Friday, December 30, 2011

A Jaw Dropping Win

To quote that famous wordsmith from the 70's, K.C. of K.C. and the Sunshine Band fame, "That's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it!"

Just an exciting 2-0 win over a very good Moose Jaw team Friday night before another enthusiastic crowd at the ShoWare Center. It was the very definition of a total team effort as everyone in the lineup gave 100 percent in the win. Loved the confidence that head coach Steve Konowalchuk showed in all his players. It's the third period of a tight game and he doesn't hesitate to put his young defensemen, Theodore, Hauf and Wardley on the ice.

Moose Jaw is a big team; the equal in size of Seattle and I thought early on their game was to try and impose their physicality on the T-birds. But Seattle didn't back down and Jacob Doty going toe-to-toe with Dallas Ehrhardt got the crowd into the game and gave the 'Birds the confidence they needed to skate with the Warriors. Don't underestimate what Doty's efforts in that tilt meant to his teammates. That was a big turning point in the game in my estimation.

But the biggest turning point was Seattle killing off that 1:41 of 5-on-3 power play time Moose Jaw had in the first period. They limited the Warriors 5th ranked PP to just one shot on goal. They T-birds paid the price to keep the puck out of their net, blocking shots cost them Marcel Noebels for much of the game after he took a slap shot in the ribs. "Es tut so weh!"

Prior to Friday night's game the T-birds had gone scoreless in the third period in three straight contest, each time seeing a lead evaporate because they couldn't play add on. That made the Burke Gallimore power play goal early in the third against Moose Jaw huge. It gave them breathing room and they played the rest of the game on their toes rather then back on their heels. Prior to that goal the 'Birds had been outscored 15-5 in the third period in the month of December (three of those five goals came in one game) and as a result had coughed up 3rd period leads four times. For one night at least, they turned the tables.

Calvin Pickard now has three shutouts in his past 16 games. Even more impressive his shutouts have been against Tri-City (Nov 18th), Vancouver (Dec 13th) and Moose Jaw. Those three teams are a combined 75-30-4-2 and have complied 404 goals in 111 games. In those three games Pickard has faced 120 shots and stopped them all.

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