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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Tbirds Fall Short

Down 4-1 in the 3rd period the Thunderbirds could have easily folded up the tent and called it quits, turning their attention to prepare for the Everett Silvertips tonight. Instead, they put together a quality 3rd period against a very good Kamloops squad and forced a one goal game with just under 3 minutes to play. Ultimately, the rally fell short as Chase Schaber tossed in an empty net goal from about 150 feet away to seal the deal. Seattle desperately needs points right now but I like the effort that I saw from them in the 3rd period and it is the type of hockey they are going to need to play if they want to hold on to this playoff spot.
  • Unfortunately, I was running late last night and missed the first two Kamloops goals scored in the beginning of the first period.
  • Chance Lund had an excellent game scoring two goals and narrowly missed scoring a 3rd on two different occasions. The biggest "almost" came late in the 3rd period on a shot that hit the post. In my mind, Lund has worked hard all season and his points have not always reflected his efforts. Points tend to come and go, but Lund has been one of the few players who has consistently "brought it" on the ice more time than not.
  • Daniel Cotton got the start and played well despite giving up a very soft goal in the 2nd period. Soft goals are going to happen to 17 year old goaltenders, and the way he played after the goal was far more important than the goal itself.  The 4th goal wasn't his fault and he played well from that point forward. He looked a little shaky on a few saves that immediately followed the goal but he seemed to settle in after that. I've said it before and I will say it again, I feel pretty comfortable with Daniel Cotton as our goaltender next season.
  • Let's not get crazy here... but Connor Sanvido has given the team some good minutes lately. Let's hope that he stays focused on skating hard and playing good defense in his own zone and maybe he can build on this.
  • I was not a fan of the game called by Colby Smith and Adam Griffiths. Let's just leave it at that. Despite that, Seattle has to be more disciplined. It's pretty tough to survive against the best teams in the league when you are surrendering 6 power plays. On the flip side, Seattle also had 6 power play chances of their own and weren't able to convert. The biggest "miss" was a 2 minute long 5-on-3 that spanned the 2nd and 3rd periods. The passing has got to be a lot crisper. Fans are yelling "shoot," but the problem is not the lack of shots taken. The problem is the lack of puck movement that will naturally lead to shots. Quick sidebar: When I coached basketball I had a mantra with my players that you have to "be fast, but don't hurry" as opposed to "being slow and then panicking". Right now, there are far too many times where Seattle is slow and the panicking with the puck and it shows up most obviously on the Power Play.
  • Another solid game from Seth Swenson. He made a few mistakes but overall, I really like what I see out of this kid. He is the definition of an "industrious" player. He works hard and he is hungry around the net. His efforts may not produce the prettiest of goals, but they also tend to produce results. His slashing penalty in the 2nd period was a bad one, but generally speaking, I've seen a lot more good than bad out of him.
Seattle needs points badly. They are slipping dangerously close to the "pack" of Victoria, Prince George and Everett. If they want to make the playoffs they absolutely need to get points from games like tonight against Everett, and it won't be easy. Everett has played much more competitively since the Christmas break and they flat out whipped the Tbirds back on January 4th. Seattle still has 29 games left but they need to make games against Everett count. I'm headed up there again tonight... Let's get a win.

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