Saturday, December 14, 2013

Another Win is Gr-Eight

Control the controllables (if that's even a word). It's something I've heard from different coaches in various sports. Some say it in different ways. It simply means each player is responsible for their own performance and the results you get are based on that effort. Prepare the right way, give 100 percent, pay attention to detail, follow the game plan and, win or lose, you should be satisfied with your game. You, not the opponent, should dictate the way you play.

That also means controlling your emotions. Don't get too high or too low. You can give 100 percent but if you're too "amped up", you can get out of control and hurt your team. It's just my own opinion but I felt at points in time, over the first two periods, of last night's game the T-birds were just a tad "amped up". Maybe it was the injuries and depleted bench but they put that emotion in check for the third period and played the final 20 minutes the way they've played most of time over the course of this, now eight game, winning streak; controlled.

Branden Troock was robbed on the doorstep Tuesday night in Kennewick by Tri-City goalie Eric Comrie and thus ended that game without a point. He made up for it last night with two goals and an assist and now has 11 goals and 12 assists in his last 16 games. He's the Beast Mode of hockey in a city famous for its Beast Mode.

For the first time since 2007, the Thunderbirds now have two goaltenders on the roster with at least ten wins each. Danny Mumaugh joined Justin Myles in the ten win club last night. Mumaugh has won his last three starts surrendering just five goals over that span, a GAA of 1.66. Once again Mumaugh was at his best, a calming influence, in the second half of the third period as the T-birds protected their one goal lead.

Seeing is believing. Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk told me 17 year old winger Calvin Spencer was fitting right in with the team, having solid practices since being added to the roster just over a week ago. Still he had yet to play in a game and, well, practice is practice. An actual game is a whole new animal at this level. It's just one game but after making his debut last night, Spencer is a keeper. His style of play fits perfectly what the T-birds do. A very good skater, Spencer used his size to win puck battles and showed he can play a 200 foot game. He also displayed a good, strong and accurate shot and, more importantly, didn't hesitate to shoot. Seattle scored three, gave up two. Spencer finished the night +2. Oh, by the way it was Spencer who created the penalty against Portland (his stick was slashed out of his hands) that led to the T-birds game winning power play goal. Solid debut.

It will be interesting to see how many healthy bodies the Thunderbirds suit up tonight for the rematch down in Portland. By game's end Seattle was down to just ten forwards. That's what makes the win more impressive. They did it shorthanded with a lot of double shifting over the final 25 minutes. For a good stretch they also had only four defenseman as two were serving out ten minute misconducts after that dust up towards the end of the second period.

I think you have to be impressed that both teams put out an entertaining product for the fans considering what each side was missing from their lineup. That's what rivalry games should be like.

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