It was “Two for Tuesday” and since it had been a while since my last game I decided to take up the offer. Oh but I probably shouldn’t have. The drive to Kent took forever in the pouring rain and snarled traffic that plagues the Puget Sound region. How long does it take to cross town these days? Try one hour at a minimum.
At least I was getting two tickets for 22 dollars. Even at that rate it seemed a bit steep. What do I know though? This could be the “New Normal” range.
We found our seats eventually, which were right as we entered the arena, and not at the other end as I first suspected. Hey I just like to go in circles eh? Instead of sitting in our assigned seats though, right next to people we did not know and people we actually did know, we sat back one row. This later proved to be a good thing.
A word of note: Seattle tends to allow few goals and score few goals. They rely on their goaltending to get them to a victory or at least keep the game close. Medicine Hat had a better record but was playing on the road in the midst of a West Coast swing. My prediction was a 3 to 1 score.
The puck drops and the Seattle Thunderbirds play the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers pretty good for the first period, until … on a power play opportunity they let a pass slip away … to be taken by Medicine Hat the length of the ice and dumped into the back of the net for a short handed goal credited to Tiger forward Emerson Etem. Ouch.
One thing I notice is the referees quickly break up players showing any inclination of dropping the gloves. Send them to the sin bin with a two minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The new rules to make the game go faster even apply to goalies. Hold the puck bit too long and a two minute delay of game penalty results. I mean come on am I watching hockey or chess on ice? Is it a soccer (football) match with sticks? Ice dancing? They sure don’t play the game like they used to. I reckon you don’t see any “real” penalties at all.
The first period ends Medicine Hat 1 Seattle Zilch. Shots on goal favoured the Tigers nearly two to one, 9 to 19. During intermission I take the time to get a jersey raffle ticket as they announced so few had sold. I figure I had decent odds since there are a limited number of tickets available. Wrong-O. When the winning number is revealed it is so far off there must have been a run on them. Or … it is a Scot Smith scenario, they did not meet the quota and said “Heck with it, make up a high sounding number so we can try again next time.” Whatever.
Second period and neither team lights the lamp although they come close. The Thunderbirds are outshot 13 to 8. The score remains Medicine Hat 1 Seattle Nada.
During second intermission the old man purchases a 50-50 raffle ticket, which also later fails to be a winner. Food items at the concession stand are also picked up since they were 2 dollars each. The soda and beer were OK. The hot dogs were terrible having the taste and texture of rubber. Were they worth 2 dollars? No. Not when I had the same exact hot dogs in Yakima for 50 cents. That team lost too when they could not find a way to score. Coincidence? I think not. Regularly priced these items go for almost 4 dollars. Whatever.
Third and final period. This is it, for all the marbles, err pucks, or something. Another delay of game penalty puts Seattle a man down, a position that leaves them ripe to cough up a goal. While this Medicine Hat goal is not scored in the two minute power play advantage, a second or two later is much the same. Hunter Shinkaruk, what a name. The game is all but over. Another power play opportunity sees the Tigers tally another goal, this one by Matt Konan, and lead 3 to nothing. It is sickening to watch these Thunderbirds play and as if on cue some kid projectile vomits all over the seats in front of us. I say the hot dogs did it coupled by bad hockey from the home team.
The sole highlight for Seattle comes when Marcel Noebels is tackled while trying to make a shot on goal and the referees award a penalty shot. Noebels promptly puts one by Tigers netminder Tyler Bunz to make it a 3 to 1 game. The Thunderbirds pull their goaltender Calvin Pickard in the final minutes for a 6 on 5 man advantage but fail to get close before a penalty called on Seattle ends things for good.
Stars of the game: Hunter Shinkarak – one goal, one assist, Tyler Bunz – 96.55 save %, Marcel Noebels – one goal
I look online later and see that the attendance was pegged at 2726, a majority season ticket holders who pay $558 plus to watch. Whatever.
Oh yeah 3 to 1. Downtown. Bang. Also the Thunderbirds should fire their coach.