North America gets an extra hour of sleep tonight as it transitions from daylight time to standard time. In the spirit of turning the clock back, we’re going to do some time traveling of our own. Going back to 2012, having won the WHL Bantam Draft lottery, the Seattle Thunderbirds selected F Mathew Barzal #1 overall. So far this season, his NHL draft year, he has 17 points in 14 games and 6 points in his last 4 games. Fast forward to the 2013 Bantam Draft. The Vancouver Giants had the 1st pick and they took F Tyler Benson. In his first full season in the WHL, Benson is averaging just a little under a point per game, scoring 11 points in 12 games and leads his team in plus/minus with a +8. They’ll face off tonight for the first time as Vancouver visits Kent. Which #1 pick will shine brightest? Your game day news and notes:
2 days ago, Seattle welcomed the reigning Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton to town on Halloween Eve. Were the Oil Kings trick-or-treaters, the Thunderbirds would have ruined their holiday by dropping a tube of toothpaste in their bag. F Lane Pederson scored his first 2 WHL goals, F Scott Eansor kept his point streak going and G Taran Kozun netted a big victory with 19 saves in a 5-2 Seattle win. In addition to Pederson’s goals, Mathew Barzal, F Alexander True and F Ryan Gropp scored for the TBirds.
Overall game #15 Home game #8
Vancouver Giants (6-8-0-0) @ Seattle Thunderbirds (6-5-2-1)
Radio: TSN.ca/Vancouver (Vancouver) 1090AM The Fan (Seattle)
Power play: Vancouver #4 16/63 25.4% Seattle #16 10/59 16.9%
Penalty kill: Vancouver #18 50/66 75.8% Seattle #10 46/56 82.1%
Vancouver PP: #15 5/32 15.6% PK: #20 20/30 66.7%
Seattle PP: #16 5/30 16.7% PK: #18 24/32 75.0%
11/1 @ Seattle
12/28 @ Vancouver
2/7 @ Seattle
2/9 @ Vancouver
Ins and outs
Tonight will be the first game D Evan Wardley will be able to return after his 7-game suspension for his hit on F Nic Petan earlier this season.
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 tomorrow 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. Playing in his first game with Norfolk last night, Theodore had 1 assist and 2 shots on goal.
(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.)
Ups and downs
Scott Eansor has a 4-game point streak. In those 4 games, he has 3G 2A.
Donovan Neuls has a 2-game assist streak going and assists in 3 of the last 4 games.
F Nolan Volcan will return from the World U17 Challenge on a 3-game point streak (1G 2A).
After being -8 for the first 10 games, D Jerret Smith has been +6 over the last 4.
Seattle has earned at least a point in their last 5 games vs Vancouver at home (4-0-1-0).
After doing it only twice in the first 12 games, the TBirds have scored the first goal in their last 2 games. Overall, they are 1-1-1-1 when scoring first.
Thursday vs Edmonton was the 3rd time this season both Mathew Barzal and Ryan Gropp scored in the same game. The TBirds are 2-0-0-1 when that happens.
F Mathew Barzal 17
F Mathew Barzal 7
F Ryan Gropp 7
F Mathew Barzal 10
F Donovan Neuls +5
D Jared Hauf 23
F Calvin Spencer 23
Around the division
Portland also hosted a game Thursday night and were shutout for the first time in almost 200 regular season games, losing to Kelowna 5-0.
4 of the 5 US Division teams are at home tonight. Kelowna is in Portland again, Edmonton continues their trip in Everett, and Red Deer starts their American swing in Spokane. Tri-City is on the island tonight, taking on Victoria.
Before Seattle’s next game, 2 other US Division teams will be in action. Sunday, Portland hosts Edmonton in a rematch of the last 3 WHL Finals and Tri-City finishes their double dip on the island with an afternoon game vs Victoria.
The TBirds will set their own clocks back tonight as they stay home for a couple days. Their next game will be a 2-for-Tuesday against Red Deer and that will end this 3-game homestand. After that, it will be 17 days until ShoWare Center hosts hockey again.