Monday, March 16, 2009

T-Birds hand 'Tips their worst loss in history, 10-0

I read two very different headlines today describing the same story. The title of The Seattle Times' Jim Riley's story read: "T-Birds set record in 10-0 win over 'Tips." Nick Patterson of the Everett Herald titled his story: "'Tips save worst for last in 10-0 loss to Seattle."

No matter which way you look at it, one thing jumps out at you: the score.

T-Birds returned to ShoWare center looking for redemption. The last time they hit the ice in Kent, the Portland Winter Hawks spanked them, 9-1. They went down to Portland Saturday for a little payback and came away with a 4-3 overtime win. Now, they were ready to leave their mark on the place they've called "home" since January and end the regular season on a high note.

Silvertips came into Kent looking to turn things around, following a 3-2 loss to the Chilliwack Bruins Saturday night at Comcast Arena. Recent history was on their side. The last time the Silvertips faced the T-Birds at ShoWare, Everett came away with a 2-1 shootout win. Forward Shane Harper notched the winning goal.

So, the showdown was set and the crowd was ready. A small but extremely vocal contingent of Everett fans made its presence known as the puck dropped and the action began. From the beginning, Seattle controlled the puck and the play, firing a number of shots at the Silvertips net. Goalie Kent Simpson seemed up to the task, though, deflecting shots away and even catching a speeding puck in one gloved hand. Everett didn't manage its first shot on Seattle's goal until 7:16 into the period. The T-Birds called up Kyle Jahraus to man the net and give 16-year-old rookie starter Calvin Pickard, who has played 16 games in a row, a much-needed night off.

Seattle scored its first goal at the 8:14 mark. Defenseman Stefan Warg notched the first goal of his WHL career, assisted by Chris Cloud and Devon LeBlanc. Play picked up considerably after that, with players hitting hard and getting in each others' faces. Silvertips D-man Taylor Ellington went to the penalty box for interference, then teammate Daniel Bartek was called 3 and a half minutes later for cross checking.

The T-Birds scored twice near the end of the first period. Luke Lockhart found the net at 18:01, with help from Charles Wells. A minute later, Devon LeBlanc took a puck up the ice and slapped it past Simpson for an unassisted goal.

The first period ended with the T-Birds on top, 3-0. Shots on goal: Everett: 5, Seattle: 16.

The second period had barely gotten under way when T-Bird Jeremy Boyer scored the first of what would be a hat trick for the talented Center. He deflected a great slap shot by Jeremy Schappert. A minute later, RW David Richard slipped one past Kent Simpson, putting Seattle up 5-0. Devon LeBlanc was credited with the assist on this one.

Immediately following the goal, a fight broke out next to Everett's net. Strike that. Several fights broke out, involving at least 6 players. When the dust cleared, Seattle's Eric Fleming and Everett's Campbell Elyniuk were in the box, serving 5 minute majors for fighting. Silvertips D-man Taylor Ellington was also called for a 4 minute double minor penalty for roughing. T-Birds LW Chance Lund was given a game misconduct for being the third man to jump into a fight.

Things settled down a little after this, although players on both teams levied hard hits on each other. One play snapped T-Bird Devon LeBlanc's stick in half. He left it on the ice and raced to the bench to grab another. Just shy of the 10 minute mark, Seattle found the net yet again. Greg Scott skated around the back of Everett's net and fed the puck to Jeremy Boyer, who slipped it past Kent Simpson's right skate.

Seattle was now up 6-0, and the Silvertips were becoming increasingly frustrated. Plays at either net ended in pushing and shoving, but referees broke up the scrum before it could deteriorate into a fight. Silvertips Center Jesse Burt was called for elbowing. Seattle D-Man Sena Acolatse went to the box for cross checking. The T-Birds made another run for Everett's goal with a minute left in the period, but Kent Simpson held them off. The second period ended with Seattle widening their lead on Everett, 6-0. Shots on goal: Everett-7, Seattle 11.

The third period started with pushing and shoving from both teams, and a pair of penalties 1:29 to both teams' big men. Everett's Cameron Abney and Seattle's Stefan Warg were hit with 2:00 each for roughing. The T-Birds pulled goalie Jahraus to give the team a man advantage. Just as the penalties ran out, Seattle struck again. Brad Haber scored, with help from Jeremy Boyer and Jonathan Parker. Tom Helm had just begun announcing the goal to a cheering ShoWare crowd, when Jeremy Schappert found the net. David Richard got the assist on this one.

The score was now 8-0 in the T-Birds' favor and tempers were really heating up. Silvertip Paul van de Velde went to the box for high sticking. Several minutes later, Jeremy Boyer was called for goaltender interference. Around this time, the Silvertips made a great run for the Seattle net, but Kyle Jahraus made some spectacular saves, including one where he knocked a puck away as he lay sprawled on his stomach in front of the net.

At 11:47, Jeremy Boyer took a pass from Devon LeBlanc and went on a breakaway, demonstrating a beautiful bit of skating. He slid the puck a stunned Simpson. Hats rained down onto the ice to celebrate Boyer's hat trick. Play was stopped so the refs could gather up the hats and get them off the ice. As soon as the whistle blew, though, Chris Cloud scored, with help from David Richard and longtime linemate Devon LeBlanc.

Much pushing and shoving ensued just after this goal and then an ugly fight broke out between Chris Cloud and Everett's Kellan Tochkin. Tochkin went to the box on a roughing minor. Cloud was called for roughing and 4 minutes for butt-ending. I had never heard this penalty and asked Everett Herald reporter Nick Patterson what it was. He explained that butt-ending is taking the handle end of the stick and ramming into another player's body. The referees ejected Cloud from the game. Captain Thomas Hickey served the penalty time for him.

The Silvertips tried valiantly to get a goal on the scoreboard, but the T-Birds defense and goalie Kyle Jahraus turned away shot after shot. The game ended with Seattle clearing the puck out of its own zone and Everett sitting on the worst loss in franchise history. Final Score: Seattle 10, Everett 0. Shots on goal: Everett: 15, Seattle: 17.

The three stars of the game: 1. Jeremy Boyer (3 goals, 1 assist), 2. Devon LeBlanc (1 goal, 4 assists) 3. Kyle Jahraus (27 saves, shutout).

The Silvertips now return home to Everett to prepare for first round playoff action against a strong Tri City Americans team. The first two games will be played March 20 and 21 in Tri City. The third and fourth games will be played March 25 and 27 at Comcast Arena in Everett. For more information on the games, including tickets, click

The T-Birds are still waiting to learn who they'll face in first round action. They hope to find out later this week, whether they'll go up against the Spokane Chiefs or Kelowna Rockets, both very strong teams. The first two games will take place in either Spokane or Kelowna. The teams will come to ShoWare Center for games 3 and 4. For more information on the T-Birds playoff schedule, including tickets, click

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