Seattle evens up its home ice record at 1-1 last night with the 5-2 victory over Everett. Even at that, it wasn't easy. I wonder if their struggles at home over the past three seasons (26 games below .500) had as much to do with their scoreless first period as Everett goalie Austin Lotz and the 'Tips penalty killers did. It just seemed to me the guys were a bit tight despite getting four power plays, 1:27 of a 5-on-3 and a penalty shot. Maybe it was bus legs. Afterall, the 'Birds traveled through the night from Kamloops while Everett was home snug in their beds, having last played on Wednesday. That's life in the WHL.
Good to see that there was no point in the game where the T-birds fell off the wagon for a stretch of time. That has been an achille's heel for them in every previous game this season, win or lose. This was the most complete sixty minutes of hockey they've played. In a game that was tied going into the third period, one misstep in the first or second period, and the result could have been different
When was the last time the T-birds has so many different players with multiple point nights? Five players with two or more points, led by Shea Theodore (2g 1a). Frankly I thought Riley Sheen deserved a third assist on Seattle's last goal. Maybe that gets reviewed. Even without that assist Sheen is averaging a point a game through six games with Seattle.
If you are keeping score at home, so far that trade is one-sided as former Thunderbird Jake Doty is pointless in seven games with Medicine Hat. I'm sure the Tigers weren't counting on Doty for his offense but early on his PIMs in the Hat are fairly low too.
If he had stayed with Seattle going into camp this year, there would have been no role for Doty this season with the Thunderbirds. Even he recognized that and was looking for a change of scenery. That the T-birds were able to flip him in a trade for someone with the offensive upside of Sheen is a credit to the T-birds scouting staff.
I can't remember a time over the past decade when an Everett team was as undisciplined as they were last night and it was mostly their older players getting whistled. Those were eight legitimate power plays Seattle had. Sour note? Seattle has surrendered four power play goals the last six times they've been shorthanded. Gotta tighten up the PK, although killing off the Everett PP at the start of the third period was huge.
I'm not sure how much longer Ryan Murray will be with Everett but it's a joy to watch a player who does everthing on the ice so well that it looks effortless. It's an easy comparison to make, but he reminds me of Thomas Hickey. Like Hickey did in his time in Seattle, Murray logs a lot of minutes on the back end for the Silvertips but there is no drop off in his play from the first shift to the last.
Raise your hand if you loved seeing 16 year old Michal Holub flying all over the ice last night, shooting the puck at will and hitting anything in a Silvertips jersey, moving or not. That means you, over there in the corner, raise your hand! If I was an older T-birds 3rd or 4th line winger, I'd be a bit nervous about now. Holub is looking for ice time and he's showing the coaches he deserves it.
What I like about Holub's game is that he creates offensive opportunity. I watched him through training camp and the preseason but didn't realize how quick he is on his skates until the last three games.
The word I hear is that Brandon Troock should be back in the lineup soon, maybe by the home game against Spokane on the 16th. What I liked about the last two games, without one of their best scoring threats in the lineup, is that the T-birds were competitive and had a chance to legitimately win both games and they went 1-1. The coaches and scouts have done a very good job of raising the compete level on this team. Drafting players like Holub and trading for a player like Sheen has made Seattle a better team because of better depth. Troock goes down and Conner Honey steps up while Holub nicely fills in Honey's spot on the 3rd line and the team doesn't miss a beat. In the past an injury or illness led to consternation, now it leads to opportunity.
Seattle looks to get back over .500 when they travel north Friday to face the Vancouver Giants. For the second time in a week they'll also play in the spotlight of Canadian TV. Friday's game from the Pacific Coliseum is going to be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet, a Canadian sports cable channel.
In memory of Bruce McDonald, 1971-2012