Sunday, November 4, 2012

Isn't That Special

By now we all know that success or failure on special teams usually decides the outcome of the game. Case in point, the Thunderbirds last three games. Yes, even the first game of this road trip in Spokane, an 8-2 loss to the Chiefs, was significantly affected by special teams play.

With Seattle down, 2-0, in the first period against Spokane, the T-birds were on the power play pressing to get back in the game. A Connor Honey shot wrang off the crossbar. There were a few other opportunities but the 'Birds couldn't capitalize. Then, as the power play expired, Seattle turned the puck over and the Spokane was off the other way on a breakaway, scoring to make it a three-goal lead and pretty much seal the T-birds fate.

Friday in Swift Current it was more obvious. Seattle went 0-for-4 on the power play, gave up one power-play goal against and surrendered two shorthanded goals. The result, a 4-3 loss. Seattle played a good road game, they had chances to win but their special teams didn't do the job. The irony is that Seattle killed off a Swift Current 5-on-3 advantage in the first period to gain some early momentum.

Saturday at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, it was just the opposite. Seattle fell behind early, 2-0, then got into a little penalty trouble. Moose Jaw got two chances on the power play to extend their lead to three but the T-birds penalty killers did yeomans work and thwarted the Warriors. Then, the 'Birds wemt 2-for-3 on the power play in the third period, then killed off yet another Moose Jaw power play in overtime, before winning the game in a shootout.

Win the special teams battle and good things usually happen.

One thing the T-birds must work on as this seven game road trip continues is their start. Seattle has come out slowly in all three games thus far. It led to a 5-0 deficit they couldn't climb out of against Spokane. They survived an early onslaught by Swift Current because their goalie, Brandon Glover, was sharp early and in Moose Jaw they fell in to a two goal hole they fortunately climbed out from. But, they are living dangerously.

Tuesday's game in Brandon will have a nice subplot as T-bird Connor Honey is expected to face his twin brother Curtis, a goalie with the Brandon Wheat Kings. There should be pleny of Honey family members in the crowd, the question is who do they cheer for?

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