T-birds


Ouch. Let us speak of this wretched game no more.

Instead let us hope that Spokane wins its final 2 games of the season so that Seattle can face Kelowna in the first round of the playoffs and my epic crush on that team can be catered to. God my life is so small sometimes :-)

Saturday we finally got down to Kent to see the Thunderbirds play in their new arena. It was such an improvement on the Key Arena setup for hockey: the arena was actually tailored to the dimensions of the rink, it was an appropriate size (~6500 seats) for junior hockey so the place didn’t seem deserted, etc. Unfortunately, the concession stands don’t bold a candle to those in Kamloops! I mean, in Kamloops they had samosas! Someday Kent may be as cosmopolitan as Kamloops, I guess, but it will take time ;-)

There was a good sized and very enthusiastic crowd and an exciting and well-played game. Despite being outplayed except at goalie, the Thunderbirds won in overtime. I really enjoy Kelowna. They’ve got the Bloodoff brothers, which: awesome. They’ve got cool uniforms. Their team name =/= their mascot. They’ve got a 6’7″ monster defenseman. And this game I learned they’ve got a goalie who puts on a stretching clinic at nearly every substantial stoppage of play.

We sat in one of the end zones. Photo of the ice after the jump.

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tbirds Well, the T-birds don’t seem to be off to a stellar start this season, and Saturday’s game might have showed us why. Sure, they’ve lost a fistful of good players to being over 20 years old. But they could hardly ever gain possession of the puck, couldn’t maintain possession (Kelowna did look strong defensively at center ice), and lacked speed.

Thomas Hickey was back, having failed to make the cut in Los Angeles. So we were happy to see him because he’s pretty much the only capable passer out there.

Funny thing was, we saw Kelowna play the T-birds four times last season (including 3 playoff games), so I recognized a lot of their players too. Like, “oh, yeah, the Bloodoff brothers! Awesome!” and “oh, yeah, there’s that super-tall defenseman!” And by that, I mean 6″ 7′. Yes, I checked. Shut up.

With so few games being played at the Key this season, we’re not sure how many we’ll get to see. They’re home this Saturday, but we’re going out of town.

The Thunderbirds just released their tentative season schedule. A while back I was encouraged to learn that their new arena in Kent wouldn’t be ready until January, so we’d get a few months of home games at Key Arena before their move.

Unfortunately, they’re optimizing the first half of their season for road games, playing 26 of their first 34 games away :-( The only autumn home dates appear to be:

  • Saturday, October 4 vs. Spokane
  • Saturday, October 18 vs. Kelowna — I might be out of town for fantasy hockey draft… now I’m REALLY hoping we host it in Seattle this year!
  • Saturday, October 25 vs. Everett — I might be out of town for a family event
  • Tuesday, November 4 vs. Edmonton
  • Friday, November 7 vs. Red Deer
  • Saturday, November 22 vs. Portland
  • Friday, November 28 vs. Kootenay — I’ll probably be out of town for Thanksgiving on the east coast
  • Sunday, December 7 vs. Calgary

They also booked Key Arena for games on December 27, 29 and 30, but are optimistic that they’ll be in Kent for those. Waaah. I’m losing my Thunderbirds.

tbirds Well, the T-birds’ season ended on Friday in Tri-cities as I feared. I mentioned that I’ve been in denial about their move 25 miles south to Kent. Well, it turns out there is a small speck of good news:

The T-Birds will leave Key- Arena, their home since the 1989-90 season, in favor of the more hockey-friendly Kent Events Center during the 2008-09 season. The arena is scheduled to open in January 2009, so the team expects to play some games at KeyArena while construction on the 6,025-seat Kent arena is completed.

I’ll take it!

tbirdsRats. This game was a lot like game 3: the T-birds scored first, then the Americans scored two goals, then the T-birds tied it up. They worked hard, and took more shots than in game 3. Still, the Americans are impressively strong on defense. Very frustrating.

Unfortunately, the T-birds were penalized near the end of the third period, so Tri-cities had a power play in OT. They scored the winning goal just 45 seconds into the overtime period.  

I hope this isn’t the last game we’ll ever see at the Key. If they lose game 5 Friday, the season’s over. I’ve been in denial a bit about the T-birds moving to Kent next year.

p.s. Scott Jackson: UR DOIN IT WRONG.

p.p.s. Wendy posted her impressions of Tuesday’s game, complete with photos. Cool!

tbirds After splitting the first two games away (T-birds won 7-1 in game 1, but were shut out 4-0 in game 2), the series moved back to Seattle. Last night, the T-birds scored first on a very nice goal by Jim O’Brien, but the game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period.

The game was pretty good, but the Tri-City Americans definitely outworked us with tighter forechecking,winning the battles for loose pucks, and taking many more shots on goal. After having an amazing 30% conversion on their power play in the first round, the Birds failed to make use of any man-advantage situations last night while giving up two power play goals themselves. And losing Hickey to a concussion in game 1 is bad news indeed. Hopefully tonight’s game will be more successful.

The disappointing outcome was made more tolerable by the presence of Wendy, however!

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