The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Game 11: Thunderbirds Topped by Medicine Hat

After a wonderful sports weekend for me—the T-Birds got four points, the Seahawks won handily, and the Huskies made their first bowl game in eight years with a big win in the Apple Cup—it’s time to get back to work on the photoblog.  For this entry we’ll look back at the game against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

I thought the T-Birds played pretty well during that game: they got off 30 shots  (the most they’d had in a handful of games), they held one of the higher scoring teams in the league to three goals, and they got back to a more physical game than we’ve seen since the Eastern road trip.  Combined with me shooting from the rafters for two periods, those all came to produce an enjoyable game, not only for me but for the fans as well (although I’m not sure you guys really cared that I was shooting from the rafters).  So let’s take a look at some photos from it, shall we?

We’ll start off with a photo of a save, something we’ve seen a lot this year.  This save, however, is a bit different: this one was made by defenseman Dave Sutter rather than goalie Calvin Pickard…

Sutter blocks a shot by Medicine Hat in the opening minutes of Tuesday, Nov. 30’s game.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

As I mentioned before, the T-Birds played pretty physically, making sure to hit the Tigers often.  The hard checks started early, in fact,  as center Tyler Alos knocks Medicine Hat defenseman Scott McKay to the ice shortly after the Sutter block pictured above…

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And here’s one of the typical saves we see: one by Calvin Pickard.  Here he’s making a stick save of a shot from Medicine Hat right wing Cole Grbavac.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Now as you all know this is my first year following and learning about hockey.  I like to think I’m picking it up well—I’m no longer thinking of it as a faster version of soccer, for one—but there’s still things I find odd and that throw me about the game: how players can use their hands to stop or even catch the puck.  For some reason I think it’s odd to see the puck flying though the air past the red line and all of a sudden be caught by someone or to see a player bend down and stop a puck sailing along the board with his hands.  Why am I talking about this you ask?  Well for one thing it’s about 2 am as I’m writing this and my thoughts aren’t as lucid as normal at this time, but the main reason is I have a photo of defenseman Scott Ramsay stopping a puck along the boards with his hand which I will show you now…

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And to go even weirder on you guys, here’s a photo of a couple of fans with food I took from above.  I must have been really hungry when I took this photo.  To be fair, though, that burger looks mighty tasty…

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/200th, Manual

For the first ten minutes or so, I was on the catwalks just off the ice on the south end of the building, meaning I was just above and to the right of the Medicine Hat goal.  That meant any play that happened along the right side of the goal I had a nice view of.  That includes this chance right wing Jacob Doty had on goal.  Note: the random black lines are from the net behind the goal and above the boards.  Yes it played havoc on my focus, but I did luck out with some things focused properly…

Doty has the puck knocked away from him by Medicine Hat left wing Kale Kessy near the Tigers’ goal in the first period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Halfway through the period, I moved down to my vantage point above the Seattle goal in hopes of some cool saves from Calvin.  He didn’t make me wait long as he made this gem shortly after I got down there.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

When the puck was up the ice and down by the Medicine Hat goal, I’d take a step and a half behind me and shoot from about above the hashmarks.  This gave me a nice view of center ice to about the far crease and allowed me to get this shot of center Luke Lockhart trying to disrupt Medicine Hat defenseman Matthew Konan’s pass.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

It seems like since the Eastern swing, the refs had been focusing on stopping fights before they happened.  I don’t remember seeing any fights in the last three weeks; confrontations were broken up before they could escalate.  Last Tuesday, however, we had a very large scuffle (not a full-blown fight, however) by the Seattle net.   Luckily I was in position to capture it…

Center Justin Hickman (top middle) shoves Medicine Hat’s Kessy  (middle right) while Ramsay lands a punch on Kessy’s chin.   Sutter and Medicine Hat left wing Dylan Bredo are also involved in the fracas.  Both Ramsay and Kessy received two minute penalties for their involvement in the situation.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

After the refs got everything straightened out, play resumed.  Soon after, the Tigers controlled the puck at the Seattle end.  In fact, Medicine Hat nearly earned a shot on goal here, but center Travis Toomey knocked the puck away before Pickard had a chance.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Just after that shot, the Tigers managed to get the puck in behind Calvin but still in front of the goal.  Sensing an oncoming Medicine Hat player, Sutter made a goal-saving grab for the puck and caught it.  I caught the play on film, about which I was very excited about.  Check out the play for yourself…

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

That awesome photo of Sutter grabbing the puck (I think that might be my best photo this year; it’s easily in the top three at least) ends photos from the first period.  A lot happened in it, seeing as half the photos from this game are from the opening period (by the way the score’s 1-0 Medicine Hat.  In all the excitement my photos I forgot to mention the goal.  Oops.).   So on to the second  period!

I spent all of that period along the catwalk that runs above the team benches. That’s where I got this shot of Gallimore trying to force the puck past Medicine Hat goalie Tyler Bunz.  Bunz wasn’t having it, however, and blocked the puck’s passage of the red line.

Canon 7D, 90mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

You can classify this next photo as nothing else but good luck and taken at the right time.   It shows right wing Marcel Noebels (top), center Luke Lockhart (bottom) and Medicine Hat defenseman Thomas Carr (middle) all going after the puck.  Their sticks somehow align themselves, however, into a triangle and the puck is nearly dead-center in that triangle.  Who knew geometry was used in hockey?

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

From the catwalk over the benches, I had a nice view of fans in the middle and tops of each section.  It just so happened that one of the fans below started showing off a Thunderbirds scarf during a timeout in the second period.  Too bad we can’t see all of his face, but it’s still a pretty cool shot…

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/400th, Manual

Let’s just skip ahead to the third period now… The Medicine Hat Tigers scored three minutes in to make the score 2-0.  Before the faceoff at center ice to open play again, right wing Jacob Doty made sure to talk smack to the Medicine Hat player next to him.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Doty later continued his duties as a bruiser by checking Kessy into the boards.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Later on in the third period, Noebels found himself on a breakaway to the goal with only the goaltender in front of him.  Medicine Hat defenseman Sebastion Owuya tried to get back to Noebels and the puck, but ended up falling to the ice and sliding into Noebels, knocking him down.

Canon 7D, 165mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Noebels buried the penalty shot that resulted from that play, cutting the lead to 3-1.  There was still plenty of hockey left to be played, though.

Before the faceoff that resulted from Noebels’ penalty shot, Doty was again jawing at a Medicine Hat player, this time being Cole Grbavac.

Canon 7D, 75mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

With all the hard checks and the smack talk from both sides (I’ve only shown Doty, but players from both sides were doing it), I was expecting a fight to finally break out.  After  Medicine Hat center Wacey Hamilton ran into Calvin Pickard and was called for interference, I was sure there’d be a last-minute fight.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

One never materialized, however.   What did happen is the T-Birds pulled Pickard with a few minutes left in an attempt to score a couple goals and equalize the game.

Center Colin Jacobs (left) fires a slapshot towards the goal in hopes that Noebels can tip it into the net.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Unfortunately the T-Birds didn’t get anything else past Bunz and the game ended 3-1.  It was an entertaining game, though, and one I had a lot of fun shooting.  And, as you all know, they went on to win their next two games.  So that was nice…

As always, let me know what you liked, didn’t like, etc., in the comments section below.  Or you can debate the merits of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.  Your choice.

Til next time, Go T-Birds!

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