T-Birds end training camp with annual Blue-White game
After four days of scrimmages and practices, the T-Birds played a full game Monday afternoon. The annual Blue-White game ended with a 4-2 win for Blue behind four different goal scorers. Captain Justin Hickman potted two goals for the White squad.
With training camp finished, the T-Birds will now prepare for the start of the exhibition season on Friday in Everett.
Here are the notable items from Monday’s game:
It stands to reason that Justin Hickman, Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp will be Seattle’s top line this season and Monday showed that they might be in for a big year. The three of them were dangerous each time they were on the ice and controlled play all night long.
Hickman was the beneficiary Monday night as he scored twice, but the line created several other opportunities. Barzal is turning into an elite play-maker who sees the ice and seems to always find either Hickman or Gropp in good scoring areas. How many goals will that result in for the two of them? Only time will tell.
Schuldhuas continues to make case
Brandon Schuldhaus, a 16-year-old, continues to have an outstanding camp for Seattle. Monday he scored a goal when he fired a wrist shot from the high slot and later broke up a two-on-one between Gropp and Barzal. Despite his fine play, it’s still not certain if he will make the squad.
WHL teams have to play 16-year-olds in at least 40 games during the season and if Schuldhaus is the seventh defenseman in Seattle’s rotation, that might be hard to guarantee. This is a testament to the depth of the T-Birds’ blue line. Schuldhaus looks like a player, though, so keep his name in mind moving forward.
Rookie line emerging
Nolan Volcan and Kaden Elder played together all weekend and were paired up again on Monday. Fellow rookie Donovan Neuls joined them. That line could potentially be Seattle’s fourth line this year and they have a ton of potential. While they are young, they are loaded with speed. That could end up causing matchup problems if other teams throw out a plodding, bigger line against them.
Hustle play of the night
Late in the game, the White team was given a rare power play. At the time it was trailing by a goal with a chance to try and tie it up. Adam Henry was on the point and broke his stick on an attempted slap shot. He quickly skated to the bench to get a new one but had to race back into his own end, where Blue had a short-handed chance.
Henry dove onto the ice and broke up the play, coming all the way from the bench. It was great hustle in a game that was ultimately meaningless.
Painful play of the night
WHL linesman Zach Brooks helped out on Monday by skating as the referee. He got knocked over at one point in the game, but early in the first he suffered the painful play of the night. A dump in from the Blue team went wrong and instead of slamming off the boards, it hit Brooks square in the gut. Brooks took it like a trooper and skated if off. Who says that it’s just the hockey players are tough?
Goalie situation still uncertain
The T-Birds have three goalies vying for two slots on the roster. All three were in action on Monday but nobody seemed to separate themselves, or cost themselves. Taran Kozun and Danny Mumaugh got the starts for their respected squads, and each gave up a goal. Logan Flodell played the third period for the White team and also gave up one goal.
This is a battle that will continue into the exhibition season.
Troock in the house
Former T-Birds standout Brandon Troock was in attendance Monday night. He has been working out with the team as he prepares for training camp with the NHL’s Dallas Stars.