Game 47: Lack of defense dooms Thunderbirds against Winterhawks

Jan 28, 2012, 10:03 PM | Updated: Jan 29, 2012, 1:44 am

By Mike Caccioppoli

(33-14-2-1) Portland Winterhawks 8, (18-27-1-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 3

 

It felt good (getting my first goal). Even after that I kept building and building. I had some breakaways out there and I really like my line right now…. It would be nice to see more goals I mean just one in 20 games but you know it’s going to keep on coming I can’t let it get to me….Connor Honey

 

Individual mistakes. There were some huge mistakes execution wise. You can’t make mistakes against that kind of team. When we made a mistake we made it worse by letting it develop into a good scoring chance…..We came out bad and got behind 3-0. I don’t know the last time we had 50 plus shots. The last few games against Portland and Tri we were really hanging our heads, like we didn’t belong. We didn’t play that way this time. I’m going to take that as a positive…. Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk

 

KENT- The Winterhawks put a real damper on the night where Calvin Pickard was honored for becoming the WHL all time saves leader as some shoddy Seattle defense allowed Portland to score eight goals. Six came against Pickard who was pulled about halfway through the game.

 

Portland broke in two on one and Cam Reid (3) beat Calvin Pickard to put the Winterhawks up 1-0 at 4:07 of the first period.

The Hawks went up 2-0 at 8:07. Brendan Leipsic scored his 16th goal of the season, a slap shot from out in front of Pickard. It was a power play goal.

After Connor Sanvido missed a great scoring chance from point blank range the Hawks took it the other way and cashed in to go up 3-0. Chase De Leo scored his 9th goal of the season at 13:05.

At the radio timeout Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk was quite vocal and demonstrative as he gave his players direction.

Connor Honey got the Birds on the board at 13:40 when he beat Mac Carruth to make it a 3-1 game. It was his first WHL goal. Assists went to Brenden Rouse and Branden Troock.

Oliver Gabriel (7) put Portland up 4-1 at 16:28 as they connected on another odd man rush.

Troock (9) lined up a shot and blasted one past Carruth at 19:22 to cut Portland’s lead to 4-2. It was a four on four goal. The assists went to Shea Theodore and Luke Lockhart.

Seattle was down 4-2 after 20 minutes and the two teams combined for 37 shots with Portland having the 20-17 edge.

Back to back four on four goals for Portland would give them a 6-2 lead. Sven Bartschi (14) scored unassisted at 6:23 and 24 seconds later Taylor Leier (9) scored.

Both goals came after a brutal call by the officiating team of Trevor Hanson and Colby Smith. Colin Jacobs was heading to the net on a breakaway when he was hooked down and instead of awarding him a penalty shot or the Birds a power play it was decided that Jacobs embellished the penalty and both he and William Wrenn were given two minutes.

Calvin Pickard was pulled and Daniel Cotton took over in net.

Seattle was down 6-2 after two periods. They led 37-33 in shots.

Chance Lund scored his 13th goal of the season to make it a 6-3 game at 1:06 of the third period. Justin Hickman got the assist.

Bartschi scored his second goal of the game and 15th of the season at 7:01 to put Portland up 7-3.

The Hawks would take an 8-3 lead at 16:06 when Leipsic scored his second of the game and 17th of the season. It was a power play goal.

Seattle goes on to lose 8-3.

 

Quotes of the game:

Connor Honey on getting his first WHL goal…

It felt good. Even after that I kept building and building. I had some breakaways out there and I really like my line right now.

On being in the play and going hard to the net…

That’s my game. It would be nice to see more goals I mean just one in 20 games but you know it’s going to keep on coming I can’t let it get to me.

On the team starting to generate some shots and now needing to find the back of the net…

Most of all we are healthy and we’re trying to build four lines right now. With all of the shots in the last couple of games we are going to start scoring some goals.We just need to get the puck deep and it’s going to lead to success.

On the team needing to play better defensively…

We have to get the puck deep when they have guys like Bartschi that can hurt you. You can’t blame the goaltending. We need to tighten up defensively.

Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk on the bad defensive mistakes…

Individual mistakes. There were some huge mistakes execution wise. You can’t make mistakes against that kind of team. When we made a mistake we made it worse by letting it develop into a good scoring chance.

On seeing some positives even though his team lost 8-3…

We came out bad and got behind 3-0. I don’t know the last time we had 50 plus shots. The last few games against Portland and Tri we were really hanging our heads, like we didn’t belong. We didn’t play that way this time. I’m going to take that as a positive.

On if Pickard was showing frustration because of the way the team was playing in front of him or if it was aimed at himself…

I’m sure it’s a combination of both. He’s a tough critic of himself as well. They were quality scoring chances, it’s not about blaming Calvin.

On the Birds coming out strong in the second period only to give up two quick goals…

That’s frustrating because we were going strong then two quick goals against us. It was that kind of game but the guys didn’t quit.

On the embellishment call against Jacobs…

They said they saw that clearly and he embellished. I guess I will take their word for it. I’ve never seen that.. I mean he wants to get a shot off there on a breakaway. Some of the other calls I was confused on like when Wagner got cross checked in the head and we come out short. Then the opposite didn’t happen at the end there with Gallimore.

On Honey’s first goal…

Honey had a really good game. His consistency hasn’t been there but he’s been building slowly. He was effective both ends of the ice.

On the daunting task of having so many games left against Portland, Tri City and Spokane…

It’s hard to win. Everybody is fighting for points now. We have to beat Portland and Tri sometimes. We can’t just sit back and wait for the so called even teams in the standings. They are going to battle too.

On if the team still has confidence it will make the playoffs after losing 11 of their last 13 games…

I don’t look that far back. I look at the last five games or so. There is a lot more to be positive about recently. All of the other crap doesn’t matter. We’ve been in games lately and we’re going to win our share of games.

On generating more scoring chances the last couple of games…

We’re trying all four lines and they are generating some chances. We have been getting shots lately and we need to keep that going while cleaning up our mistakes.

On the team missing Rouse while he was out…

He’s a smart player. He is a quiet leader in that room. He’s a big reason why Troock and Honey are playing well. They have respect for him.

On having to play a third game in as many days on Sunday while Kelowna had the night off..

We played everybody. We rolled four lines. We should be good to go tomorrow.

 

Plus side:

Shots. The Birds get 54 shots against a team they usually get 20-30 shots against. Some good scoring chances as well.

Honey and the bears. With the Birds being shutout the last two games against Portland it was a relief to see Honey score a goal and get the bears flying on teddy bear toss night. Oh yeah.. it was also his first WHL goal and he played arguably his best game so far.

 

Minus side:

Shots. If I told you the Birds would get 54 shots against Portland you would think that I was crazy but you would also think they would win the game. Well they didn’t come close because they also gave up 47 shots and way too many quality scoring chances.

Defensive blunders. The Birds played poorly to say the least in their own end for long stretches of the game. There is no way they can beat Portland at their own run and gun game, it just won’t happen. There were more odd man rushes than I could count and with the snipers the Hawks have those will find the back of the net more often than not.

Finish! All of those shots don’t matter if you can’t score. The Birds have a habit of making mediocre goalies look better than they are because they have trouble finishing.

No contest. The rivalry between Seattle and Portland has been very one sided as of late. The Birds have been outscored 21-4 in the last four games between the two teams.

Officiating. The Birds lost by five goals and the officials weren’t the reason they lost but many of the calls were mind boggling. The worst because of the timing and implications was the “Embellishment” call on Jacobs. It was a 4-2 game and Jacobs was hooked down on a breakaway chance. If he gets a shot off it could be 4-3 OR if the right call is made and it’s a penalty shot or at least a power play the Birds have a chance to make it a 4-3 game. Instead he goes to the box and it’s a four on four game (advantage Portland) and they score two goals to make it 6-2. How the league can give even more responsibility to these officials and tell them they have the right to decide a players intentions when they fall to the ice because of a hook or a slash or a what have you is imbecilic. If there were no penalty the player wouldn’t fall down. Go back to the way it used to be called.. if there is a phantom dive with no penalty then call diving. If there is a legit penalty call that and nothing else. The last thing these refs need is more responsibility.

 

Game Notes:

– F Jacob Doty, F Mitch Elliot and D Jared Hauf were all healthy scratches.

– Before the game Calvin Pickard was given a plaque for breaking the WHL all time record for saves. He was given the plaque by the former record holder and T-Bird goalie Danny Lorenz.

– Seattle falls to 10-12-0-1 at home. They are 1-6 against Portland. (1-3 home, 0-3 road).

Calvin Pickard drops to 18-22-1-1. Mac Carruth improves to 30-12-1.

 

Thunderbirds second half record: 5-10-1.

 

710Sports.com three stars:

First star: Sven Bartschi (two goals and an assist)

Second star: Marcel Noebels (three assists)

Third star: Connor Honey (goal and a +1 rating)

 

The Thunderbirds play Sunday at 5 pm against the Kelowna Rockets at the ShoWare Center. The action can be heard live at 710Sports.com.

Game summary is on the WHL website.

 

twitter @mike710espn

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