The opinions of a Western Hockey League radio broadcaster
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Thumping the T-Birds
Shoot the Breeze Photography
A week ago, the Seattle Thunderbirds ended the Kelowna
Rockets season high 13 game home ice winning streak. It was only fitting seven days later that the Rockets ended the T-Birds 9 game point streak.Carsen Twarynski scored his 28th
and 29th goals of the season Friday night in the Rockets 6-2 win at ShoWare Center.
Outplayed a week ago on home ice, the roles were reversed in the rematch of
Western Conference foes. This time it was the Rockets that took the play to the
T-Birds, striking for four power play goals and snuffing out any momentum by
killing off five penalty killing chances. Leif Mattson with two goals, Jack
Cowell and Colum McGauley also scored in the teams’ 27th win of the
The power play was terrific in the Rockets 9th
win in 10 games. It set the tone with two quick strikes when the visitors were
granted a 5 on 3. Twarynski opening the scoring before Cowell, playing in
his 100th career game, made it 2-0 with another power play goal and
the Rockets took over the game. Owning the third best unit in the league, it
simply outworked the Seattle penalty killing unit to loose pucks.
Two crazy plays stood out in this game. The first came in the second period when a
scrum occurred in front of the Kelowna Rockets bench. With almost everyone
focusing on the pushing and shoving between the two team's, rookie forward Colum McGauley collecting
the puck in the neutral zone, skated on right wing and had a clear lane to the
net. The 17 year-old, who has been a healthy scratch more times than he’s been
in the line-up, went in on a breakaway and easily beat Seattle goaltender Liam
Hughes with a quick shot – blocker side. It was McGauley second career goal and was his first game winner in the WHL.
The other strange play came late in the third period when
the T-Birds pulled their goaltender to make a late charge. Rockets forward Leif
Mattson won a puck inside the Seattle blue-line and fired it at the wide open
goal. T-Birds overage defenceman Austin Strand threw his stick at the puck,
deflecting it wide.The back official
quickly signaled a goal as the puck would have clearly entered the net had the
stick not been thrown by the T-Bird defender.
Held pointless, I thought Nolan Foote had a real good game.
The second year forwards battle level was excellent and he appeared to be
physically engaged in the game. It looked like a carryover from his
performance Wednesday night against the Spokane Chiefs where he hit the goal
post three times. It may sound strange to suggest a pointless player played
above average, but that’s how I saw it.
Cal Foote was named the first star for a second straight
game. After picking up a goal in his first game back from the World Junior
Hockey Championships, the 19 year-old had three assists in the victory.
Kole Lind extended
his point streak to 11 games with an assist.
The win moved the Rockets three point up on the idle Vancouver Giants in the fight for first place in the BC Division heading into tonight's tilt between the two teams here in Langley. The Rockets are 2-1-0-0 in the seasonal series with a win and a loss at the LEC.
There has been much excitement in the Seattle/Kent area over talk of the NHL granting an expansion franchise to begin play in 2020-2001. You would figure some of the current employees with the T-Birds would be ideal candidates to fill some of the positions should the NHL become a reality in Washington State.