- Calvin Pickard had a bit of a strange game last night. He made about 2 or 3 absolutely phenomenal highlight reel saves, but also struggled a bit giving up short side goals to Uher in the 1st period and the go-ahead game winner with a minute left in the game. It's difficult to fault a goaltender in any situation where a player is breaking in on them uncontested but I can bet that Picks would love to have another crack at both of those goals. The goal scored by Uher in the 2nd period was a tip and the goal scored by Brandon Kitchton in the 3rd was uncontested from the slot and was hammered off the bar and down... hard to fault him there. Playing for this team has to be frustrating for Pickard and only a fellow goalie can understand how a lack of trust in your teammates can negatively affect your game. I'm not using that as an excuse and I'm sure Pickard wouldn't either but simply "focusing on the shot" is tougher when you don't trust your teammates.
- Aside from the outcome... the most interesting aspect of the game last night was the (regular season) debut of Mitch Elliot playing on defense. I like the idea, and quite frankly it is probably something they should have tried earlier. Elliot has not taken any steps forward this year and if anything I think he might have taken a step backwards. I thought he actually looked pretty good back there (expectations considered). He got beat around the outside on one rush and showed that his lack of foot-speed is still likely to be an issue but most of our defenders have similar issues. He also clearly missed an assignment on a stretch pass that led to a scoring chance on another occasion. The good news... He carried the puck on his first shift and looked fairly comfortable doing it even though he wasn't able to get the puck deep and he he we very physical in front of the net, something that our defense has needed for the better part of the last 3 seasons. It's a work in progress but this team looks unbelievably short on defense next year and if Elliot can provide the team with some minutes it would provide a small boost.
- Connor Honey had a fantastic game for the Tbirds and looks as though he is really starting to settle in. His centering pass to Dillon Wagner for the game tying goal in the 3rd period was a thing of beauty and really showed the kind of natural vision and passing ability that he possesses. If he improves his decision making just a little bit and works on his skating, and as his size/build increases, he is going to be a force in the league maybe sooner than later.
- Jacob Doty had a nice fight with Corbin Baldwin after Baldwin ran Colin Jacobs into the boards from behind. For whatever reason, I'm not sure Baldwin even tried to throw any punches, he looked like he was just holding on for the duration of the fight.
- Rough night statistically for Shea Theodore as he was -3 but I would like to point out that he has looked much better in the past several games after suffering through his "slump" in the middle of the season.
- Officiating was far from perfect last night but I didn't have a problem with most of the calls. Pat Smith has taken a lot of crap over the years (probably most deserved) but in my mind he is an example of the development that happens for officials as well as players and I believe he has become one of the better officials I have seen this season.
- Seth Swenson now has 4 goals and 7 points in 11 games after having 7 points in 33 games for Portland and only 5 career goals in 132 games with the Winterhawks.
- With points being an absolute premium right now Seattle skated hard for 40 minutes and fell flat in the 3rd period, eventually getting the result that they probable deserved.
Seattle falls to Spokane
Seattle falls again last night in what was basically another 1 goal game. Seattle battled back from being a goal down on three separate occasions, but couldn't find the back of the net for a 4th time in the final minutes of the game before Dominik Uher tapped in an empty net goal to seal the deal. Uher ended his career night with 4 goals, getting a Power Play goal in the 1st, an Even Strength goal in the 2nd and 3rd and added the Empty Netter to close the scoring. Uher's 3rd goal came with just over a minute left in the game and broke a 3-3 tie as the Tbirds turned the puck over at the blue line and he converted with a high finish over Calvin Pickard to the short side. Seattle has lost 3 straight games again and now find themselves only 4 points ahead of Prince George in the battle to hang onto a playoff spot.
I'm tired. I'm tired of writing about this team losing. This team needs some points badly. They wake up on February 1st with only a 4 point lead over Prince George for that final playoff spot. The effort has been pretty good for the most part but this team just can't afford to take a shift off much less a period. This team needs points in a bad way and things just appear to be headed towards eventually falling out of the playoffs again.