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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Game 1 Thoughts

A few Game 1 thoughts while I have two babies who are quiet and happy (I probably just jinxed it).

A bit of a mixed bag last night.

Certainly, you have to be happy with Seattle "holding serve" and taking a 1-0 lead in the series with a win on home ice. I tweeted last night that a series doesn't truly start or get interesting until a team wins a road game and Seattle will get their chance at that tonight in Everett.

The start of the game was fantastic. The YakMacEansor line set the tone early with their forecheck and Seattle earned an early Power Play chance. And what a Power Play it was... Seattle moved the puck quickly and efficiently and looked like a completely different team. Players didn't hesitate to shoot the puck and they were able to get one timed shots to the net that eventually led to Russell Maxwell jamming home a rebound for a 1-0 lead.

Seattle then added another PP goal just past the mid-way point in the 1st period on a blast from Shea Theodore. Seattle had a lot of traffic in front and was able to clearly bother Austin Lotz who was enraged after the goal.

Towards the end of the 1st period, sensing the game possibly slipping away, Kevin Constantine went to work. I'm not kidding about this folks and I'm not making this up or exaggerating. Constantine went to work complaining about the nature of the officiating, specifically to Referee Jeff Ingram who has been, let's say, one of the more challenged officials all season. The dividends were immediate, as Justin Hickman picked up a "you guys did it too" goaltender interference call with just over 30 seconds to go in the 1st period and Seattle picked up another 3 penalties in less than 5 minutes in the 2nd period.

The result was an awful 2nd period where Everett out shot Seattle 19-4 and picked up a 5 on 3 goal to cut the lead in half.

Fortunately for Seattle, Taran Kozun wasn't about to let this game get away. The deadline acquisition, seeing his first ever playoff action, was up for the task. He scrambled well on a few occasions and robbed Everett shooters in tight with his glove two different times. Seattle was probably lucky to keep some pucks out of the net but Kozun was amazing and deserved the first star.

Outside of a questionable kneeing penalty to Evan Wardley the TBirds were able to tighten things back up in the 3rd period and Everett never really seriously threatened with the extra attacker.

In summary....

The Good:

  • Taran Kozun. If Kozun plays like that every night Seattle might just win 4 straight.
  • The Power Play looked revitalized and better than it has all season. They scored twice and looked dangerous in all 4 attempts.
  • The forcheck was what it needed to be early in the game. Seattle got away from it a little bit when they were forced to the box but they set the tone early and that led to the two goal lead.
The Bad:
  • Penalties. Sheesh. I can't say I agreed with every call (understatement) but Seattle has got to stay out of the box. Simply put, Seattle probably can't give Everett 6 chances on the PP or they will probably lose. Give up 6 chances tonight in Everett and they are likely in trouble.
  • Too many shots. This was partly the result of the PP chances but they gave Everett way too many chances on net. You just can't expect Kozun to stand on his head every game in order to win.
  • Too many bad angles on defense. Two different times Silvertips walked off the wall, around defenders and into the slot only to have Kozun rob them with the glove hand. Keep Everett to the outside.
I'm encouraged and you have to be happy about being up 1-0 but Seattle could have easily lost that game. Tonight they get their first chance to swing the series with a road win and I know there will be around 75 Seattle fans in our group alone and probably other pockets as well.


Anonymous said...

So... Has anyone else ever seen a player's hand get wedged between two glass partitions, like what happened to Hickman last night? What a flukey thing that was, glad he is ok.

Anonymous said...

Amazed at how mentally weak Ingram was last night. At some point as a referee you need to be able to tell a coach, in no uncertain terms, to "zip his lip". Constantine is a good coach but there is nothing in his history that should give him credibility to hold sway over an official in that fashion. For lack of a better way of putting it, Ingram needs to grow a pair. You can't get to the next level if you are that easily intimidated or influenced. On a side note, how does Lotz not get a delay of game penalty for throwing the net off the pegs and aggressively toward the official? That non-call and the phantom "charging" assessed to Wardley were ludicrous.

SjFinAddict said...

From our vantage point in 101 we had a good look at the phantom charge… awful call.

We also had a good look at The Ingram Show all night. Agree with the comments above entirely.

Anonymous said...

It's just to inconsistent, how does Bennett call a trip 100 feet up ice on a play behind the goal yet Ingram 5 feet away with the angle not call it. The tbirds have to play with an edge and be physical to win this series. They stopped playing their game afraid of what may or may not be called. It almost cost them last night.

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely in agreement with the comment by anon @10:52. It was obvious Seattle changed their game to avoid soft and in some cases phantom calls, which benefited Everett. While we are talking about penalties, how is it that Hickman gets called for goalie interference but Lotz gets nothing for slashing him in retaliation? The hit on Gropp and pushing the net off of its moorings has already been mentioned. I would certainly speak to the front office if I were Farwell. If nothing else maybe it would help negate some of Cryin' Constantine's ceaseless whining.

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