The Memorial Cup trophy may be in Everett today but the last team to win it is in Kent tonight for their biennial visit. The Edmonton Oil Kings come to town as the reigning Memorial Cup champions and winners of the WHL Eastern Conference for the last 3 years. Even with a loss of important players from that championship squad, Edmonton seems positioned for Conference title number 4.
Led by G Tristan Jarry, the Oil Kings don’t allow a lot of offense: they are 4th in the league in goals against. However, Seattle isn’t that far behind. In fact, the Thunderbirds are 5th in the league in goals against. While we don’t know who will be in net for tonight, a Tristan Jarry and G Taran Kozun matchup would pit the #2 and #7 leaders in goals against average against each other. If Seattle looks to knock a jewel out of the Oil Kings crown, they are going to need to find that scoring touch that has come and gone the past week. Here are some game day news and notes:
Last Saturday in Everett, Seattle scored a rare first goal but gave up a power play goal in the 3rd and then lost :41 into overtime. The 2-1 final score wasn’t necessarily indicative of the game as Seattle controlled most of the play until penalties got the best of them. F Scott Eansor scored the lone goal for the TBirds and G Taran Kozun got the start and made 24 saves. That power play goal ended a streak of 20 road penalties killed off by Seattle.
Overall game #14 Home game #7
Edmonton Oil Kings (9-3-0-2) @ Seattle Thunderbirds (5-5-2-1)
Radio: TSN 1260 (Edmonton) 1090AM The Fan (Seattle)
Power play: Edmonton #18 8/54 14.8% Seattle #13 10/54 18.5%
Penalty kill: Edmonton #7 51/61 83.6% Seattle #11 45/55 81.8%
Edmonton PP: #18 2/16 12.5% PK: #9 17/21 81.0%
Seattle PP: #15 5/25 20.0% PK: #18 23/31 74.2%
10/30 @ Seattle
F Justin Hickman will be playing in his 263rd WHL game tonight. That will move him into sole possession of 20th all-time for games played in a Seattle Thunderbirds uniform.
F Keegan Kolesar will be playing in his 75th regular season WHL game tonight.
Coming and going
Tonight will be the final game of D Evan Wardley’s 7-game suspension for his hit on F Nic Petan earlier this season. He should be back in the lineup Saturday night.
F Nolan Volcan has left the team to join Team Canada in Sarnia, Ontario for the World U17 Challenege. Volcan is on Team Canada Black and starts the tournament on Sunday with a game against Russia.
D Shea Theodore has recovered from his upper body injury and has been sent by Anaheim to their AHL affiliate in Norfolk for a 2-week conditioning stint. Under the CHL-NHL agreement, NHL teams are allowed to send CHL players that are under 20 years old to their AHL affiliates for conditioning after an injury but once that is over, the NHL team must either bring the player back to the NHL or return him to his CHL team. Most expect that Theodore will be back in Seattle after those 2 weeks, assuming there is no aggravation of the injury.
Weekdays are alright for fighting too
Only one TBird on a scoring streak coming into tonight’s game. Scott Eansor has a 3-game goal scoring streak and has scored the last 2 Seattle goals overall.
F Nolan Volcan will return from the World U17 Challenge on a 3-game point streak (1G 2A).
No Seattle players on a scoring streak vs Edmonton as the Oil Kings won 7-0 earlier this year at Rexall Place.
This will be the first time that the Edmonton Oil Kings have played in Seattle/Kent on a day other than Tuesday. In 2008, while the TBirds were at KeyArena, Edmonton made their first visit to Seattle on US Election Night. Given the historical nature of the evening, it made for a small crowd of 2791 and I seem to remember that at every intermission, the crowd would make their way to the lounges to watch the election results. Certainly had a different feeling than most of the hockey games I’ve ever been to. Seattle won 8-2.
That Election Night game was the last time the Thunderbirds defeated the Oil Kings. Since then, Edmonton has won the last 5 matchups between the two teams.
Thursday games are certainly rare but not unheard of. Since the 1989-90 season, here are the Thursday home games and results:
- 12/30/99 vs Moose Jaw 4-1 W
- 12/11/97 vs Swift Current 8-5 L
- 12/28/95 vs Tri-City 6-0 W
- 3/3/94 vs Red Deer 8-5 L
- 11/18/93 vs Portland 9-4 L
- 2/18/93 vs Red Deer 5-4 W
- 2/28/91 vs Saskatoon 10-3 W
- 11/15/90 vs Portland 6-5 W
- 3/1/90 vs Saskatoon 6-4 L
- 2/15/90 vs Moose Jaw 7-3 W
So if history is any indication, tonight should be high scoring.
F Mathew Barzal 15
F Mathew Barzal 6
F Ryan Gropp 6
F Mathew Barzal 9
F Donovan Neuls +3
D Jared Hauf 23
F Calvin Spencer 23
Around the division
Last night, a couple of US Division teams were in action. Spokane hosted tonight’s opponent, Edmonton, and won in a shootout, 4-3. Chiefs G Garret Hughson stopped 46 Oil Kings shots in the victory. Everett was up in Kamloops for the 2nd and final team this season and left triumphant, 4-1. In that game, the Silvertips set a team record scoring 2 goals just 6 seconds apart.
Tonight, in addition to this game, Portland is hosting the Kelowna Rockets in the first of two in row those teams will be playing.
After tonight, the entire US Division is off for the Halloween holiday tomorrow. Saturday night, all 5 get back into it. The Red Deer Rebels get their US swing going with a stop in Spokane, Edmonton continues their way through the division with a game in Everett, Tri-City is on the island for the first of two vs Victoria, and Portland plays their second home game in a row vs Kelowna.
The TBirds get to hit the streets and collect candy tomorrow with a rare Friday night off. Saturday they will play host to the Vancouver Giants which will be the middle game of their 3-game homestand. Game is at 705 at ShoWare Center.