating OR they simply didn't care tonight.

Kurtis Mucha, I believe, is a fine goaltender who is stuck in a bad situation and simply had a poor night tonight.

Seattle got on the board with a goal by Ian Mckenzie only 2:23 into the 1st period. Mac scores for the second night in a row.

Travis Ehrhardt tied the game at 1-1 at the 10:15 mark of the 1st, but it didn't last long as Lindsey Nielsen scored into an open net as Mucha mishandled a clearing attempt.

Bud Holloway cashed in a Power Play by banking home a shot from the sharp angle through the legs of Mucha who to that point had only stopped 5 of the 8 Seattle shots.

Seattle then took a 4-1 one and eventually chased Mucha on a nice helper from Josh Schappert to David Richard with just under a minute to play in the 1st. Mucha did not return after the 1st intermission having stopped 6 of 10 Tbird shots.

Jordan White took his time getting antiquated with the hockey game as he was beaten by Jim O'Brien on the first shot of the 2nd period. O'Brien beat White over the glove side with a slapper. It must be very difficult to come into a game ice cold after sitting on the bench for a period and White showed the effects.

Brenden Dillon then scored his 1st career WHL goal converting a Power Play goal with a slapper to give Seattle a 6-1 lead. Dillon's shot also beat White high on the glove side.

Prab Rai "finally" scored this season... haha giving Seattle a 7-1 lead with under 2 minutes to play in the 2nd frame. Rai simple took the puck in the Seattle side of the center line and used his speed to outskate the Portland defence down the left side before ripping a wrister off the post and into the net over White's glove side again. Prab now has 1 goal to go with his team leading 19 assists.

On a short side note... can you believe how little we gave up to get this guy? How did he not stick in PG???

White actually settled down nicely to post a very solid 3rd period and the game ended 7-1 for Seattle. White ended stopping 24/27 shots while Mucha took the loss. Jacob DeSerres was lost in the barrage of scoring but stopped 24/25 for the win and improved to 6-3.

Seattle looks for the 3 in 3 weekend tomorrow evening as they play host to the Chilliwack Bruins.

Let's Go Birds Blog Three Stars of the Game:

1. Prab Rai - This is more for the season effort but Prab collects another 2 assists and finally gets his first goal.

2. David Richard - Nice to see Richy collect three points including a goal off a nice feed from Schappert.

3. Benn Olsen - Olsen is a +3 for the second night in a row, including some PP work and a fight in the 3rd. Gotta give the big man some props.

Honorable Mention - Brenden Dillon, 1st WHL goal. Jordan White, 24/27 saves in a tough spot off the bench. Jacob DeSerres, lost in the mix but solid for the win. Ian McKenzie, for getting Seattle off the fast start for the 2nd night in a row. O'Brien, Boyer... etc... the whole team played well.

In the Arena:

1. David Richard
2. Prab Rai
3. Brenden Dillon


Seattle at Portland Recap

Tbirds win tonight 4-0 over the cellar dwelling Winterhawks. It isn't really fair to slap that label on them since they have played better of late and show signs of improvement. Fact of the matter is that Portland is now 5-24 and Seattle cannot afford to be losing games to them.

Tbirds were paced by Bud Holloway who nets a goal and an assist but also posts a +2. Benn Olsen gets a shout out for the +3 effort.

Seattle was awarded 9 Power Plays for the night but was not able to cash in on any of them. Portland, meanwhile, only had 2 chances (Derek Zalaski was the referee, although based solely on the shots on goal the game could have been called quite well) Neither team has a good Power Play and predictable neither did any damage.

The Tbirds were able to put a lot of pressure on Winterhawk goaltender Jordan White (getting the surprise start over Mucha who I expect to see tomorrow in Seattle). The Tbirds took 50! shots on goal (surpassing the 30+ I had set as a goal) and were able to convert 4 of those 50 shots.

Ian McKenzie got Seattle on the board in the 1st. Jan Eberle made it 2-0 in the 2nd on an assist from Prab Rai who leads the team in that department but still has 0 goals on the season.

Greg Scott put the Tbirds up 3-0 early in the 3rd period and Seattle had the margin it was looking for through 45 minutes.

Bud Holloway finished the scoring in the 3rd for the final 4-0 score.

With the victory Seattle moves to 12-10-6 good for 30 points, which trails Everett by 4 points but keep them ahead on Pt. % at .536 to Everett's .531.

Seattle hosts Portland Saturday night at the Key and Chilliwack Sunday afternoon after the Seahawks game at 5:05.

One additional note... there isn't much to see yet but since I'm sure everyone is as excited as I am about the new Kent Event Center, I will post the link to the October time lapse video of the construction. Not sure it they will post a November and December and following months but I will keep on the lookout. mms://


Seattle at Portland Preview

I posted the relevant stats earlier this week, so I won't re-post them here but will provide what I think are the keys to the game tonight.

Seattle takes the long road to Portland tonight due to the I-5 closure and it was reported by TB that the team left for Portland yesterday to avoid any delays. The Winterhawks come into the game with a record of 5-23 but have played a little better of late having won 2 of their last 10 (can't believe I just wrote that last sentence). The last time Seattle faced Portland you needed to keep the roster nearby to keep track of all the new players that Portland traded for.

18 year old Travis Ehrhardt leads the Winterhawks with 20 points on 6 goals. Ehrhardt has 8 points on 3 goals in the 10 games he has played since coming over in a trade from Moose Jaw.

Kurtis Mucha is clearly the MVP of this squad having stopped 90.9% of the many shots he has faced for a record of 4-14 and a 3.72 GAA. Mucha has faced an unbelievable 38.33 shots per contest and has averaged 34.83 saves per game on those shots.

Keys to the Game:

1. Score early. Though Seattle was able to score early against the Americans on Tuesday and were not able to hold the lead, they would be in much better shape by scoring early and often on this struggling Portland team. The last thing you want to do is allow a team that is struggling to keep the score close and especially at home.

2. Shot selection. Mucha obviously faces a ton of shots and getting 30+ will be important to a Seattle win, but Mucha is a very solid goaltender and Seattle cannot get trapped into a sense of just putting shots on goal in order to win. Those shots need to come from dangerous locations on the ice (low slot and middle) in order to score more than once or twice on those 30+ shots.

3. Special Teams (as always). Portland is downright terrible on the Power Play... in fact they are the only team worse than Seattle with the man advantage. Portland ranks 20th in the WHL in killing penalties at home and Seattle must find a way to win the Special Teams battle in order to win.

Goals -
1. Lead after 1st and 2nd period
2. 30+ Shots
3. More PP goals than Portland


Wednesday Afternoon Update

Alan Caldwell has a great post today that outlines the players that will miss time for each of the Junior Championships. You can find it here

Interesting to note that as of this moment Riku Helenius has not been invited to Team Finland's camp. I would expect that to change. It would seem to me that if Finland can find 3 or 4 junior goaltenders better than Riku... I would be very surprised. If that is indeed true, what a nice break for the Thunderbirds as they would be able to keep both of their two goaltenders throughout the holiday season, something that is desperately needed considering the number of shots being surrendered.

Seattle loses in Overtime

Tbirds lose in Overtime tonight. A terribly disappointing loss for Seattle as they held the 2-0 lead in the 2nd period only to allow the Ams to tie the game at 2-2 in the 3rd and win the game on an Overtime Power Play 1:47 into the extra frame.

Josh Schappert got Seattle on the board in the 1st period redirecting a Jan Eberle pass into the American net for the 1-0 lead. Greg Scott got the second assist on the goal.

Scott then gave the Tbirds a 2-0 lead when Lindsey Nielsen won the faceoff towards the left hashmark where Scott ripped a wrister over the glove of TC goaltender Chet Pickard.

But the Americans cut the lead in half on a goal by TJ Fast with just over 4 minutes remaining in the game... and Colton Yellowhorn was able to tie the game on a 5-3 Power Play goal just 3 minutes into the 3rd period.

The game went to OT with Seattle getting outshot again 36-22. Kruise Reddick then tipped a TJ Fast shot past Helenius at 1:47 of the Overtime period for the win. Coach Rob Sumner was assessed a Game Misconduct following the game winning goal. This has been the story far too many times for Seattle this season, as they have been regularly giving up 30+ shots in their losses. Goaltender Riku Helenius was busy again tonight finishing with 34 saves on 37 shots.

Seattle heads to Portland Friday night before returning to Seattle to face the Winterhawks on Saturday, followed by the Chilliwack Bruins on Sunday evening.


Bryan Bridges update

About three weeks ago Bridges (still currently the WHL Shutouts record holder) was signed by the Colorado Eagles of the CHL Bridges has been practicing with the team but has yet to appear in a game due to Visa issues.

I don't know much about how the Visa process works, but I wonder how long it will be until he is cleared to play.

Colorado is the defending Ray Miron President's Cup champion in the CHL.


Monday Morning Stats Check

Before Seattle hosts Tri-City tomorrow night.... let's get an update on a bunch of stats after 26 games.

Record: 11-10-5, 27 pts, .519. 4th in U.S. Division, 8th in Western Conference.

Home: 7-2-3, 17 pts, .708, 40 Goals For - 32 Goals Against

Away: 4-8-2, 10 pts, .357, 24 Goals For - 38 Goals Against

Overtime Games: 1 Shootout win, 1 Shootout loss, 4 Overtime losses

Power Play: 20/166, 12.0%, 21st in the WHL

Penalty Killing: 51/60, 85.0%, 8th in the WHL

Penalty Minutes: 463 PIM's in 26 games, 17.8 PIM's per game, 15th in the WHL. 6 Bench minor minutes. (note: Everett leads the league with 16 bench minor minutes)

Longest Streaks:
Wins - 2
Undefeated - 2
Losses - 2
Winless - 2 (yawn)


Seattle at Tri-City Recap

I honestly missed this entire game due to a holiday party so I can't give you much of an opinion. I think one thing we know from this game is that Tri-City is better than Everett at home and has a lot more scoring power.

I will point towards the Seattle website for a recap of the game.



I'm sure many of you read that Kyle Beach was a healthy scratch last night for "internal" disciplinary reasons. One can only guess what that means...

WHL Scoreboard