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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Tbirds make it two in a row

Seattle beats Everett last night 5-2 to run their "winning streak" to two games. This was an important follow up for the Tbirds after their big come from behind victory Friday night in Spokane.

One of the biggest differences I notice with this team in the last two nights that they were not doing previously is the ability to chip the puck deep in the opponents zone. The Tbirds are a speed and finesse team that relies on chip and chase, winning the puck deep in the zone and hitting the third forward cutting to the front of the net. Through the first 12 games most of their problems were originating in their own zone and the neutral zone, which minimized the good chances they were getting on the offensive end. Far too often they were turning the puck over in their own end, which resulted in goals against.

Last night and Friday... they seemed to get back to being able to control the puck into the neutral zone and then chip the puck deep into the corners with all three forwards in full stride.

The difference was huge... Seattle constantly put pressure on Everett in the 1st and 3rd period that resulted in 15 shots and 3 goals in the first period.

Seattle's first goal was a tic-tac-toe slam dunk by Jeremy Boyer off a nice feed by Lindsay Nielsen. The Power Play goal was the first of two by the Tbirds on the night.

Just over two minutes later... David Richard scored his 6th of the year from Prab Rai to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.

Chris Cloud then picked up his 3rd of the season finishing high over the shoulder of Kent Simpson on a snap shot after receiving a nice feed from Brenden Silvester who beat his defender on the 2 on 1 and fed a perfect pass to Cloud at the far post and Seattle led 3-0 at the end of the first period.

Everett came back with a stronger effort in the 2nd period and netted Power Play goals from Daniel Bartek and Kellan Tochkin to cut the lead to 3-2. Tochkin's goal was jammed in with 3 second left in the period and suddenly the game became very close after 40 minutes.

The Tbirds could have let the momentum slip into the 3rd period with the late goal but the responded with the effort that mirrored the 1st period and the effort paid off just 3 minutes into the period as Jim O'Brien scored his 2nd of the year from Rai and Greg Scott on the Power Play and Seattle re-upped its lead to 4-2.

Prab Rai finished the scoring with a circus backhand at the 9:30 mark of the 3rd period when he flipped a fluttering backhand that Simpson never saw over the top of his shoulder and into the back of the net. For Rai it was his 9th of the season and with his 2 assists on the night now has 12 points on the season.

Interesting stretch of games coming up for Seattle... Tbirds travel to Kelowna Wednesday and then down to Kennewick to face Tri-City on Saturday the 1st before they come home for home games against Edmonton and Red Deer.

If Seattle could somehow manage to get a 2 or 3 points out of the games at Kelowna and Tri, Edmonton and Red Deer are winnable games followed by a road trip to Chilliwack, another winnable game.

Currently the Tbirds are 5 points behind what I consider an important benchmark. If they can end the calendar year with as many points as games played they would be in really good shape to make a run in the second half of the season... and despite the early season struggles they have 9 points in 14 games currently.

If they pick up 7 points in the next 5 games... suddenly they would have 16 in 19 games and you creep closer to that mark.


myhoban said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
myhoban said...

I thought it worth noting who the Birds didn't play Saturday night... Lund, Fleming, Lockhart and Haber... I think the three young ones need more time to develop, and Brad is a really hard working guy who should sit when 6 healthy D men are available

Anonymous said...

Lockhart couldn't play, he's recovering from a concussion. Under league rules I think he has to sit out one week. When he's been in the lineup he's played really well.

Thunnex said...

At the beginning of the season, players have to take what they call a baseline test that I believe measures their reflexes under normal conditions. When a player gets a concussion they have to keep taking these tests until they equal or come close to the original number. I think that even after they pass the test, they must have a practice or two without getting a headache to then be cleared to play.

From that... I would think Lockhart is definitely out tomorrow night and the earliest he could return would be this weekend but I bet he misses this weekend and could be available for the home game on the 4th.

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