|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 3, 2014- March 9, 2014
February 25, 2014
At Seattle 4, Prince Albert 3 (OT)
Prince Albert scored the only goal of the first period, coming at 11:35. It was one of the visitors’ 16 shots in the period in what turned out to be an overwhelmingly offensive game, as both teams recorded over 40 shots. Mathew Barzal tied the game in the second period with his 11th goal of the year, only to have the Raiders once again take the lead before the period ended. Roberts Lipsbergs got the game back to 2-2 at 12:26 of the second period with a goal.
Barzal’s second goal of the night gave Seattle their first lead with just five minutes left. Prince Albert pulled their goalie as time wound down in an attempt to tie the game, which paid off with just 1:15 left. The game went to overtime from there, which ended with an Alexander Delnov goal coming on Seattle’s fifth and final shot of the extra period.
Photo Courtesy of Kyle Scholzen
Keys from Last Week
The Raiders have a deadly power play and Seattle is second in the league in penalty minutes. Will the T-Birds stay disciplined and keep Prince Albert’s man advantage off the ice?
Prince Albert had four power play opportunities, all of which went scoreless thanks to Seattle’s penalty kill. Unfortunately, the T-Birds were unable to score as well on any of their five chances.
One line has done much of the heavy lifting offensively for Prince Albert so far. Can Seattle’s shutdown line keep them off the board and force the Raiders to rely on secondary scoring?
Leon Draisaitl and the Raiders’ top defensemen found the net in this game, with all three goals coming from the top line. Thankfully, Seattle’s offense was too much for Prince Albert’s scorers to handle and came away with the win.
March 1, 2014
At Seattle 4, Portland 1
In the midst of a 21-game winning streak, the Winterhawks looked to continue their hot play with a goal under three minutes into the game. Seattle was able to rebound from their though, and extended pressure from the home team tied the game back up soon thereafter. Shea Theodore had the tying goal at 6:55 of the first, coming on a 5-on-3 power play. Alexander Delnov added an unassisted goal at the halfway mark of the first period to give Seattle the lead, which they never relinquished. Portland kept at it offensively, but were denied at every turn by Taran Kozun, who stopped 41 of 42 shots in the game. Justin Hickman and Branden Troock added goals in the second and third period to widen the gap and ensure Seattle’s victory. Two power plays in the last seven minutes gave Portland a bit of a chance to pull themselves back into the game, but the T-Birds’ penalty kill did their job and stopped the Winterhawks before Troock’s goal made it 4-1.
Photo Courtesy Kyle Scholzen
Keys from Last Week
Portland is in the midst of the longest winning streak in the WHL this year. Can Seattle snap it for their fourth win against their rivals this year?
Seattle played a complete game, getting the win and stopping Portland’s streak, the second-longest in WHL history.
Seattle is 2-1-0-0 against Portland at home this year and has a .759 winning percentage at ShoWare. Will the T-Birds take advantage of the supportive environment?
A sold out crowd helped the T-Birds on their way, providing some energy for the home team en route to another victory. Seattle is now 4-1-0-0 at home against Portland and 0-4-0-0 on the road.
March 2, 2014
Everett 3, at Seattle 1
Everett had the game’s first goal 15 minutes in, coming on the power play. It was one of two power-play goals in the game for the Silvertips, though the second came on an empty net. From there, the Silvertips went into a defensive shell and relied on their neutral zone trap to get the win, bogging down any offensive rushes and slowing the game to a crawl almost completely devoid of scoring chances. Jaimen Yakubowski did manage to tie the game in the second period, only to have Everett retake the lead near the period’s expiration. The third saw just 14 combined shots as the T-Birds simply couldn’t penetrate Everett’s defense and the Silvertips abandoned the forecheck almost entirely. An empty net goal was added by the Silvertips with 40 seconds remaining, sealing the win.
Photo Courtesy of Kyle Scholzen
Keys from Last Week
Six of Everett’s last eight games are on the road, starting with their trip down to Seattle, where they’ve lost two of three games this year. Will the T-Birds make sure to defend home ice?
Unfortunately, Seattle was unable to get the home win, falling to Everett after a big win the night before.
In their last three games against Everett, Seattle has just four power plays and 59 shots on goal despite going 2-1-0-0. Can the T-Birds keep the pressure in Everett’s zone and draw some penalties?
Seattle had four power plays and had 25 shots on goal, their best such totals in the last four games against Everett but still not enough to get the win. The T-Birds couldn’t score on any of those man advantages.
Portland Winterhawks (47-13-2-3)
Friday, March 7, 2014 (7:00 PM) at Moda Center, Portland, Oregon
Season Series: 4-5-0-0
All-Time Series: 173-233-6-5-21
Portland’s 21-game winning streak was snapped by the T-Birds on Saturday, giving them their first loss since early January. The Winterhawks have five games left to play after their matchup with Seattle this week and are nine points behind Kelowna for first in the Western Conference. Portland has clinched the U.S. Division thanks in large part to their offense, which is tops in the league with 302 goals scored. Their defense also ranks in the top 10, coming in tied for ninth with 194 goals allowed in 65 games. This game will also be broadcast on ROOT Sports.
Portland fields eight NHL draft picks on any given night, including four forwards. Nicolas Petan (34-72-106) was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round last year and is second in the WHL in scoring after leading the league in 2012-2013. Oliver Bjorkstrand (43-54-97) was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the third round of the 2013 draft and is third in the WHL in scoring, nine points behind Petan. Chase De Leo (36-37-73) is the only one of Portland’s six players with 60+ points who has not been drafted: he will be eligible this year. Brendan Leipsic (34-46-80) was a Nashville Predators draft pick and is second on the team in penalty minutes to Alex Schoenborn (17-14-31), though Schoenborn has had 12 more games to record his 107 PIMs. Leipsic’s 99 PIMs ranks just ahead of Adam De Champlain (6-4-10), who has 94 in 43 games this year.
Taylor Leier (32-36-68), a Philadelphia Flyers pick, is the captain for the Winterhawks in his age-19 season. He is one of seven 20-goal scorers for Portland, including Paul Bittner (20-23-43) and Keegan Iverson (20-15-35). Leier is also second on the team in plus/minus, with his plus 37 trailing only Petan’s plus 47. In fact, only De Champlain and Ethan Price (4-4-8) are minuses on the team at minus four and minus nine, though Adam Rossignol (3-9-12) is an even zero on the season.
The Portland defense got a major talent infusion near the trade deadline, bringing in Mathew Dumba (3-11-14) from Red Deer. Dumba played 12 games for the Minnesota Wild this year before returning to the WHL and has lost just once in his 20 games with Portland. Dumba has played with a variety of different partners this season, including first-round NHL draft pick Derrick Pouliot (17-46-63), who leads the blue line in scoring. Garrett Haar (7-38-45) is second in that category playing as a 20-year-old rookie, though Haar has been injured of late.
That injury has opened up some playing time for Layne Viveiros (3-14-17), who had lost his spot in the top six when Dumba was added. Two other rookies patrol the blue line for Portland. Keoni Texeira (2-13-15) is a 16-year-old, while Vancouver Canucks draftee Anton Cederholm (2-11-13) joins the WHL as an 18-year-old. The final defenseman on Portland’s roster is Josh Hanson (1-15-16).
Brendan Burke has been Portland’s regular goaltender, though a sickness has kept him out of action in recent weeks. Burke has a sparkling 31-10-2-2 record, though his 2.85 GAA is 13th in the league and his .908 save percentage is 14th. Corbin Boes has filled in during Burke’s absence after being acquired from Lethbridge. Boes has a 2.46 GAA for Portland and a .913 save percentage as well as a 12-1-0-1 record for the Winterhawks. While serving as the starter in Lethbridge, Boes had a 4.11 GAA and .900 save percentage.
Photo Courtesy of Gary Peterson
What to Watch For
Seattle’s road record against Portland is almost the exact opposite of its home record. The T-Birds have gone 3-1-0-0 at home and 1-4-0-0 on the road. Will they be able to break through in Portland?
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?
Everett Silvertips (33-23-7-2)
Saturday, March 8, 2014 (7:05 PM) at ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington
Season Series: 5-3-1-0
All-Time Series: 55-43-5-4-4
Everett’s meeting with Seattle will be their third game of the week, leaving the Silvertips with just four more games to play after. The Silvertips are in a fight for playoff positioning right now, as they are five points ahead of seventh-place Vancouver and three points behind fifth-place Spokane. Everett does meet Spokane once more this season, which could be instrumental in determining the final playoff seeding.
Most of Everett’s success this year has relied upon their defense, which has allowed 189 goals, good for seventh in the league and third in the conference. Of course, Everett’s offense has not been particularly potent so far, as their 188 goals is the worst amongst all teams with a winning record and is 18th in the WHL.
Josh Winquist (39-41-80) remains Everett’s main source of offense, though the 20-year-old has just one goal in his last six games. Winquist’s slump has coincided with Jujhar Khaira (15-21-36) upping his game: the 19-year-old rookie has moved up to the first line, centering Winquist and Ivan Nikolishin (16-31-48) for the last week. Khaira and Manraj Hayer (14-23-37) have each centered that line at times this year.
Trade deadline acquisition Zane Jones (11-13-24) has returned to health at the right time for Everett, providing some grit for the team. Jones has played in four games for Everett so far and hasn’t recorded a point yet. Carson Stadnyk (19-13-32) has also provided a boost for the team and is closing in on 20 goals. Stadnyk would be the second Silvertip to reach that total behind only Winquist, who reached 20 goals on November 22nd.
Rookie Matt Fonteyne (3-4-7) has begun seeing more ice time, as has rookie Patrick Bajkov (8-7-15). The two join Nikolishin and Khaira as the only rookie forwards for Everett, though Fonteyne and Bajkov are 16 while Nikolishin and Khaira are 18 and 19, respectively.
The Silvertips have two defensemen with over 20 points this year. Matt Pufahl (13-29-42) is first amongst defensemen in scoring and third on the team, while Mirco Mueller (4-21-25) ranks behind him. Pufahl and Noah Juulsen (1-8-9) are the only plus defensemen: Pufahl is a plus three and Juulsen is a plus seven. Cole MacDonald (2-15-17) has scored a power-play goal this year, one of eight from defensemen and the only one to be scored by any defender other than Pufahl. Kevin Davis (1-6-7) and Austin Adam (1-3-4) are both rookies who recently scored their first WHL goal.
Austin Lotz shoulders a heavy load as Everett’s number one goaltender, especially now that his only backup is 16-year-old Carter Hart. Lotz has a 2.57 GAA but only a .903 save percentage. His 25-18-3-2 record has been buoyed by five shutouts. Hart has only appeared in one game so far this year, giving up four goals in 58 minutes of work en route to a loss.
Photo Courtesy of Chris Mast
What to Watch For
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?
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?
Vancouver Giants (30-26-7-3)
Sunday, March 9, 2014 (5:05 PM) at ShoWare Center, Kent, Washington
Season Series: 2-1-0-0
All-Time Series: 32-30-4-1-3
Vancouver is seventh in the Western Conference and has a chance to move up to sixth, as the Giants trail Everett by just five points. Unfortunately for Vancouver, their remaining schedule pits them against the top four teams in the Western Conference, with their only reprieve being one game against Kamloops early this week. Vancouver has been outscored by nine goals this year, with 217 goals scored and 226 allowed.
Balanced scoring from a few forwards has provided a spark for the Giants this year. Carter Popoff (13-47-60) leads the team in scoring, but Cain Franson (28-31-59) and Jackson Houck (30-24-54) are just a few points behind. Franson and Houck have often been recipients of Popoff’s passes, helping the team along to the sixth-rated power play in the league. Scoring from the forwards dips a bit after that, with just two more forwards over 30 points.
Joel Hamilton (9-30-39) has racked up the assists this year en route to a plus nine rating, tied for best on the team. Dominik Volek (20-16-36) has also had a successful year, having scored five goals and 12 points for Vancouver in 21 games after starting the year for the Red Deer Rebels. Dalton Sward (17-9-28) is third on the team in goals with 17, though Volek’s 20 overall trumps that. Rookies Alec Baer (8-9-17) and Ty Ronning (7-10-17) have both had successful years if not high-scoring ones. Baer is third on the team in plus/minus at plus eight, while Ronning is a minus seven.
Brett Kulak (14-40-54) and Dalton Thrower (12-27-39) have been two of the better offensive defensemen this year. Kulak is tied for third on the team in points while Thrower’s 39 points have been scored in just 42 games this year. Thrower is tied with Hamilton for the team lead in plus/minus as well.
Two rookies have begun to take on bigger roles on defense as the year goes on. Shaun Dosanjh (1-2-3) and Dmitry Osipov (2-0-2) have not scored much this year, but continue to play important minutes. Osipov’s minus 14 is worst on the team. Tyler Morrison (6-16-22), Arvin Atwal (4-17-21), and Mason Geertsen (3-17-20) fill out the defensive corps. Geertsen is second on the team to forward Tim Traber (12-11-23) in penalty minutes with 124. Traber has 156 on the season, third most in the WHL.
Payton Lee has been the goalie of choice this year, playing in 41 games so far. Lee has a 3.51 GAA and a .875 save percentage. His save percentage is worst in the league amongst qualified goalies and his goals against average ranks 23rd. Backing him up is Jared Rathjen, who has a 2.98 GAA and a .898 save percentage in 29 games so far.
Photo Courtesy of CJ Relke
What to Watch For
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?
Both Kulak and Thrower rank in the top 10 in points-per-game for defensemen. Can Seattle shutdown the high-scoring defenders?
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