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1.18.2009

Seattle dominates in the third and wins 6-4

What a game tonight at the Sho, eh??

I can already tell you right now this is going to be a poorly written article... the excitement of tonight is just too difficult for me to describe properly.

Where do I start...

Seattle played as badly as I have seen them play at home all season in the first period... I was a few minutes late to the game and the Tbirds were down 2-0 before I could even sit down. Coach Rob Sumner wisely used their timeout, but it only seemed to temporarily delay the American tidal wave and Seattle soon found themselves down 3-0 and that carried over into the first intermission.

The ShoWare Center then provided a little bit of home ice advantage as the second period was delayed by about 15 minutes when the house lights had to be cycled when they didn't come back on to start the period.

Whether that delay actually helped the Tbirds... we will never know... the the comeback started in the second period as Seattle played much better, getting goals from Greg Scott and Prab Rai in between the 24th goal of the season by Jason Reese and Seattle was in the game but still trailed 4-2.

and then the 3rd period started... and what a period it was for Seattle. Brad Haber picked up his first goal of his WHL career (EDIT: we have since learned that this was not his first but his second WHL goal) on a shot from the point that might have screened Chet Pickard and beat him through the 5 hole to make it 4-3....

18 seconds later Devon LeBlanc found the inside of the goal on the short side with a turnaround wrister that beat Pickard and the game was essentially over.... seriously....

The Tbirds were all over the Americans to start the 3rd with everyone from LeBlanc to Lockhart to Acolatse to Cloud.... on down the line... everyone on the team was flying around checking Americans left and right and the Tbirds fed on the crowd and the crowd fed on the Tbirds and the game was effectively over..

It was confirmed 8 minutes later when Chance Lund got his first WHL goal, poking home a rebound to give the Tbirds a 5-4 lead before Jon Parker finished the scoring with a Power Play goal and the final 6-4 margin.

What an amazing comeback over a quality opponent on home ice in your new building and the comeback preserved the Tbirds unbeaten (in regulation) record at the new ShoWare center.

Let's get the negative out of the way... another horrible start from the team. They must figure out a way to get off to a better start against these quality opponents. The defense was not good to start the game, the play was uninspired, the effort wasn't there, the hitting wasn't there and the intensity wasn't there.... and then suddenly it was like everything changed and this team came on like a runaway freight train in the third period.

Here are the positives...

-LeBlanc had a great game and I would have given him a star. His hitting and checking (even when he misses) is what really led this team back. The checking ignites the crowd and the eventually the team feeds off his energy. The same can be said for Cloud, Lockhart and Acolatse... but LeBlanc really led the way tonight and his hard work was finally rewarded with the hugely important tying goal 4 minutes into the 3rd period.

-Thomas Hickey is a beast out there... Somebody get that guy a Gatorade because Hickey actually appeared to me to be tired at the end of the game and that is not even close to an insult. I don't log minutes and neither does the WHL (officially) on the box score, but I swear Hickey must have played at least 30 minutes tonight, finished with an assist and a +1. And here is the scary part... it wasn't even his best game by a long shot but you have to appreciate the effort and leadership that this guy put out there each night.

-I'll say it again... I love Sena Acolatse at forward and I hope he stays there the rest of the season and the rest of his career. It wouldn't surprise me one bit to see his draft stock rise with a little more work up front. Acolatse tonight finished with 2 assists, a +1 and numerous hits during the 2nd and 3rd period comebacks.

-Prab Rai had another great statistical night, notching a goal and three assists... and I even say him finish a few checks tonight as well.

-Hats off to Chance Lund and Brad Haber who's first WHL goals tonight get slightly lost in the overall euphoria of the come from behind victory.

Seattle stays at home for an important Wednesday night home game with the Kamloops Blazers who picked up a shootout victory tonight over the Everett Silvertips and remain 5 points ahead of Seattle and move past Everett into the 5th slot in the Western Conference.

What a night... what a hockey game... I can't say I will soon forget this one.

20 comments :

Anonymous said...

another negative could be the injury to nielsen, he skated off early in the first period and never came back. hopefully its not too serious, but he was limping pretty good. other than that and the first period, the game was awesome, and if we play like we did in the third period, there isnt a team that can beat us. we looked good, strong with the puck, and you are right, i love sena upfront, and i wouldnt mind him playing the point on the power play to give him a chance to rip once of his slapshots. and i also think silvester should have a way bigger role on this team, he has been playing very well as of late, and i loved the line of him, sena, and leblanc. i actually also liked how the lines were mixed all night. i know that had a lot to do with nielsens injury. but that third period, tri really looked confused, and i think that had a lot to do with that they didnt know what to expect, seeing rai playing with lockhart and parker, instead of obrien and scott. it was a nice mix. any thoughts on that???


chris

Trevor's Dad said...

Leblanc was a monster tonight. I'm not sure which goal it was but McColm for TC was chasing the puck into the corner from behind his net when he saw Leblanc coming at him from the slot. He pulled up and a couple of seconds later the puck was in the night.

We out shot TC 19 to 4 in that third period and I could not believe all of the body checks. It's nice how the boards aren't real stiff and have a nice give to them.

Why did they start playing Sena at wing? Did they have a hole at forward they needed to fill because of injury?

Thunnex said...

Sena has been playing up front since Richard went down with his injury and with Richard out another 5 weeks at least... I would expect to see him up there for a while longer and I would expect him to keep getting better.

Responding to the first comment... part of the line mixtures had to do with the fact that Seattle was able to control the puck and keep it in the American zone so much that the Tbirds were literally changing lines multiple times while STILL keeping the puck in the attacking zone... simply amazing tonight.

Anonymous said...

FYI THunnex - Brad Haber scored his 2nd career WHL Goal on Sunday night. He scored his first WHL Goal during the 07-08 season. Check WHL.ca and Hockeydb.com for his stats from the WHL last season.

Thunnex said...

yup, I stand corrected. I got a note from another reader that is was not Haber's first goal. I trusted that the Tbirds were correct and turns out they were not.

JR said...

I have been really down on the move with Sena to forward. I have not liked it all because it takes your best/hardest slap shot off the blueline, and it also puts your laziest skater at wing (and by lazy i mean he is the biggest coaster on the ice). But i have to agree these last 2 games Sena has played well up front, and has not coasted much with all this intensity coming from the crowd. I

Mr Tell13 said...

I think that yesterday's game was awsome. I like to point out the awsome work of the top 4 D-men after the coach shortened the bench (pretty much leaving flemming and Chaffin on the pine for the rest of the game)

The hickey-Haber and Warg- Schappert duos were awsome.

theses guys stepped up to the challenge big time

Anonymous said...

another negative was the attendance. reported at less than 3,100. boderline embarrassing for a pseudo holiday eve and playing the first place team.

Trevor's Dad said...

It was a Sunday afternoon and they were competing with a NFL playoff game so maybe the attendance isn't all that bad.

Anonymous said...

IMHO...try as one might. there are NO excuses or mitigating factors for fannies in the seats to be below 3,100. honestly do you think any significant number stayed home to watch pitt vs balt? NO WAY. 3,100 is a joke. honestly, not trying to start anything here just expressing my views and overwhelming disappointment

Anonymous said...

I agree, the Sho Ware should be at capacity... I think once the tbirds start posting better numbers and become contenders the attendance will go up. Everyone loves a winner :) business is business and with a new center the owners must be expecting more out of the birds in the upcoming seasons.Fans are fickle, they love winners.
yadie yadie, the birds played great saturday and sunday but they need to be competing at a higher level...We need a banner!!!!!

go birds!

Kodi said...

3 topics below discussed. Sorry for the lengthy post

The game-
I thought the game was incredible. After the first 3 goals I was getting those thoughts in my head on why we didn't sell at the trading deadline (though I didn't find the need to go to the store during game play as some "fans" did). Watching the momentum slowly shift from all Ams to all Birds was simply amazing. I also enjoyed watching them do what they needed to do by shrinking the roster once the momentum shifted. Those first two lines have got to be beat after that!

Sena-
I've always enjoyed watching Sena play especially when he was really in to hitting people across the boards in his first year. I think the fact that he is willing to play forward shows what type of a team player he is. Something I also noticed is that he is on the ice a lot when the 3rd defensive line is out there as well which is a good thing because it only helps protect the net. One thing I would like to see is him play point with Hickey on power plays. I think he benefits with his hard shots when there is an able passer across from him. He actually seemed to get most of his blue line goals when he was opposite of Jackson last year.

Attendance-
Thought there is only a limited number of games played so far at the Sho it is averaging 48 more people per game then the Key. Before people go off about the high number of fans at the first game at the Sho skewing that number that the Key had two Portland games which brought attendance up an additional 1000 people or so per game. Also half the games at the Sho have been Sundays and Sunday games have historically been less then Friday/Saturday games. I do agree that there should atleast be 5k or more people at each of these games and not the 4093 that is the current average.

Strengthening the Fan Base-
Weekly hour long talk show (which could increase as interest increases). Someone to talk about the team, the league, and all things WHL/CHL. We also need a place for people to call in to discuss there thoughts and questions. We have to remember that even though a majority of people that go to games know about the game that you need to get people interested in the game as well as the tools to learn about the rules of the game as well as getting people interested. Heck even have a weekly interview of a player and let them answer fan questions as well. This is a developmental league and the media is just another thing they need to learn how to deal with. Even a Captains Corner type segment.

We also need to leverage more of Clear Channel as well. Don't get me wrong, I love the music on the Funky Monkey music-wise but the previously mentioned show idea as well as discussions need to move to the larger stations or the stations better equipped to handle sports discussions such as 850 or 950. The games themselves can still be broadcast on 104.9 but get the discussions out there.

The local newspapers need to get more involved as well. Maybe someone from the Times, PI, or the News Tribune who have stronger sports pages could set up a blog and get a fraction of a writers time to bring up topics as well as what is going on. Adds in the sports sections would be good as well and not just a little section that gives a one liner about the game before.

Lastly would be commercials, commercials, commercials. This needs to happen in all advertising streams including TV (I did hear rumors about someone filming for Q13 at the last game for commercials on channel 13 but I would strongly recommend getting them to play on channel 5/105 during NHL broadcasts that are on Sundays. I thing many people don't put two and two together when watching a game on NBC that the kids that are playing in the WHL are the kids that are going to be the future of the NHL.

Have the street team hit the local malls on weekends dropping window flyers. Personally I hate those things but I always look at them. They could even set up a booth in one or more of the malls with a ticket representative who can discuss the game, sell tickets with a video screen of a game going in the background.

Remember the phrase "You need to spend money to make money". This is the case. Advertising revenue is a must!

Anonymous said...

GREAT IDEAS! Everett has really capitalized on the using the local paper. Not a day goes by without some mention of the tips in the Herald. I can barely find mention in the Seattle papers of the birds. I was disappointed at the opening night that there were more give aways and why aren't they doing 50/50? Is it that the local youth hockey is a for profit or a city regulation? Everett's 50/50 reaches over 2k sometimes.. (we could only hope to hit the 22k like the Canucks 50/50).
The idea of weekly broadcast with players and coaches is a great idea, it doesn't even have to be an hour. And explaining basics to new fans is a must.... and courtesy rules like not getting up and down during play.

Anonymous said...

All fine ideas in theory but most are not going to happen. First, there is no local media in Kent; no newspaper and no radio station. It's too bad that the South Sound Journal went out of business at about the same time the announcement was made of the new arena coming. Secondly, the Seattle Times doesn't care about the T-birds. They think of them as high school sports, In fact, there sports editor has them lower than high school sports on her pecking order. They have no one on staff dedicated to cover the team, instead they hire a free lance writer on a game by game basis (and the P-I, which does the same, is about to go bye bye). Some games they don't even bother to cover.
The Seattle print media is more concerned with the Seahawks, Mariners, Huskies, Cougars, MLS Sounders and Storm. In some cases, they have 2 or 3 writers assigned to cover those teams. The same is true of KJR. If you want to know what Clear Channel really thinks of the T-birds, just look at which one of their stations they put them on. Occassionally they'll interview the coach but it is rare. The local newspapers and major radio stations in Seattle are not going to get more involved. Now that the team is relocated to Kent I would guess they'd be less involved. Out of sight out of mind. And they will tell you the reason for this is they cater to the majority of their readers/listeners wants. If not for the Everett Herald and the local Everett radio station, the 'Tips would be ignored by the media too. Commericals on TV and radio would be great but the T-birds have to pay the same rate that the big boys (Mariners, Seahawks, etc)pay. There is no WHL rate. That means they cannot saturate the airwaves as they would like to. Your best idea is to have the team get out into Kent and the surrounding communities and knock on doors, so to speak. It's just going to take some time doing it thay way to build up the fan base at the new arena.

Kodi said...

It's the "No Can Do" comments that are the problem. Anything can be done by the front office if they make the commitment to do it and to put the work that is needed in to it. Setting the money aside for advertising or getting sponsors will generate anything.

I mean if you listen to any of the special shows on KJR they are brought to you by somebody. Get that "somebody" to sponsor an hour long show and you'll get an hour long show.

Though I will agree with what someone else said and that is winning will bring in the fans. Regretfully that is how it is for most sports in this town.

Anonymous said...

No one is saying "no can do". I'm just saying stop beating your head against the same brick wall (the Seattle media that constantly ignores them) and do it yourself. They have set money aside for ads but it only goes so far because of the rates they have to pay. Besides, the print media is dying (P-I) so create your own media with blogs and podcasts and internet videos.
Do they allow billboards in Kent? I'd put those up all over town if they were allowed.

Anonymous said...

First of all, you are the Seattle Thunderbirds not the Kent Thunderbirds. 3100 fans is embarasssing. If you want coverage in Seattle market i.e. newspaper or radio advertising, you need to fight for it. Where do you think you rank in the sports section of a dwindling newspaper business?? LAST! ahead of the Seehawks? or Mariners? or College sports? Even high school sports rank higher because it local kids.

Brian in Sherwood

4thebirds said...

If a half full house is embarrassing in the Sho I guess the same goes for Comcast against those same Americans. And get real, if you play in Kent your fan base will be around Kent. Doesn't matter what the name is. It's going to take time.

Anonymous said...

sundays night game in everett against Kamloops ( a so-so team with the same amount of points) had over 6k in attendance. It is still the Seattle Thunderbirds, I say new blood is in order, ya know shake things up. I do not live in Kent and drive to the Sho ware center. I prefer the birds over the tips.

Anonymous said...

I am curious of why this discussion even started......If you look around the league, Everett's attendence is lower than usual except Seattle games..... Portland's attendence is just sad, Tri-Cities (yes the first place team) only draws huge crowds with Spokane.... And even Spokane has nobody except Saturday games....... It's not just the T-birds a new arena can't fix a bad economy. The fact is the new arena will eventually draw more than the Key Arena but right now everyone is struggling. Anyone can argue that it's because of team records or "bad ownership" but the fact is unfortunantly hockey is overshadowed by every sport in a country that for some reason thinks basketballl and baseball are entertainment.... It sucks, but the 5 U.S. Division teams will rebound the FSN addition could help.

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