T-Birds wrap up camp with exciting Blue-White game
By Andrew Eide
After a week of scrimmages and practices the Thunderbirds donned game jerseys and played an actual game against each other Monday night at the ShoWare Center. They went from three squads to just two-Team Blue and Team White and the two teams put on quite a show playing an entertaining game that ended in a 3-2 Blue Overtime Victory.
The game was mere seconds from going to a shoot out when Blue center Justin Hickman found Branden Troock in front of the net with 3.2 seconds left on the clock. Troock took the pass and buried it behind goalie Danny Mumuagh and the Blue Team jumped on the ice to celebrate.
After playing a scoreless first period the Blue Team got on the board first when defensemen Austin Douglas flung a wrister towards the White net and a screened Daniel Cotton. Cotton never had a chance and the puck found the net and gave Blue a 1-0 lead. Douglas has had a strong camp and that goal was just another example of his fine play this week.
The White top line of Mathew Barzal, Riley Sheen and Connor Honey tied it up shortly after that with a nifty pass from Sheen to Barzal. Barzal’s line threatened to score all night as they controlled the play and spent most of their time in the Blue zone.
Chance Lund nearly put Blue up at the end of the second only to be stoned on a break away by Justin Myles.
One of the stars of camp has been Bonney Lake’s Dylan Gambrell and he put White up in the third with a brilliant forecheck that resulted in him stealing the puck and then dekeing his Colorado Thunderbird teammate Danny Mumaugh. The goal was unassisted and Gambrell is beginning to make Seattle fans drool with his outstanding play.
Not long after the Gambrell masterpiece the Barzal line was back at it, this time Connor Honey cashed in and tied the game at two. The teams went back and forth after that but neither Nolan Kruizenga or Danny Mumaugh wielded.
In Overtime Luke Lockhart nearly won it twice but Kruizenga would not allow it. He first snatched a Lockhart shot with a quick glove hand and then seconds later he kicked his left leg out just in time to stop Lockhart from scoring at the side of the net.
That allowed Hickman and Troock to work their magic just before the overtime ended.
Here are some notable items from the game:
Dylan Gambrell: In many ways Gambrell stole the show this week. While all the attention coming in was over Barzal Gambrell was just as good. He plays every inch of the ice and was the team’s best forechecker. He almost always disrupted the break outs, once leading to a goal and other times he seemed to fluster the T-Birds most seasoned defensemen.
Riley Sheen: Sheen may be one of the other nice surprises in camp. The T-Birds picked Sheen up from Medicine Hat for Jacob Doty and you have to wonder why the Tigers were willing to part with a young player that has the offensive upside that Sheen has shown. Playing with Barzal and Honey most of camp Sheen was strong on the puck, lightning quick and their line often would spen their entire shift in the offensive zone.
Goalies: Brandon Glover is the number one goalie and played well during camp. The competition for his back up spot continues to be up in the air. Mumaugh, Myles, Kruizenga and Cotton have all had strong camps and to pick a leader now would be nothing more than a guess.
Power Play: The T-Birds struggled last season with the man advantage and the power plays we saw Monday night did little to excite anyone. In the team’s defense, this was the first scrimmage that they even played up a man and it’s doubtful that they have spent any real time working on it yet. They also appeared to roll out the normal lines during the power play and did not put together a power play ‘unit’. With players like Sheen and a stronger and confident Seth Swenson the team should see some improvement on special teams.
The T-Birds will next be in action Friday, August 31st, against the Portland Winterhawks in Everett as part of the Silvertips preseason tournament. The game starts at 3 p.m.