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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle vs. Kamloops Recap

I had a very late night last night and wasn't able to really update until today.

Seattle picks up another two points last night and moves ahead of Everett on points and into 5th place in the Western Conference and suddenly with Kelowna losing their last two Seattle has actually started to close the gap on the Rockets as well.

Here are links to the game recaps and then I will provide my own thoughts.

This was a very good win for the Tbirds because at times they looked very sloppy and somewhat disinterested but when they were focused they were very good. This bodes very well for the final set of games and the playoffs. Kamloops doesn't have the talent level that Seattle does but they showed some real grit and drive at points in the game and had the Tbirds on their heels when they cut the lead to 4-3 and had several chances to tie up the contest.

If Seattle can harness the effort and intensity that they showed in spurts last night, I'm not sure you even need to have a deadly Power Play in order to win. Jim O'Brien had a great night and his game is really starting to find itself. He is a legitimate threat every time he has the puck in open space. For as good of a game that O'Brien had... I actually thought Ian McKenzie was even better. Mac beautifully set up both of the O'Brien goals and his goal late in the third gave Seattle a 5-3 lead at a time when Kamloops had threatened to tie the game up. He was also a force all over the ice with his physical play. A game like tonight shows the type of depth that Seattle is formulating. David Richard scores two more times tonight and is on a roll, O'Brien has it going, McKenzie has it going and that doesn't even include the top line of Holloway, Scott and Nielsen who chipped in a point tonight. Charles Wells is really coming on strong, Prab Rai had a "quiet" night with 1 assist and a +4. When you are getting contributions like that from top to bottom you can really be a dangerous club.

Riku Helenius ended up making 37 saves on 40 shots to get the win. I thought Riku's performance was similar to the team as a whole. He was very good at times and was great down the stretch when the Tbirds were clinging to a 4-3 lead. He also had some curious moments like the first goal and some strange moments where it looked like he wasn't seeing the puck very well. Overall... Riku gave his team what they needed to win.

Let's Go Birds Three Stars of the Game:

1. Ian McKenzie. 1 goal (big) and 2 assists. I thought Mac was the best player on the ice tonight and gave him the slight edge over O'Brien.
2. Jim O'Brien. Breakout game with 2 goals and a very unselfish assist on the empty net goal.
3. Shayne Wiebe. Had two assists for the Blazers and led the comeback that fell short.

In the Arena:

1. O'Brien
2. McKenzie
3. Wiebe

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