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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Game 29 Recap

No witty titles today. I'm tired and cranky and today is honestly one of those days where I would rather not write anything... but I think it is important to always try to get something out for you guys to read to keep everyone coming back and staying informed. So here goes.

  • Seattle picked up the 3-0 win last night over the Vancouver Giants getting 3 goals in the final 4.5 minutes of the game to pick up their 13th victory of the season and move them within 2 points of getting back to ".500". 
  • The Tbirds started slow again and spent much of the first period having trouble getting the puck cleared from their own zone.  One thing that consistently puzzles me about the Tbirds is the lack of forwards moving through the middle of the ice on their breakouts. It appears as though they are actively avoiding the middle of the ice and forcing things to the outside. I don't know if this is an intentional tactic or if the players just aren't executing the way they are being told.  Either way... at times Seattle is having a ton of trouble getting the puck out of their own zone.  It got better as the game went on, but the first period was pretty rough.
  • Seattle got better in the 2nd and had some pretty legitimate scoring chances that were thwarted by Giants goaltender Adam Morrison. One of the biggest scrambles came when Morrison appeared to break the skate strap on one of his goalie pads, forcing backup Jackson Whistle into emergency service.  The 16 year old held his own despite losing his stick for about 30 of the 95 seconds he was on the ice. I thought Morrison was excellent for the Giants and if it weren't for the world class snipe by Branden Troock the outcome may have been different.
  • Speaking of Troock... he broke open a scoreless game with a frozen rope over the shoulder of Morrison and into the top corner.  Troock has been trying to do way too much lately picking up right where Marcel Noebels left off after leaving to play for Team Germany. Sometimes trying to do too much will occasionally get you into good scoring chances and Troock buried a big time goal with the game on the line last night.
  • Solid game from Cason Machacek, who I haven't written very much about unless it was a penalty or a fight. Machacek picked up an assist on the goal by Luke Lockhart and finished with a +2 and perhaps most importantly 0 PIMs.
  • Officiating was solid last night, kudos to Brett Iverson and Mike Campbell.  They weren't perfect... but I don't ask them to be perfect. I expect to not notice their impact on the game and let the players mostly decide the outcome and they did that.
  • Pickard was, of course, solid in net for the Tbirds but the defense deserves a lot of credit for keeping the dangerous chances to a minimum.  Even Pickard admitted in the post game show that he only needed to make a "few good saves" which is probably just a statement of humility with a sprinkle of truth. The defense kept shots to the outside and cleared rebounds from the front of the net.
  • This group of forwards is starting to look extremely deep and you have to wonder what is going to happen when Rouse and Noebels return.  My guess? Wardley and Doty probably become healthy scratches most nights while the 4th line becomes Mitch Elliot, Connor Honey and Sean Aschim (or something like that). That's a damn good "4th line".
  • Braeden Laroque was a HS last night.
Seattle now sits alone in 8th place on raw points but they are actually 6th in point percentage.  The conference is pretty weak this year and the Tbirds might be able to ride that all the way up to the 5th or 6th seed (catching Spokane will likely be tough).

Seattle travels to Tri-City on Friday night to start a home and home series that will continue on Saturday. Tis the season of holiday parties and I will miss the game on Saturday. Look for updates on Friday night as I will be watching the action from the friendly confines of my home television.


Anonymous said...

The reason the forwards don't go thru the middle is they have little or no confidence in the defence to get them the puck. The easiest and safest pass is up the boards & that's what's being done. The defence as a whole are not great with making the first pass. They tend to hesitate before they make the pass and by time they make the play its not there. There is signs of hope and I do think it will get better as confidence grows.

Anonymous said...

If and when this team actually gets to field a completely healthy team with players back from tournaments (Noebels, possibly Sutter), there will be some interesting decisions the coaches will have to make regarding healthy scratches, but we've already seen Konowalchuk scratch healthy veterans (Sanvido, Laroque) so hopefully the players understand they have to earn their ice time.

Anonymous said...

It seems Pickard has stepped up his game lately. Hope he and the defense brings it on Saturday...finally giving the wife a night off and taking the kids to a game. I gave up on the offense this season....geeesh.

Anonymous said...

With the Christmas break coming up, the Tbirds have 4 games over the break, could we see some 15 year olds brought up for a game or 2?? Traditionally does Seattle do this?? Or do they wait till late in the year. Any word on Gropp?

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Pickard brings it Friday night at Tri, I think he has never won a game there and his allowed goal average is not pretty , it would be great to get 4 points going into the holiday break.It seems like Tri has been in first place in the US West division for like 6 or 7 years in a row! Mr Tory runs a great ship there and they draft great.

Anonymous said...

Recaps after games, I really enjoy your blog. I enjoy a blog that has opinions and conversation. I wish their were more blogs about the WHL. My local team blogger gives maybe one post a week, with no opinions or comments. just sad!
Keep up the great work and have a MErry Christmas

Brian in Sherwood

Anonymous said...

Another game in Tri, another loss, Pickard 0-13, T Birds have not won a game there in 3 1/2 seasons.

Anonymous said...

Birds not exactly alone in that. Tri has only lost 2 home games all year.

Anonymous said...

So whats your point? There are no other teams that have lost 18 straight in Tri? What do you mean birds not alone on that? My point is that no one else has lost 18 straight games and our pathetic team has! Plus we lost a 3-0 lead tonight, I just scratch my head on this team, I don't get it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The third period and power plays tonight were total let downs. The team couldn't even get any offense started during either events. Something is wrong with this team and it's not just the defense.

Another game on 30th...hopefully my kids can finally see a win; it would be their first in over 12 games (last season included.) I'm not in to the good luck charms or jinxes but the sis-in-law will be visiting...hopefully she can bring the team some good luck.

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