Thunderbirds Three Stars of the Week
Luke Lockhart takes our top spot again this week (Photo WHL.ca)
By Andrew Eide
After playing the always tough Edmonton Oil Kings last week the T-Birds faced three more tough games this past week that included a ton of travel. They first headed north to Kelowna for the first of a three-in-three that included a home and home with the Tri City Americans. While Seattle only managed two points out of the weekend they still find themselves tied for seventh place in the Western Conference and in good position to still make the playoffs.
While it may have seemed like a downer weekend the T-Birds were competitive in all three games this weekend and could have easily won them all. The one win they had, in Tri City on Friday, was a gritty, well earned 3-1 victory. So who were the best three T-Birds this week?
First Star: Luke Lockhart
Lockhart becomes our first two time first star winner and it’s well deserved as the captain is playing perhaps his best hockey of the season down the stretch. In the four games last week he scored four goals, added an assist, and was key in killing penalties and winning face offs. In the big road win in Kennewick he won several key face offs down the stretch to help preserve what was a one goal lead at the time. He was rewarded with an empty net goal and now is one goal behind Roberts Lipsbergs from taking over the team lead in goals scored with 22.
With two huge games this weekend the T-Birds will need their captain to continue to set the tone for the rest of the team.
Second Star: Connor Sanvido
Sanvido did not score any goals this past weekend, but he did pick up two assists and was plus one. We try to look past just the goals scored here for the stars and Sanvido played big in other areas of the ice this past weekend. He has turned into an extremely effective penalty killer, which was never more evident than the big win Friday. He was in the passing lanes, picking up the puck and clearing it all night long. At one key point in the game Tri City had cut the Seattle lead to one and was on a power play with a chance to tie and take over the game. Sanvido effectively stole the puck, carried it up ice and forced an Americans player to drag him down for a penalty.
Third Star: Seth Swenson
Swenson picked up two goals over the weekend including a nasty, dirty and gritty goal on Friday in Kennewick. It was the game’s first goal and help set the tone for how the T-Birds were going to play. With the puck loose in the crease Swenson took several swings at it before finally getting it under Tri City goalie Troy Trombley. Like Sanvido, Swenson has turned into a good penalty killer and head coach Steve Konowalchuk seems confident in throwing him out on big kills.
Honorable Mention: Griffin Foulk, Alex Delnov, Roberts Lipsbergs, Jerret Smith. The four of these guys, along with Lockhart, were trapped on the ice for a good two minutes at the end of the Tri City game. Facing an extra attacker and trying to preserve a one-goal lead the five players were able to keep the puck out of the net despite being trapped on the ice after a couple of icing calls.