Game 61: A very hot Brendan Shinnimin and some suspect officiating leads to a Thunderbirds loss vs. Ams

Feb 26, 2012, 9:42 PM | Updated: 11:52 pm

By Mike Caccioppoli

(44-15-1-2) Tri-City Americans 5, (21-38-1-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 1


Very emotionally flat. We have to bring emotion against these teams. We were flat, standing in quicksand, deer in headlights. Then we start to take penalties out of frustration. It was a bad night.

A couple looked like pretty blatant dives on videotape that we got penalties for. It definitely brings out the frustration. You have to make the right calls and call the guys that dive…Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk


KENT- The Thunderbirds were the latest victim of a very hot Brendan Shinnimin and some very poor officiating as they give up four power play goals en route to a 5-1 loss to the Americans.

It didn’t help that the Birds came out of the gate very flat after a big win the night before against Everett. The loss combined with Everett’s win over Portland gives the Birds just a one point lead over the Tips for the 8th and final playoff spot.

The Americans were awarded a trio of five on three advantages along with a five minute major advantage. There was also a waived off goal that was a result of a bad call by Referee Jason Nissen. One in a series of many for an official who too often likes to steal the spotlight. Tonight it could have caused some serious injuries and at times the crowd seemed very close to losing their cool.


Tri-City went up 1-0 at 16:17 of the first period whenBrendan Shinnimin notched his 49th goal of the season. The Americans broke in two on one and Shinnimin put a shot past Daniel Cotton.

The Ams took a 2-0 lead at 19:04 on a power play goal by Shinnimin (50).

After one period the Birds were down 2-0 and were being outshot 15-2.

The Ams got a five on three advantage early in the second period and Shinnimin (51) scored to pick up the natural Hat Trick and give his team a 3-0 lead at 1:21.

The Birds continued to get called for penalty after penalty and the Ams got yet another five on three advantage. The Shinnimin show continued as he scored his 4th goal of the game and 52nd of the season at 11:23 and the Ams were up 4-0.

Seattle thought they had scored a goal but it was waived off because Branden Troock was called for Interference much to the dismay of the crowd and the entire Thunderbirds bench. The replay showed an Oscar caliber flop by goalie Ty Rimmer that drew the call.

Late in the period a melee ensued in front of the Ams net with several penalties being called including a five minute major against Troock who went after Rimmer.

The Birds trailed 4-0 and were outshot 27-9 after 40 minutes.

Tri-City scored at the tail end of the five minute major to take a 5-0 lead at 3:08 of the third period. Adam Hughesman scored his 38th goal of the season.

The Birds got on the board at 12:23 to make it a 5-1 game. Luke Lockhart scored his 12th goal of the season. Burke Gallimore and Shea Theodore got the assists.

Seattle drops the game 5-1.


Post game Q & A with Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk:

MC: Not the way you would draw it up after last nights game.

SK: No. Very emotionally flat. We have to bring emotion against these teams. We were flat, standing in quicksand, deer in headlights. Then we start to take penalties out of frustration. It was a bad night.

MC:There were some penalties out of frustration but isn’t it frustrating when the calls are so one-sided?

SK: Well..if you have nothing good to say don’t say it all all. That’s what I’ve been taught.

MC: Well you don’t have to say it but I can. Should the league be surprised when things get out of hand because their officials only call things one way?

SK: They shouldn’t be surprised. A couple looked like pretty blatant dives on videotape that we got penalties for. It definitely brings out the frustration. You have to make the right calls and call the guys that dive.

MC: I think one of the worst calls was the goal by Troock that was called off. Quite the Oscar caliber performance on Oscar night by Rimmer on that one.

SK: If Troock grazed him that’s all he did. He looked as though he got nailed. That was frustrating. We still have to come out with more emotion.

MC: There was some fight in the team after all the bad calls.

SK: The second period we got emotion into the game. We need to bring that in the first period. It was too little too late.

MC: You can tie in the bad calls, the power play goals and Shinnimin leading the way as to why you lost tonight can’t you? Five on five you were pretty even.

SK: Well there wasn’t much five on five the first two periods. Then Shinnimin didn’t play the third period. We showed them too much respect in the first period. That’s where I think the game was lost. If you are afraid to make a mistake, afraid to play with aggression, it’s equivalent of not trying.

MC: You have said that several times after games against Tri and Portland. That they are showing these teams too much respect. What’s it going to take for them to not show respect?

SK: They have to go and.. we will address it and talk about it. We have to play the way we played against Everett and some other teams. We can’t keep doing that. We don’t give ourselves a chance against these teams. We’ll keep trying different things.

MC: Why did Cotton have to start at the last minute?

SK: He (Pickard) is a little bit banged up so we had to give him a rest.

MC: Did that adversely affect the team?

SK: I don’t know. I hope not. I would hope guys would rally even more for Cotton but that didn’t happen. I though he played fine in that first period. But Pickard is obviously a big part of the team as well.

MC: Only two shots in the first period and nine shots after 40 minutes for the team unlike last night where they were getting shots on net.

SK: In the first period we come out flat then we start taking penalties and you don’t have a chance to get any shots as you tax your penalty killers.

MC: Is part of the issue that a team like Tri has so much skill that the guys are just back on their heels from the start?

SK: There are different ways to intimidate. If you want to compare to an NHL team, the Red Wings are intimidating because they can beat you really good if you aren’t ready. Maybe some guys are worried about what can happen against teams like Tri and Portland. If you are too worried about what can happen you are worse off.

MC: Are you worried that the frustration from this game will carry over into Tuesday’s game?

SK: I hope guys come with their emotions. We can’t take penalties, we need to channel it in the right way. Play with emotion from the get go.


Plus side:

Fight. The Birds at least showed that they cared and put up some fight after all the bad calls. Too little too late though.


Minus side:

Officiating. I will definitely hear from the “They didn’t lose because of the officiating” crowd and that might be the truth but it surely didn’t help. We all get on a team for playing a bad 60 minutes and tonight was a bad 60 minutes from refs Jason Nissen and Brett Iverson. If players were hurt or a riot ensued either on or off they ice they would have had to take some responsibility for it. Several flops by Ams players were not called and the eight power plays (including three five on three’s and a five minute major) to zero for the Birds was hardly an accurate representation of what occurred. Here is a case in point of how a bad call can lead to worse things happening on the ice…Troock scores a goal and it’s waived off because Nissen says he interfered with goalie Rimmer. Actually Rimmer was barely touched and it should have been a good goal. Rimmer flopped and wasn’t called for it. So what happens later? Troock in frustration from the bad call goes after the flopper Rimmer and nails him and gets a five minute major. Is Troock to blame? Yes, but so is Nissen for the call. Games get out of hand when refs let too much go or call things too one sided and are not consistent with calls. My experience as someone who has watched and covered many games has been that Nissen is one of the worst refs in the league simply because he too often tries to interject himself into the affair. He wants to be the story. Now he has his wish.

Sleepy start. OK now on to the bad play by the Birds. They came out without much zip against a hot team with one very hot player and the Ams and Shinnimin took advantage. How that could happen after a great game against Everett is a head scratcher. It set the pace for the game.

Inability to beat the good teams. While the Birds were sleep walking through the first period the Silvertips were beating Portland. The inability to steal a game or two from the top teams Seattle plays so much (Portland, Tri, Spokane) could end up being the difference in who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t.

Too many penalties. You see I won’t just blame the officials because the Birds still took too many legit penalties and against a team like the Ams that means trouble especially when your penalty killers aren’t moving their feet.

Back to back wins? Seattle hasn’t won back to games in the first two months of 2012. I will let that speak for itself.


Game Notes:

-Vulgar celebration. At the end of the game the Ams players celebrated by moving their hands up and down on their sticks and pumping them in a fashion representing.. well.. you get it. After that kind of game it seemed as though they were mocking the crowd. I understand they now do that after every win, it’s something called the “Bone Saw.” The league might want to decide whether they want teams celebrating that way at a “family game.” It is a “family game” right Mr. Commish? It also sure looks like a vulgar mocking of a crowd to many people.

G Calvin Pickard was set to start the game but some “soreness” kept him from doing so.

F Tyler Alos remains out with an upper body injury.

– F Connor Sanvido was a healthy scratch as was D Jared Hauf.

Seattle drops to 12-19-0-1 at home. They are 1-8 vs Tri after losing their last eight against them (1-4 home, 0-4 road).

Daniel Cotton falls to 0-7. Ty Rimmer improves to 26-10-0-1.


Thunderbirds second half record: 8-21-1.



7. Victoria.. no game..(20 wins..46 points..10 games left)

8. Seattle..lost tonight..(21 wins..44 points..11 games left)

9. Everett..won tonight..(17 wins..43 points..10 games left)

10. Prince game..(19 wins..40 points..11 games left) three stars:

First star: Brendan Shinnimin (four goals, assist)

Second star: Patrick Holland (four assists)

Third star: Adam Hughesman (goal, assist)


The Thunderbirds play Tuesday night in Kennewick against the Americans. Game time is 7 pm and the action can be heard live at


Game summary is on the WHL website

twitter @mike710espn


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Game 61: A very hot Brendan Shinnimin and some suspect officiating leads to a Thunderbirds loss vs. Ams