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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Big win for Seattle over the Ams

There is the formula.  You want to see how the Thunderbirds could be successful this season?? Last night at ShoWare Center, we witnessed the exact blueprint for beating anyone in the WHL.  It wasn't a dominating performance (like Vancouver hanging an 11 spot on Victoria last night), and it wasn't necessarily the most impressive victory I have ever seen, but it was the style of game Seattle needs to play in order to win this year.  They were out-shot overall but didn't allow the Americans too many great scoring chances, kept shots mostly to the outside and were able to clear the rebounds that Calvin Pickard wasn't able to control.  Pickard picked up his 8th career shutout, 3 of which have been against the Americans. I tweeted last night that I thought the first team to score would win and that was certainly the case.  Let's not get too excited about one victory (a home one at that) but if Seattle can get more consistency playing this style of game, I think the playoffs are in our future.

  • I hate complaining about officiating but I find myself doing it more often than I would like.  There were some odd calls last night. Sean Aschim got called for a "Kneeing" when the replay showed his knee never even touched the other player. Jacob Doty gets called for a Delay of the Game on a play where the Ams player had his stick on Doty's stick then the same play happens 5 minutes later at the other end and isn't called.  Kyle Verdino gets called for checking from behind on a play where the Ams player clearly saw him and turned his back at the last second.  Brad Deagle makes a wonderful defensive play on a 1 on 1 and gets called for tripping on what looked like a pretty darn legal open ice check and last but not least Verdino gets called for tripping on a play where it looked like he barely bumped the Ams player.  I'm not saying it was one-sided either, I just happened to remember the bad called against the Birds because... well... I'm a fan.
  • Seattle started slowwwwwww again with Tri-City jumping out to a 7-1 lead in shots through about 8 minutes of play but they were able to rebound with some spirit for the rest of the first period trailing in shots only 14-13 at the end of the 1st. The Americans are going to win a lot of games this season and being able to withstand the initial rush and stay in the game was a factor in the win.
  • Big Big Big Power Play goal by Aschim started the scoring. It was the only Power Play goal scored by either team in the game as they combined to go 1-15 with the man advantage. It goes without saying that one reason Seattle was able to win the game was the effective play by their Penalty Killing units, forcing Tri-City into an 0-8 scoring opportunities.
  • Chance Lund picked up a goal on a nice feed by Burke Gallimore.  I thought Gallimore struggled for the first and second periods but managed to pick up his game when it mattered most in the third period with the helper to Lund and the empty net goal to close the scoring.
  • Calvin Pickard had a legitimate chance to notch the empty netter before Gallimore did but just wasn't about to get any juice behind the clearing attempt. Pickard covered his face in mocking shame after Gallimore put the game away.
  • Pickard was otherwise excellent.  He made saves through screens and held onto a ton of pucks, eliminating rebounds.  For the most part the shots he wasn't able to control he was able to steer to the corners.  This is exactly why you give elite goaltenders time to work through tiny struggles.  You give them some solid defense in front of them, keep the shots to the outside where he can see and handle them and let them make a couple of key saves to win you a ballgame.
Seattle gets right back to work tonight against the also hot Portland Winterhawks. Sven Bartschi has been absolutely on fire lately with 4 straight 3 point games and 30 points in his last 11 games. 


Anonymous said...

I think with the emphasis on cutting down on the dibilitating hits, the kneeing penalty had to be called, contact or no. You could argue intent. The delay of Game is what it is and at the other end the puck didn't go over the glass, I think it went into the bench.
But the rest of those calls were utter and complete crap. Shinnimin took a huge swan dive on that trip. He should have at least been assessed an embellishment minor (but no Academy award for that performance). I have no idea what the ref was thinking on the Verdino checking from behind call. It was a textbook check along the boards, pretty routine hit you see 20 times a game.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see it as a slooooowww start. A few of their shots were blocked and Tri got a few shots in from long range. Also, not sure what constitutes a shot on goal at the ShoWare because everything that got close to Pickard seemed to be a shot on goal. Some of those looked like passes across the goal mouth that he would get a stick on and they would credit him with a save.

Anonymous said...

I have to give it to the team and Pickard these past two nights. They were on fire.

Doesn't change my opinion of the team or the goalie. These were just two games; impressive or not. Pickard has stepped up his game and has become the NHL prospect that we have been told about. Good for him and I look for further success.

Hopefully, these guys can continue the effort. They are still giving up too many shots but have started to provide support to Pickard with actual offense.

Two great games! Keep it up T-birds!

Anonymous said...

I know that people always say that the crowds pick up after the holidays, lets hope so, 4,000 for Friday and 4,600 for Saturday was a shame that only those numbers saw great games. With continued improved play of late people should take notice. I don't see or hear much advertising, I listen to 950 mostly, does 710 interview or talk much hockey and t birds since some of the games are played on there?

Anonymous said...

While I totally agree with your statement from my perspective, I understand why the crowds have been a bit small. Advertising does help, but teams that get good attendance in the first half of a season often rely on carry over from the excitement of last year's accomplishments. Sports radio will talk about the upcoming games, Paul Silvi or Aaron Levine will do some coverage on their shows.. But first the T-Birds have to have accomplishments worth speaking of.. As in, there has to be a news story there. Two years of losing seasons and a slow start this year don't buy much coverage. From what I see, the difference in draw between good Silvertips teams and bad ones is about 1500 fans a game, imagine what winning could do for us.

Anonymous said...

It's basically sports, you always get your die hard fans of every team but if your are going to get the casual fans you need to win. Portland just a few years ago was a ghost town except the regulars. Now they are drawing again... The Ams could barely fill a high school gym a decade ago a few years of winning and people come see what's going on.

Anonymous said...

I guess the birds will have to have consistant success moving forward for the rest of the season for the crowds to come out, I checked the web site and it looks like about 3,100 tickets available for both the Regina and PG games coming up, it is heading in a good direction with 4 out of 5 wins of recently.

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