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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle Wins

The title tonight really doesn't need any extra words. For the first time since January 9th the Seattle Thunderbirds have won a hockey game.

And like I said it might happen, it came on a night where they probably did not deserve to win but found a way to get the job done. Many highlights and notes from this game... so here we go.

- Branden Troock dressed tonight and boy did he have an impact. Proper credit should be given to Prab Rai and Charles Wells because it seems as though lately, anyone playing with those two are having good games... but Troock was excellent. His first WHL goal gave the Tbirds the 1-0 lead just 2:07 into the 3rd period and was exactly the kind of goal this team has been missing for most of the season. Troock got to the net and tipped home an Erik Fleming shot past Mark Guggenberger. Credit also to Fleming for getting a decent shot to the net... something Seattle also hasn't been very good at lately.

Troock also looked skilled on a number of occasions putting players clear on goal for a couple of great chances. One of those such chances was a nice saucer pass to the backside of the goal where only a tremendous effort by Guggenberger robbed Wells of the games first goal. His pass to Rai led to the eventual 2nd goal, though he was not credited with an assist as Rai momentarily lost the puck to the Rockets defender before stealing it back and beating Guggenberger under the right pad.

- Speaking of Rai, another 3 point night for the winger from Surrey, BC. His steal/goal gave Seattle the 2 goal lead with just under 9 minutes to play and his empty net goal set the nervous crowd into the biggest roar in weeks ending the 17 game losing streak. Wells also finished the night +3 despite not getting a point.

- Lost in the excitement of Troock, Rai and the end of the 17 game losing streak... I found that I had to remind myself just how big Calvin Pickard was again tonight. Pickard stopped 30 shots in the first two periods and only lost the shutout with 3 minutes left on a disputed goal. A goal that Calvin was knocked to the ground only moments before Tyson Barrie shoveled home a backhand through a scrambling Pickard. I will be honest, I saw Pickard get knocked to the ice but I didn't get a good look at how it happened. Pickard was very animated and upset but could not get the call in a game that was generally poorly officiated.

- What a fight and a spark by Mitch Elliot.... THAT is how you get your team going when they aren't playing very well and the game decidedly changed after Elliot beat up Mitchell Chapman. Seattle might have a couple of future tough guys on their hands with Lund and Elliot.

- Something is wrong with Scott Ramsay. It pains me to say this but Ramsay did NOT look right tonight. I couldn't help but think that something has got to be wrong. I didn't think I was watching a player who was tired or didn't care... I felt like I was watching a player who wasn't 100%. Flu perhaps? Injury?

- Overall I actually thought the defense didn't have a very good night... but the difference was the hunger for getting pucks cleared in front of Pickard. In most games, Pickard will stop the first and perhaps even the second shot by the opposition. It is the intensity to clear those rebounds that often separate the winners from the losers and tonight the defense made that happen. I still think the biggest issue the defenders have is making better decisions with the puck and that is actually good news. That is something, in theory, they should be able to learn. Expecting a player to suddenly get faster, a harder shot, stronger or taller is something that isn't easily obtained... but getting a player to improve his mental game is something that can more easily be acquired. Not sure if I stated that very well.

- I will say for the 43rd time (and certainly not the last). I think Silvester is going to have a monster season next year if he can stay healthy. I'd actually love to see what he could do playing in that Wells-Rai line. An intelligent poke-check from Guggenberger denied Silvester of a penalty shot goal in the 2nd.

Even with the victory, Seattle is still tied with Lethbridge for 2nd to last in the WHL and they remain in the "hunt" for that 2nd overall bantam selection. Kind of the best of both worlds? Haha.

Something else to keep in mind. If Seattle does wind up with the 2nd overall pick in the Bantam draft, they will also end up with the 4th overall selection in the CHL Import Draft because the WHL is set to receive the first pick this season which will most certainly go to Prince George.


Marc74 said...

Troock is a lot of fun to watch, I'm wondering if he is here to stay since he turns 16 soon.

Can some one tell me what the T-birds are trying to do on the powerplay? It seems like the players aren't really in position to be a threat to shoot as the puck is coming to them.

After watching Everett's last night and watching both point men be in position to one time passes as well as the forwards to the sides of the net being on their off wings so they could one time seems like a pretty good set up.


Thunnex said...

Troock can only play in 5 games. I imagine he will stay with the team for the two games in PG and then head back home. He may turn 16 soon... but he's still a 15 in the eyes of the league and they are restricted to only 5 games unless the team can demonstrate some special circumstances... something the Tbirds don't really have... unfortunately they can't claim "losing" as a special circumstance.

Kodi said...

Can't he join the team full time if his current team is done for the season?

(I'm not sure if his current team is or isn't just asking)

4thebirds said...

It was so much fun to celebrate the USA win with a group of hockey fans too! Glad they put that up on the big screen and kept us informed.

Thunnex said...

My understanding is that he can only play 5 games in the regular season no matter what. I know that for the playoffs if the player's season is over he can join the team... a la Colin Jacobs last season.

Having said that... I could most certainly be wrong.

kentfan4 said...

Calvin was amazing, as were Rai, Troock - but I do agree Elliot started the fire last night. Great fight! I also agree something is up with Ramsey. I hope he is OK such a great guy!

Thunnex said...


I'm wrong. Once a 15 year old player has their season end, they can join the big club for as many games as they want.

So as far as I know... Troock is here to stay the rest of the season!

4thebirds said...

Tyler, isn't there something about the draft pick that makes it not go in order? Not sure I'm saying that right. But I recall something about a lottery type deal. Do you have info on that? Thanks.

Thunnex said...

Yes... I should probably be a lot more clear about that.

Shortly after the end of the season the WHL will hold a lottery for the first pick with the 6 non-playoff teams having a shot at the first pick.

Once the first pick is established, the rest of the order is determined by record. So if the Tbirds finished with the 2nd worst record, the worst they could do is the 3rd overall pick if they got leapfrogged by someone behind them.

In the same manner... always possible that Seattle's ping pong ball comes up and we get the 1st overall pick.

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