Monday, January 28, 2013

Rebooting for the Stretch Drive

The hardest part about writing this blog? Remembering the password to access it. And I'm too paranoid to write it down, because the first thing a burglar would do when breaking into my home is search for the password for my blog.

A busy January ends Tuesday at home versus the Prince George Cougars. This game should have a playoff-like intensity to it as these teams are separated by just four points in the standings.

A bit of an up and down effort from the T-birds in their home and home series against the Kelowna Rockets. Seattle got off to a slow start Thursday north of the border and never recovered in the 8-0 loss. Things just kind of snowballed on them.

A much, much better effort Friday at home in the 4-3 overtime loss. Certainly you want to be able to hold a two goal lead on home ice, but let's remember who the 'Birds were playing. Kelowna has lit a fuse and is, well, skyrocketing right now. They can do no wrong. After hosting the T-birds Thursday and traveling to Kent for Friday's game, the Rockets got back on the bus after the overtime game, headed back home and beat Prince Albert, 6-2 24 hours later. If I had any connection to that Rocket team right now, I'd be heading to the corner store to buy lottery tickets. Everthing they touch is turning to gold.

The loss of the two goal lead was not for lack of trying to play add on. The Thunderbirds didn't sit back on that two goal advantage. They just continue to miss out on scoring chances. Sometimes it is a bad bounce and often it's not going to the net hard enough to knock that bouncing puck in. Getting greasy goals is something the team is still working on perfecting. I think they just need to muck it up a bit more in front of the opposing goal.

The power play is one area where you can get those type of goals. The T-birds are slumping right now with the man advantage. In the first half of the season the power play was their bread and butter. They need to get that clicking again. They did a good job of drawing penalties against the Rockets Friday and generated seven power play opportunities. They did some good work on the power play but only generated one goal. The same thing happened last Tuesday in Kennewick in Seattle's 5-1 loss to the Americancs; seven power play chances, just one goal.

There are two significant reasons why the Thunderbirds are drawing those penalties on the oppositon. One, they have re-established their strong forecheck in recent games and two, their depth allows them to roll four lines and sustain the pressure from tha forecheck. It's a good situation to have when this team is healthy and the coaches are foreced to sit an older forward.

Seattle seems to have re-established it's solid play on home ice, earning 5 of a possible 6 points in their last three home games at the ShoWare Center. That's good news because they are in the midst of a four game homestand and 8 of their 13 games in February will be on home ice.

Remember the last 2-3 seasons with the T-birds getting consistently outshot every night. Well, that is no long the case. In fact, the T-birds have outshot their opponent in 5 of their last 8 games. They were only outshot twice and once the shots were even. So the opportunities are there, just need to finish better.

In memory of Bruce McDonald, 1971-2012

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