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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Rare Weekend...

We have a rare, one Friday night home game weekend for the Tbirds. I'm not going to bother trying to look it up, but I cannot remember the last time the Tbirds had only one game for the weekend, it was a home game and it was on a Friday. I'd be on the lookout for some young hockey players having some fun tonight around Kent... haha

Quick preview of the Tri-City Americans. Going back several years the Americans have always had some of the strongest goaltending in the U.S. Division and arguably the entire league. For the first time in many years, goaltending is a bit of a question mark for the Americans coming into the season. A couple of 18 year olds are battling for the job with Drew Owsley getting the initial nod starting all 3 of the Americans games thus far posting a 2-1 record with a 3.16 GAA and an 89.5%. Brent Martyniuk came on in relief of Owsley in the last game, a 5-1 loss to the Chiefs.

I would expect Owsley to get the nod again tonight, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Martyniuk get the start if the Americans want to see how he responds to an opportunity and save Owsley for the game against Spokane tomorrow at home.

Three games isn't much to go on as far as evaluating a team, but so far the Americans have been very good at home and not so good away from the Toyota Center... Winning 6-1 over Kelowna and 4-3 over Portland at home before the 5-1 whipping in Spokane last weekend.

Offensively the Americans are led by their 3 O/A players Johnny Lazo, Brett Plouffe and Jarrett Toll. Lazo is off to a fast start with 5 points in 3 games but the offense is being led by Brenden Shinnimin who appears to be taking that familiar "step forward" in his 18 year old campaign as he has 9 points in just 3 games already, putting up 2 goals and 7 assists.

The Americans lost a lot from last season... losing their top three scorers in Procyshen, Reese and Fadden but appear to have some players ready to step in and take over and keep the Americans competitive this season. EDIT: Perhaps I should have mentioned losing Chet Pickard also? Pickard is 20 and could return but all indications are that he will spend the season with Milwaukee

I think Tri-City is probably the 3rd best team in the U.S. Division this season behind Portland and Spokane but I do think they are still better than Everett and unfortunately I think they are solidly better than Seattle at this point.

On the brighter side... the one thing Seattle fans have to look forward to... is that the more these young kids play the better they will get towards the end of the season. Don't underestimate the effect of missing players like Steve Chaffin and Erik Fleming. The team doesn't miss these guys as much as they miss a player like Thomas Hickey... but I thought both of these guys were ready to take a step forward and they have played a combined 1 game.


Anonymous said...

I agree full heartidly about Chaffin especially. I have heard he has been cleared to play and will be in the line-up tonight.

Without totally blowing my cover I can say the guys have big expectations tonight and feel confident about their chances.

These guys are very aware of the talk around the street and are working hard to put on a show for their fans.

Birds 3-2

Anonymous said...

I like Chaffin alot, especially his versatility. But man he played a horrible game against tri last night.

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