Game 60: Thunderbirds play a solid 60 minutes and blank the Silvertips
By Mike Caccioppoli
(21-37-1-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 3, (16-36-1-8) Everett Silvertips 0
We really focused on what they were going to do in practice, on their system… Brad Deagle
The little things the guys did, they looked like a team that won like 10 games in a row. They went out from start to finish with a game plan and they stuck with it. You could tell by the end of the game that the other team was frustrated. I’m very happy with the guys. It was a good win but 12 more games left and we still have our number of how many games we think we need to win to clinch… Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk
KENT- It wasn’t a playoff game but it was certainly a playoff atmosphere at the ShoWare Center and the Thunderbirds took advantage by playing one of their best games of the season. Behind a 29 save shutout by Calvin Pickard and a two point night from Brad Deagle the Birds shutout the Tips 3-0.
With the win Seattle is three points up on Everett and four points on Prince George the final playoff spot.
Dillon Wagner (5) put the Birds up 1-0 at 14:14. He deflected a shot past Kent Simpson. Brad Deagle and Chance Lund got the assists.
Seattle led 1-0 after 20 minutes and outshot Everett 14-9.
The Birds got their 3rd power play chance of the game late in the second period and cashed in with some hard work in front of the net. Connor Honey scored his 6th goal of the season at 16:58. Seth Swenson and Brendan Rouse got the assists.
Seattle had a 2-0 lead after two periods of play. They also had the 27-15 edge in shots.
Jacob Doty (2) put the Birds up 3-0 at 5:42 of the third period. He scored after Mitch Elliot won a face off in the offensive zone. Colin Jacobs had just been thrown out of the faceoff circle. Brad Deagle and Evan Wardley had the assists.
Seattle goes on to defeat Everett 3-0.
Post game Q & A with Brad Deagle:
MC: You just came off an injury and contributed with two points, how did it feel to be back out there?
BD: It felt great. When you are out there watching you really notice what you can do. You realize you have a lot more time so I really tried to just make plays.
MC: Coming into this game you knew it was a big one and you had a week of practice to prepare, did that help?
BD: Yes. We really focused on what they were going to do in practice, on their system.
MC: Is there a feeling that a win like tonight can help the team in the last few weeks?
BD: For sure. It will be a big confidence builder.
Post game Q and A with Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk:
MC: Big win.
SK: It was a good win. The guys executed for 60 minutes.
MC: It’s that kind of execution for 60 minutes that makes it look like a great effort and you get a better result.
SK: The little things the guys did, they looked like a team that won like 10 games in a row. They went out from start to finish with a game plan and they stuck with it. You could tell by the end of the game that the other team was frustrated. I’m very happy with the guys. It was a good win but 12 more games left and we still have our number of how many games we think we need to win to clinch.
MC: You won a big game. Tomorrow you have to face a team you haven’t had much success against. Can you take this win into tomorrow?
SK: You have to. You can play that same game against top teams and you can win. The guys from start to finish had the discipline to stay with the system. There was no selfish play. You can look at several guys who stepped up their game. A huge team win.
MC: That’s something you can’t say too often this season. That almost everything was done right from clearing pucks out to playing a smart physical game.
SK: Exactly. That’s stuff to build off there. Everybody all in it together.
MC: When you talk about defense coming first and that it will lead to offensive chances that’s what we saw tonight.
SK: It frustrates the other team then they have to start taking chances an they get frustrated.
MC: Talk about Deagle’s game tonight.
SK: He was a big loss for our team because he competes so well. I thought he matched up real nicely with Birkholz who has good strength and speed. He skated really well with him.
MC: We also saw something we haven’t seen often enough which is getting bodies in front and scoring those greasy goals.
SK: You have to be hungry at the net. There are no pretty goals. All three where just getting pucks to the net and hacking and whacking. The power play goal was a big goal, putting them back on their heels a bit.
MC: You had a week of practice and it looks like you had them ready.
SK: It was a rest first of all. Then we had reviews on details. On systems and structure that we were lacking a bit.
MC: You have some decisions to make on D after tonight with Machacek coming back.
SK: Wardley has been really good. He was a big reason why we won tonight. I have a tough decision to make and that’s good. It will be a tough decision tomorrow.
MC: Pickard seemed really prepared tonight. Almost as though he just wasn’t going to allow any pucks past him.
SK: They had some chances and when they did he was right on his game.
MC: Why is Sanvido back on the team?
SK: He wants to come and play. I believe in second chances and he’s learned his lesson and wants to move forward.
MC: No guarantees obviously that he’s going to play?
SK: He’s part of the team now and it’s a game by game decision and he’ll get in when there is the opportunity.
Full 60. Can’t say this often this season but the Birds put in a full 60 minutes. They executed from start to finish.
Wanting it more? They also looked like the team that wanted the win more. Something else that it hasn’t been easy to say this season.
Preparation. Konowalchuk had the team well prepared for a big game. They took advantage of a full week of practice while Everett had two road games in Tri-City.
Defense. Not only did the D men play well but the forwards played solid defense as well. It all helped contain the number of scoring chances the Tips had.
Pickard. When Evt did have those chances Pickard was ready..every time.
Deagle. He doesn’t get much notice because of his role but Deagle showed tonight why he is important to this team. One of the top two D men on the team he contained Birkholz while also getting two assists.
– F Connor Sanvido was a healthy scratch. He returned to the team this past week and he is now wearing number 34.
– D Cason Machacek was serving the final game of a two game suspension.
– F Tyler Alos was out with an upper body injury.
– Calvin Pickard recorded his 5th shutout which ties him for the league lead with Ty Rimmer of the Americans. He has now recorded the last 50 wins in net for the Birds, no other T-Bird goalie has any wins during that same period.
– Seattle improves to 12-18-0-1 at home. They are 4-2-1 vs. Everett (2-1 home, 2-1-1 road).
-Calvin Pickard improves to 21-31-1-1. Kent Simpson falls to 14-28-1-5.
Thunderbirds second half record: 8-20-1
7. Victoria..won tonight..(20 wins..46 points..10 games left)
8. Seattle..won tonight..(21 wins..44 points..12 games left)
9. Everett..lost tonight..(16 wins..41 points..11 games left)
10. Prince George..lost tonight..(19 wins..40 points..11 games left)
710Sports.com three stars:
First star: Brad Deagle (two assists..+ 2 rating)
Second star: Connor Honey (power play goal)
Third star: Calvin Pickard (29 save shutout)
The Thunderbirds play Sunday at 5 pm at the ShoWare Center against the Tri-City Americans. The action can be heard live at 710Sports.com.
Game summary is on the WHL website.