Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From His Lips to Their Goal

Off the ice Roberts Lipsbergs likes to have fun. He seems to enjoy life. He always has a smile on his face. Actually, it is more like a grin and if he's not grinning or smiling, he's laughing. On the ice though, he's all business and right now for Roberts Lipsbergs, business is good. With his hat trick last night, Lipsbergs extended his points streak to six games, a streak that includes 7 goals and 4 assists. The Latvian is, as they say, en fuego!

More importantly his goals are coming because he's going hard to the net. Most of his scoring is from that prime scoring area in front of the opposing goal, between the top of the crease and just below the hash marks. Early on this season the T-birds have been scoring a lot of "pretty" goals; goals off the rush. I think they need more greasy goals off rebounds and second chance opportunities. Lipsbergs and now Justin Hickman, are starting to provide them with that kind of offense.

Was giving up a three goal lead just the actions of a team that hasn't had a lot of experience winning lately, not knowing how to close out an opponent they had on the ropes? I think that might have been part of the problem last night for the T-birds. After scoring the shorthanded goal that gave them the 3-0 cushion, it seemed Seattle played with less purpose. As a result they got too casual with the puck inside their own blue line. That led to turnovers which in turn, led to Everett scoring chances. The first Everett goal though, the shorthanded one, was just a bad break as Riley Sheen lost an edge. As frstrating as it was to see that 3-goal lead erased, the T-birds controlled the action for much of the game. For seven minutes they lost their way but responded well to that with a strong third period.

The T-birds faced their old friend, goalie Daniel Cotton, for the first time. Cotton, who spent all of last season and the first month of this season with Seattle was traded to Everett in late October. The first time the two teams met after that trade, Cotton was parked on the Silvertips bench, a game the 'Birds won up at Comcast Arena, 4-3.

Last night though, Cotton returned to his old stomping grounds and was in net hoping to backstop his new team to a road win. But Seattle came out flying and solved him early with a pair of goals from Lipsbergs. Maybe Cotton was pressing too hard trying to beat his old team. He'd played well since joining the 'Tips, entering last night's game with a sub 3.00 GAA, but a number of the goals he gave up were a bit soft, including the shorthanded goal he allowed to Jesse Forsberg early in the second period that staked Seattle to a 3-0 lead.
Still, when his team fought back to tie the game at 3-3 late in the second, Cotton had a chance for the win. The T-birds though, re-established their strong forecheck early in the third leading to Lipsbergs third goal and Seattle was never headed again.

Cotton isn't the first former T-bird to play for the Silvertips. Winger Marc Desloges spent parts of two seasons with the 'Tips after they selected him off Seattle's roster in the 2003 expansion draft. Meanwhile, Griffin Foulk does become the first former Silvertips player to don a T-birds jersey in a regular season game. Foulk was acquired late last week from Everett. You might remember that Michael Bell, who played in ten games last season for the 'Tips, was in training camp with the T-birds earlier this season and saw some action with Seattle in the preseason but didn't make it on to the regular season roster.

In memory of Bruce McDonald, 1971-2012

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