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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Jon's thoughts on the Portland game

What a huge win.  Not just because of the points earned in the standings, but the mental side of things even more.

Twice the Birds battled back from what had to be disappointing events to come back and win. In the past they might have let the game get out of hand and didn't.

The fact that the Birds took the lead, then gave up a somewhat soft shorthanded goal to take a 1-1 tie into the 2nd and didn't fold up was impressive.  In fact, they built on it, scoring two more goals in the 2nd to take a 3-1 lead into the third.  The 3rd goal was great shot by Troock on a semi breakaway with 19 seconds to go in the period.

You knew in the 3rd period that Portland was going to give it all they had, and boy did they ever.  I may not like Nic Petan or Brendan Leipsic, but dang are they great players.  Seattle ends up giving up the lead by allowing Portland to score 3 goals mid way through the period, the last coming with just over 6 minutes to go.

But, just like the end of the first period, Seattle did not just throw in the towel and admit defeat.  They came out, had a great first shift after the goal, and then followed it up by a pure "I'm going to score" move by captain Hickman.

The overtime winner was great hard work as well, getting a steal before going hard to the net for a five hole game winner.

As soon as the puck went in, Leipsic went straight to the ref and started what appeared to be a one sided argument.  As the Winterhawks left the ice, Head coach Mike Johnston was yelling at the refs, and appeared to be making a two many men motion with his hands.  The ref raised his hand and told Johnston to continue walking.  I didn't notice that, but then again, I was celebrating a little.

But what a change of events for Seattle to actually show determination after giving up the three goals and come back for the win.

Over the past few games, most of you know that I have been slightly critical of the leadership of this team and their ability to get players fired up for games.  In this game, they didn't have any issue doing this.  The team came out hard hitting, finishing checks, and winning two early fights.  I thought all those factors really showed Seattle was not going to be scared or pushed around.

My Player of the Game

To me, the true player of the game was Scott Eansor.  He was matched against Petan all night long. Virtually any time Petan came over the boards, Eansor was not far behind.  Wherever Petan went on the ice, Eansor was within reach (unless he was needed someplace else on the ice).  If Petan came out for a big faceoff, out came Eansor.  If you look at the stats, Petan has 1 goal (a beautiful one timer on the powerplay).  But, if you continue to look at the stats, you will see that he was a -3 on the night.  This was the second worst plus minus of his career (oddly enough the only one worse was a -4, against Seattle on November 19, 2011, a 6-3 TBird win)


Erica said...

I would agree with you. This is the Seattle team that I know is there, so it makes it soooo frustrating when they get beat by Vancouver the previous night.

The fact that they got beat up in Van and then had to face Portland the next night and came out firing on (mostly) all cylinders was outstanding.

Portland often does their most damaging work in the 3rd period, so I'm happy the boys didn't just fold up and take the loss.

Now if they could just do that EVERY night. :)

gocanucks said...

I think that Seattle has as much talent as any of the other US Div teams. With Seattle I really think it is all mental due to the losing the last four years.

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