Thunderbirds face uphill battle as series moves to Everett
Apr 13, 2016, 2:13 PM
With their second-round series even at one, Seattle and Everett now see a best-of-five matchup in which the Silvertips will have home-ice advantage starting tonight. Games 3 and 4 will be played at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Game 5 at the ShoWare Center, and if necessary, Game 6 will go back to Everett with a potential series-clinching Game 7 in Seattle.
Both Seattle and Everett have fared far better this season at home than on the road. Seattle’s home win percentage was the best in the WHL at .833. The T-Birds compiled an outstanding record at the ShoWare Center, going 29-5-2-0.
Their road success, however, has been far more limited with a 16-18-2-0 record away from home and a .472 win percentage, which tied for second-worst among Western Conference playoff teams.
Likewise, Everett has been a more successful team in its own barn, though the polarity between home and away records is not as great as Seattle’s. The Silvertips compiled a 20-10-4-2 record at home and an 18-16-1-1 record on the road. Against Seattle, Everett won four of its five games at home, and the Silvertips’ only loss was in a shootout during Seattle’s incredible hot streak at the end of the season.
That means Seattle is just 1-4-0-0 while playing in Everett, though only one of those games was decided by more than one goal. The two teams have played an incredibly tight series all season long, so no different should be expected here in the postseason.
Ultimately it means that by losing Game 1, the T-Birds surrendered the home-ice advantage that they worked so hard at the end of the season to obtain. However, the way they rebounded in Game 2 as a team that hadn’t experienced a regulation loss in exactly two months was impressive. The T-Birds came out and played a more disciplined game, peppering Everett goaltender Carter Hart with 32 shots. Both of Seattle’s goals were pucks that were seemingly blindly thrown towards the goal, finding their way through traffic and into the back of the net. It’s a strategy that the T-Birds will need to continue to employ, as finding a lot of space against this Silvertips defense is not easy.
By no means is the series decided, but in losing Game 1, the T-Birds did make their road to the conference finals quite a bit tougher. Fortunately, their commute from the ShoWare Center to Xfinity Arena is only about an hour, so travel time won’t be much of a factor. And if the Seattle fan base can replicate the effort put forth by the Everett faithful at the ShoWare Center, perhaps part of Everett’s home-ice advantage can be taken away.