Seth Swenson had a good weekend and is off to a solid start for Seattle (photo Seattle Thunderbirds)
By Andrew Eide
It was another busy weekend for the Seattle Thunderbirds filled with a lot of noteworthy items. News broke late last week that the team made a block buster move to bring in Jaimen Yakubowski and Sam McKechnie from Lethbridge – a move which will make them one of the more deeper teams in the league.
We also saw the debut of Ryan Gropp and the team won a game and lost one in a shoot out.
Who was good this weekend? Here are our three stars of the week.
Third Star – Ryan Gropp
There had been a lot of anticipation to see Ryan Gropp in a Seattle uniform and last Friday night we finally got a look at him. He didn’t disappoint. On his first shift in his first game he found the back of the net to beat Eric Comrie. He had a pretty solid game in Tri City and probably should have an assist if not for Brandon Troock missing a wide open net. He also made a strong drive to the net in the third period and forced a hooking penalty. Steve Konowlahcuk also showed that he had trust in the young rookie as he selected him to take the last shoot out attempt.
Second Star – Keegan Kolesar
The first WHL goal party continued on Saturday night as Kolesar lit the red light for the first time with a power play goal early in the game against Vancouver. He added an assist later in the game and continues his strong play in his rookie season. Along with his two points against the Giants he also had a strong game Friday night against Tri City. As he continues to grow and get stronger he will be a force on the ice. The future looks bright for the big power forward and he may have just turned in his best weekend of the season and gets our second star.
First Star – Seth Swenson
Swenson is one of Seattle’s three 20-year-olds this year and a lot is expected of him. So far he has not dissapointed. In many ways he is a jack of all trades, doing what ever is needed of him by the club. He is the team’s top penalty killer and can play on the shut down line or play on a scoring line — something he’s done both of this year. This weekend he chipped in with three goals in the two weekend games. His first goal against Vancouver on Saturday was an example of the nice hands the big Colorado native possesses as he weaved his way through the defense and fired a wrist shot. He cinched the game away with an empty net goal and it should be no surprise that Swenson was on the ice at the most important part of the game.
So far this year Swenson has seven goals and is a plus-3 which is key since he is often matched up with the other team’s top offensive lines. For his three goal weekend Swenson gets our first star of the week.
This week’s honorable mention goes to a guy who only played in one game. The fact that Jaimen Yakubowski was in the lineup was noteworthy as he didn’t arrive in Kent until after 4 PM for a seven o’clock game. After a quick skate with assistant coach Tyler Alos Yakubowski was ready to go. Playing for a new team, with unfamiliar teammates he played hard, with energy and was engaged from the start. While he didn’t score he did get in a fight and was a factor all night.
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