Game 31: Thunderbirds implode in third period and lose to the Ams
By Mike Caccioppoli
(27-7) Tri-City Americans 5, (13-17-0-1) Seattle Thunderbirds 3
“It was lazy we didn’t backcheck. You can’t do that against that team, against any team. You can’t give up three on two chances cause you don’t backcheck….Guys got selfish and lazy.. they know who they are.”.. Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk
KENT- On the last day of the nominal first half of the season the Thunderbirds blow a 3-0 third period lead as they give up five straight goals and drop a 5-3 decision to the Americans.
Luke Lockhart (7) put the Birds up 1-0 at 4:25 of the first period when he chipped one past Ty Rimmer. Tyler Alos got the assist.
After killing off a penalty the Birds went up 2-0. Sean Aschim scored his ninth goal of the season at 7:24. Branden Troock and Braeden Laroque got the assists.
Seattle led 2-0 after 20 minutes with the Ams having the advantage in shots 12-9.
Colin Jacobs (2) put the Birds up 3-0 at 15:19. Burke Gallimore got around Zachary Yuen and made a perfect pass to Jacobs who slapped it past Rimmer. Brad Deagle also got an assist.
The Birds took a 3-0 lead into the third period. The Ams led 25-15 in shots.
A 3-0 Birds lead quickly evaporated into a 4-3 deficit as the Ams scored four goals in less than six minutes to start the third period. Justin Feser (16, 17) and Patrick Holland (12, 13) had two each.
Tri-City went up 5-3 with 1:58 left. Mason Wilgosh scored his sixth goal of the season.
The Birds lose 5-3 as they blow a 3-0 third period lead.
Quotes of the game:
Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk on the third period disaster..
“It was lazy we didn’t backcheck. You can’t do that against that team, against any team. You can’t give up three on two chances cause you don’t backcheck.”
On why they stopped backchecking…
“Lots of different reasons. I wish I knew.”
On the way this game really showed how inconsistent the team has been…
“That’s a problem. The Vancouver game we took it one shift at a time, minute by minute. Tonight we just sat down in the third, didn’t work hard. It’s inexcusable.”
On what might have been said after the game…
“They know what happened, they know exactly what happened.”
On if the team has a “here we go again” approach when Tri scores a goal…
“I sense it a little bit which doesn’t explain why after they get one we stop backchecking. Usually ‘here we go again’ means you buckle down and start backchecking. Guys got selfish and lazy.. they know who they are.”
On the need to work on special teams in the second half..
“For sure. Its got to be way better. Your top players play on special teams and they have to get the job done.”
On the older players not showing up every night…
“Everybody has to be more consistent. You put more pressure on your older guys. Younger players are going to make mistakes.”
On whether those older players might negatively influence the younger guys..
“That’s part of what we have to change here. It’s my job to hold guys accountable. There might be a couple accountable guys next game.”
On the players that are giving it 100 percent every night..
“We’re having some guys step up as leaders in that room. We’re going to make the playoffs. We’re a good hockey team, just not a consistent hockey team. We have to get (more consistent).
On what he can do better in the second half…
“I could coach our special teams better. I could get our guys to back check. I could get our guys in better shape. I could do a lot of things better. I’m accountable for everything in that happens in that locker room. Right now we aren’t even a .500 club so I gotta be a lot better.”
On if he is learning things as the season wears on..
“Oh sure. There are things I try and things I think about. In this game you are always learning.”
-First 40 minutes. The Birds come out ready to play and take a 3-0 lead on the best team in the league.
–PK does the job. After allowing three power play goals the night before the Birds kill off all four tonight.
-Last 20 minutes. Probably the worst period of the season when you consider the Birds had a 3-0 lead at home going into the period. All five Ams goals were five on five so you can’t blame special teams.
-Powerless play once again. The Birds look totally disorganized on the four power play chances they have. Too often they are dumping the puck in when they is little or no chance to play it.
-Heading home for holidays early. Did the Birds think they had the game won against the best team in the league? A team that was on a seven game winning streak. Some players decided to start the holidays 20 minutes earlier than everyone else.
-No heart. Where was the heart after Tri tied the game? You are still tied 3-3 at home but the Birds looked like they were down 7-3.
–Dogging it. Some of the veteran players are simply dogging it too much. They either don’t show up for an entire game or like tonight for the last 20 minutes. This team isn’t talented enough to take periods off and expect good results.
– Before the game the Birds honored goal replay judge Scott Lowe who is suffering from ALS. Classy move by the team as all of the players gathered at center ice for a photo with him.
-F Connor Sanvido was back in the lineup.
–D Evan Wardley was a scratch.
–D Dave Sutter was at team Switzerland’s World Juniors camp.
– The Birds finish the nominal first half of the season at 13-17-0-1 (8-8-0-1 home, 5-9 road).
– Calvin Pickard drops to 13-14-0-1. Ty Rimmer improves to 15-4.
710Sports.com three stars:
First star: Justin Feser (two goals and an two assists)
Second star: Patrick Holland (two goals and an assist)
Third star: Colin Jacobs (goal)
The Thunderbirds next game is on Tuesday the 27th when they start the nominal second half of the season against the Everett Silvertips at the ShoWare Center. Game time is 7:05 pm and the action can be heard live at 710Sports.com.
Game Summary is on the WHL website.
Stay tuned over the coming week for my mid-season report card as well as a “Hot Stove” post where I give my opinions on what moves the Birds need to make between now and the trading deadline on January 10th.