|North Bay Battalion|
|Owen Sound Attack|
|Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds|
|Acadie-Bathurst Titan||Baie-Comeau Drakkar|
|Blainville-Boisbriand Armada||Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|Charlottetown Islanders||Chicoutimi Sagueneens|
|Drummondville Voltigeurs||Gatineau Olympiques|
|Halifax Mooseheads||Moncton Wildcats|
|Quebec Remparts||Rimouski Oceanic|
|Rouyn-Noranda Huskies||Saint John Sea Dogs|
|Shawinigan Cataractes||Sherbrooke Phoenix|
|Val-d'Or Foreurs||Victoriaville Tigres|
March 10, 2014- March 16, 2014
March 7, 2014
At Portland 7, Seattle 3
The first period turned in Portland’s favor as it wound to a close, ending with the Winterhawks up 3-1. Portland scored first, only to have Russell Maxwell score a power-play goal to tie it back up. Two more Portland goals followed, including one on the power play. Seattle quickly scored two power-play goals in the second period to tie the game, and then narrowly avoided taking the lead twice, with Branden Troock just missing a breakaway backhand chance and another shot going off the crossbar later on. Portland took advantage of these breaks, scoring their second of three power-play goals late in the second period.
The third period was all Portland, as the Winterhawks scored three more times to seal the victory. The teams combined to go six for 12 on the power play, with both teams having three power-play goals in the contest. Shea Theodore and Ryan Gropp had the other goals for Seattle.
Keys from Last Week
Seattle’s road record against Portland is almost the exact opposite of its home record. The T-Birds have gone 4-1-0-0 at home and 0-4-0-0 on the road. Will they be able to break through in Portland?
The Winterhawks were able to keep up their home dominance of the T-Birds, coming away with another win to make it five in five chances in Portland. Seattle faces the Winterhawks once more in Portland as well as once more at home in Kent.
Portland allowed just 2.2 goals against during their 21-game win streak. Before that, the Winterhawks allowed 3.4 a game. Will Seattle find the offense Portland’s opponents have been missing for so long?
Seattle managed to score a bit against Portland, getting three goals in just two periods of play, but the Winterhawks’ offense did their part to overcome the T-Birds. All three of Seattle’s goals came on the power play.
March 8, 2014
Everett 5, at Seattle 2
Photo Courtesy of Brian Liesse
The first goal of the game didn’t come until five minutes into the second period, when Everett took the lead. Seattle was able to quickly respond with Shea Theodore’s 20th goal of the season to tie the game, but fell behind once more at 13:02 of the second. Everett added a power-play goal before the second period’s expiration to make it a 3-1 game, then scored early in the third to extend their lead even further. Russell Maxwell scored his second power-play goal in as many games to cut that lead down, but the T-Birds were unable to find any more goals despite getting 33 shots on goal against a normally-stingy Everett defense. The Silvertips added an empty-net goal in the last two minutes of the game to make it a 5-2 final.
Keys from Last Week
Everett has given up 20 goals in their last 10 games and has given up more than two goals just twice in that time. Can the T-Birds find their way around Everett’s defensive-minded game?
Seattle had a bit more success than they had in their last two meetings with Everett, but couldn’t find enough offense to get the win, only getting two goals.
This is Seattle’s last game against the Silvertips this year and could even the season series at five wins apiece. Can the T-Birds make sure they get another W to seal the series?
Everett’s win tied the series, giving each team five wins against the other on the season. Seattle ends the season 5-4-1-0 against the Silvertips, with each team recording 11 points.
March 9, 2014
At Seattle 4, Vancouver 3 (SO)
Photo Courtesy of Brian Liesse
For the sixth straight game, Seattle’s opponent scored the first goal of the night. Vancouver scored on the power play four minutes into the game, putting Seattle behind. The T-Birds fought back from there and scored three straight goals, starting with Mathew Barzal’s power-play goal at 16:10 of the first period. Alexander Delnov and Jerret Smith added goals in the second period, with Smith tipping in a pass from Scott Eansor on the rush.
The Giants got back in the game quickly in the third, scoring twice in five seconds to tie the game. There were no more goals in regulation or overtime, as both goalies did well to keep the puck out of the net. Vancouver took the lead early the shootout, scoring in the first round. Shea Theodore tied it in the third round of the shootout, followed by Roberts Lipsbergs giving Seattle the win in the fifth round.
Keys from Last Week
Vancouver has been a consistent team regardless of venue this year, with a .530 winning percentage at home and on the road. Will ShoWare Center be loud enough to drop that road winning percentage down a bit?
The Giants were competitive throughout the game, but Seattle took advantage of the home ice and got the win in the shootout.
Thrower was out, having recently suffered a season-ending injury, but the T-Birds did well to stop Kulak, who did not record a point in the game and was a minus two.
Spokane Chiefs (38-24-3-3)
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 (7:05 PM) at ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington
Season Series: 7-0-0-0
All-Time Series: 126-128-2-3-11
The Spokane Chiefs are battling for playoff positioning right now. Currently, the Chiefs are fifth in the Western Conference but hold just a one-point lead over Everett, who they will face on Wednesday. Spokane is also just four points back of Seattle, their opponent on Tuesday.
The Chiefs are fourth in the Western Conference in goals allowed and eighth in the WHL in that category, having given up just 199 so far this season. Spokane’s offense is ninth in the WHL in goals scored with 232. Spokane has won two games in a row after losing five of seven.
Two players have lead Spokane in almost every offensive category this year. Mitch Holmberg (60-53-113), the WHL’s leading scorer, and Mike Aviani (35-42-77) are first and second on the team in goals, points, plus/minus, power-play goals, and shorthanded goals. Aviani is also second on the team in penalty minutes. His 112 ranks jut behind Carter Proft (11-11-22), who has 141 this season.
Adam Helewka (22-27-49) has played alongside the two 20-year-olds for much of this season and has set career highs while doing so. Rookie Keanu Yamamoto (10-13-23) has come on strong in the second half this year and has 13 points in his last 17 games. Fellow rookie Dominic Zwerger (15-10-25) has had a successful year, but has not scored since his three-goal, one-assist night on February 23. Trade deadline acquisition Marcus Messier (10-20-30) has five goals and five assists in his 28 games with Spokane so far, equaling his goal total from 39 games with Tri-City earlier in the year.
Spokane’s other trade deadline acquisition was Hudson Elynuik (2-8-10), a rookie who has one goal and seven assists with the Chiefs. Connor Chartier (12-17-29) is in his third full season with Spokane and is one of three forwards to appear in every game this year, along with Holmberg and Proft. Riley Whittingham (13-18-31) is third amongst forwards in plus/minus, behind Holmberg and Aviani, at plus 15. Liam Stewart (7-20-27) has also had a good year, playing to a plus 13 despite missing a few games to play for Great Britain in the World Juniors.
Reid Gow (6-53-60) started the season with 39 assists before recording his first goal on January 3. Since getting his first, Gow has added five more goals, putting him one off his pace from last season. Jason Fram (6-48-54) joins him on the top pairing. Colton Bobyk (5-7-12) hasn’t reached the gaudy assist total of Fram or Gow, but is just one goal behind them. Bobyk is also one of the few players on the team to be a minus this year, playing to a minus four in 56 games.
Jeremy McIntosh (4-5-9) helps to round out the defensive corps along with Cole Wedman (3-9-12). McIntosh’s 92 penalty minutes are the most amongst the team’s defensemen and is third on the team behind Aviani and Proft. Rookies Jeff Rayman (1-2-3) and Matt Sozanski (0-0-0) have filled in the team’s sixth defenseman role. Sozanski has yet to record a point this season but is a plus seven, while Rayman has added a goal and two assists and is a minus one.
Eric Williams continues to be Spokane’s primary goaltender in his age-20 season. Williams has four assists this year and has a 2.59 GAA. Williams’ 31-17-2-2 record has been helped along by four shutouts and a .909 save percentage, both career highs.
Photo Courtesy of Marissa Baecker
What to Watch For
A win in this game would give Seattle a six-point lead over Spokane for the fourth spot in the playoff race and make them 8-0-0-0 against Spokane this season. Will the T-Birds be able to run past a Chiefs team that is sure to be highly motivated?
Spokane’s penalty kill is 14th in the WHL and 8th in the Western Conference, but the Chiefs are second in the league in shorthanded goals. Will Seattle be able to find power-play success without giving Spokane any shorthanded chances?
Portland Winterhawks (50-13-2-3)
Friday, March 14, 2014 (7:35 PM) at ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington
Saturday, March 15, 2014 (7:00) at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Kent, Washington
Season Series: 4-6-0-0
All-Time Series: 173-232-6-5-21
The Winterhawks are comfortable situated in the second spot in the Western Conference, with little opportunity to move up or down. Portland is seven points behind Kelowna with five games to play and seven points ahead of Victoria, virtually assuring them of the second seed. The Winterhawks have scored 318 goals this year, the best in the league by 25. Portland has lost just once in their last 25 games, with that loss coming to the T-Birds at ShoWare Center on March 1.
Nicolas Petan (34-74-108) continues to pace the Winterhawks. His 108 points are second in the league, though his 1.83 points per game ranks first. Oliver Bjorkstrand (45-57-102) isn’t far behind and is one of five 30-goal scorers for Portland. Brendan Leipsic (37-50-87), Chase De Leo (39-39-78), and Taylor Leier (32-39-71) have also reached that total, with Leipsic and De Leo both close to reaching 40.
Dominic Turgeon (10-21-31) is one of seven Winterhawks with a shorthanded goal this year. Turgeon has two, while Bjorkstrand leads the team with four. Adam Rossignol (3-9-12) and Adam De Champlain (6-4-10) have also added one, with De Champlain scoring a power-play goal as well. Keegan Iverson (22-17-39) and Paul Bittner (21-26-47) are both over 20 goals, with Iverson scoring seven of his goals on the power play. 15-year-old Skyler McKenzie (0-0-0) recently joined the team and has played in three games this month.
Portland plays with three rookies on their blue line, though only one of them is under 18. Keoni Texeira (2-14-16) is 16 this year and has moved all around their lineup, playing on all three pairings at one time or another. Anton Cederholm (4-11-15) is also in his first WHL season but was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks last year after playing as a 17-year-old in Sweden. Garrett Haar (7-38-45) is a 20-year-old rookie who spent two years at Western Michigan University.
Derrick Pouliot (17-50-67) and Mathew Dumba (5-12-17) are the headliners of Portland’s defense. Dumba joined the team near the trade deadline and has played just 23 games in the WHL this year after spending time with the Minnesota Wild and with Team Canada at the World Juniors. Pouliot, a Pittsburgh Penguins first-round draft pick, has set career highs in goals and points in 55 games.
The Winterhawks go with Brendan Burke in goal, though Burke has missed significant time lately with an illness. Portland’s backup, Corbin Boes, was hurt recently as well, though indications are he should be at full health soon. Burke is 31-10-2-2 this year with a 2.85 GAA and .908 save percentage. His save percentage is exactly the same as last year, though his GAA is .2 higher. Boes has a 2.49 GAA and .913 save percentage in 16 games with Portland this year, beginning the year as Lethbridge’s starter.
Photo Courtesy of John Allen
What to Watch For
Portland’s last visit to ShoWare ended with their 21-game win streak snapped. Can the T-Birds come out with another complete effort at home?
Seattle and Portland have been shorthanded the most of any teams in the WHL, with each team giving up 317 power plays to opponents. Can the T-Birds win the special teams battle and force Portland into penalties?
Tri-City Americans (28-32-3-5)
Sunday, March 16, 2014 (5:05 PM) at Toyota Center, Kennewick, Washington
Season Series: 6-2-0-1
All-Time Series: 114-97-7-7-13
The Americans are in the eighth spot in the Western Conference and have to win just one of their five remaining games to secure a playoff berth. Tri-City has won just two of their last 15 games, however, and has fallen to four games under .500. The Americans offense has the third-fewest goals in the WHL, having scored just 169 all season, the lowest total of any playoff team. Their 211 goals allowed is 10th in the WHL and sixth in the Western Conference.
Brian Williams (36-19-55) leads the team in scoring but has scored in just seven of their last 16 games. Williams is the only skater on the team with 20 or more goals, though Beau McCue (19-18-37) is closing in on that mark. Lucas Nickles (17-19-36) also has a chance to reach the 20-goal mark after scoring 10 last season. Parker Bowles (11-23-34) is the closest to a point-per-game player on the team: his 34 points in 35 games ranks first on the roster. Bowles, Williams, and Philip Tot (15-21-36) are the only players to average more than .55 points per game.
Justin Gutierrez (3-18-21) leads the team in penalty minutes with 96. Jackson Playfair (4-6-10) has 103 PIMs on the season, but earned 78 of those in 40 games with Spokane before being added at the trade deadline. Jessey Astles (8-7-15) and Braden Purtill (9-5-14) are the only other forwards with more than 10 points this season.
Justin Hamonic (1-13-14) is the only positive plus/minus amongst Tri-City’s defensemen at plus one. Kennewick native Parker Wotherspoon (2-15-17) is an even zero in his rookie season. Mitch Topping (7-15-22) leads the defensemen in goals and points and is the only defenseman with more than three goals. Michal Plutnar (3-8-11) and Brandon Carlo (3-8-11) have had identical seasons in terms of offensive production, though Plutnar has played in 20 less games. Josh Thrower (2-4-6) joined the team at the trade deadline and has not scored a point in 24 games with the Americans.
Eric Comrie continues to lock down the crease for Tri-City. Comrie’s numbers have all improved since last year, and the 18-year-old is third in the WHL in save percentage. Comrie has a .923 save percentage to go along with his 2.61 GAA, which is ninth in the league.
Photo Courtesy of John Allen
What to Watch For
Tri-City’s power play is 21st in the WHL and has had the third-fewest opportunities. Can Seattle stay out of the box and continue to deny the Americans any power-play chances?
Seattle won every home game against Tri-City this year but has just one win in four chances on the road. Will the T-Birds solve their road troubles against the Americans?
COMING NEXT WEEK
Thunderbirds: The Week Ahead is written weekly by Matt Swanson, intern with the Thunderbirds. Matt is a graduate of Western Oregon University, where he studied political science and sports management. Each post is written as a preview of Thunderbird games scheduled for the upcoming week and weekend.
If you have any comments, questions, or interesting trivia, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “The Week Ahead” in the subject line. You can also tweet @SeattleTBirds. Compelling trivia or interesting questions are gratefully accepted and may possibly included as content for the next week.
For previous weeks, visit Thunderbirds: Week Ahead Archive