Game day: vs Everett 9/20

First home game of the 2014-15 season for the Seattle Thunderbirds, a season with a high level of potential and even higher expectations from the fans. Everett comes to the ShoWare Center ready to get going after sitting out opening night. The last time these two teams saw each other in a game that counted, the TBirds ran the Silvertips out of the building and out of the playoffs. Some notes for tonight’s game:

Everett Silvertips at Seattle Thunderbirds
9/20/14 705pm
ShoWare Center
Radio: Fox Sports 1380AM (Everett) The Fan 1090AM (Seattle)

Last game
Seattle scored the last 4 goals of the game in a 4-1 victory in Portland over the Winterhawks. The TBirds had lost their last 11 in Portland so a huge win and a great way to start the season with a little confidence. Critics would point out the lack of scoring on the Winterhawks side but Seattle still had to create and run their gameplan. Players at NHL camp or not, the performance by Seattle last night showed they were ready to play.

Many here, Lotz still gone
Like last night, the TBirds are facing a team without their #1 goalie due to NHL training camp. G Austin Lotz is in camp with the Vancouver Canucks and will not be available for tonight’s game. Everett will go with either G Nik Amundrud or G Carter Hart. Seattle faced both of those goalies in the preseason, getting a couple goals on Hart in 2 games while being shutout by Amundrud over 65 minutes over 2 games.

D Ben Betker will also be missing for the Tips as he is with the Edmonton Oilers for their training camp.

Seattle still has D Evan Wardley at Montreal Canadiens training camp and will be missing F Justin Hickman (injury, week to week) and possibly F Calvin Spencer (illness, day to day). D Shea Theodore was at Anaheim training camp but suffered an elbow injury and will miss the next 4-6 weeks.

Do it again
Seattle will have 3 players bringing in 2-game regular season scoring streaks into tonight’s game: F Mathew Barzal, F Ryan Gropp and F Keegan Kolesar. Each had 1 assist in the season finale vs Tri-City last year. Last night, all 3 had 2 points each: Barzal with 2 assists, Gropp with 2 goals and Kolesar with an assist and a goal.

Including the preseason, D Adam Henry has an assist in each of the last 3 games.

Sho me the history
Seattle won all 3 home games vs Everett in last year’s playoffs. However, the Tips had a winning record at ShoWare during the regular season, winning 3 games including the last 2.

Since 1989, the Thunderbirds have a 17-5-3(ties) record in home openers. At the ShoWare Center, Seattle is 3-2 in home openers, winning in 2009, 2010 and 2013. (They also won the first game at ShoWare Center in 2009 but that was an arena opener, not a season home opener.)

Against Everett, Seattle is 2-0-1(tie) in home openers. The TBirds won 4-3 in 2009, 3-1 in 2007 and the teams skated to a 1-1 tie in 2003.

Stat leaders

F Ryan Gropp 2 0 2
F Keegan Kolesar 1 1 2
F Mathew Barzal 0 2 2

F Ryan Gropp 2

F Mathew Barzal 2

F Kaden Elder 15

Around the division
Seattle and Portland were the only US Division teams in action on opening night. Tonight, the other 3 get going. In addition to the Silvertips and Thunderbirds game, the Winterhawks (0-1) host the Prince George Cougars and the Spokane Chiefs are in Kennewick to start the season against the Tri-City Americans.

Just one game in the WHL tomorrow and it has Prince George at Tri-City.

Up next
With the circus in town next weekend, the Thunderbirds head out of Kent to play the Americans at the Toyota Center on Friday night. They take the rest of the week off before heading back down to Portland to play the Winterhawks again on Friday the 3rd of October.

Next home game will be Saturday, October 4th vs the Kelowna Rockets.