Often I've heard Steve Konowalchuk say that no matter if you are up by a few goals or down by plenty, you still play through to the final whistle. Don't worry about the score, worry about the effort. So why is that such a big deal? I mean if you are trailing 6-2 with two minutes left, what's the point? Well, the point is you need to create good habits and one of the best habits a team can have is playing a full 60 minutes. So what if you are down by 3 or 4 goals, keep playing hard. That way, when you get into a tight game or a game where you are trailing late but aren't out of it, you'll have the work ethic to bring your team back.
That is why the T-birds won Tuesday, 4-2, over the Swift Current Broncos, because the coaches have taught them you have to play a complete game. Your shift isn't over until you're on the bench and the game isn't over until the final horn sounds.
Late in their 8-2 loss up in Kamloops Saturday they could have just phoned it in but I noticed guys still playing hard even down by six goals. They weren't going to come back and win that game but the final minutes of that game were instrumental in setting up the succes they had in the final few minutes against the Broncos.
Tuesday's game was odd in the sense that when the T-birds put a shot on goal and it caromed off the goalies pads it didn't go their way. If the shot hit the pads softly and fell around the crease the Seattle players were too far from the goal mouth to get the rebound. If the shot was hard and the rebound kicked out into the high slot the closest T-birds players were too close to the crease to get a stick on it. Finally, on the winning goal, they got a Goldilocks bounce...it was just right and Chance Lund was there to sneak it in.
What a night for Luke Lockhart. With three forwards out with injury he got double shifted a lot and it seemed like he was on the ice every other line change. He and Tyler Alos won some key face-offs, especially on the three successful T-bird penalty kills but none more important than the one Alos won to set up Shea Theodore's tying goal.
Don't look now, but Calvin Pickard is 4-0-0-1 in his last five starts. Again, when the team was struggling to score for the game's first 57 minutes he made save after save to keep his team within striking distance. He made two huge pad saves on the Broncos Adam Lowry with Swift Current poised to extend their lead from 2-1 to 3-1. A third goal by the Broncos and it is probably game over. Picks prevented that from happening.