The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Jacob Doty

2011/2012 Season Opener: New Beginnings and Familiar Faces

Welcome back to Bird Watching, T-Birds fans!  In case you’re new to Thunderbirds’ fandom, I’m team photographer Kyle Scholzen and I’ll be sharing some of my best and favorite shots from the season.  If you’re returning, welcome back!  I hope you enjoy this blog even more than you did last year.   As always, if you’ve got a question, comment, or suggestion for me, feel free to leave it in the comments section below!  I’d love to hear what I can do to make this blog better for you!

Last Saturday the 24th was the season opener for the Thunderbirds.  Throughout the offseason, the team underwent numerous changes, including new head and assistant coaches, numerous new faces on defense, and familiar faces of youngsters with the team full-time.  With all these changes, there was plenty of excitement around the ShoWare Center on Saturday, and that excitement was evident even before the game started.  Like last year’s opener, there were numerous activities set up in front of the arena set up for fans of all ages.  The older ones got to partake in a beer garden, while the younger ones enjoyed things like video games, free face painting…

Canon 7D, 640 ISO, 32mm, f/3.5, 1/250

and a couple of inflatable bouncy-toys.

Canon 7D, 640 ISO, 55mm, f/4.5, 1/50

After enjoying the festivities outside the ShoWare Center, it was time for everyone to head inside, warm up, and grab some concessions before the game started.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 32mm, f/5, 1/60

Even though fans knew most of the new things about this year—Steve Konowalchuck had been announced as head coach in June and the roster was released the week before—there was one surprise waiting to be revealed: new jerseys!  On Saturday, the Thunderbirds debuted their new alternate jersey, a combination of darker blue trim and lighter blue base color, along with a secondary shield logo.

Defenseman Kyle Verdino styles the new jersey as he is introduced to the fans prior to the home opener.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 105mm, f/2.8, 1/250

One of the players who got the loudest cheers was rightwinger Jacob Doty.  Something tells me we’ll be hearing more about Doty a little later on in this blog, but for now let’s see as he’s introduced before the game.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 95mm, f/2.8, 1/500

After all the players were introduced came the inaugural puck drop.  Dropping the first puck that night was Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, a recent Medal of Honor recipient based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash.

SFC Petry (center) drops the puck for Seattle captain Luke Lockhart (right) and Portland captain Troy Rutkowski (left) to open the 2011-2012 season.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 105mm, f/2.8, 1/250

To earn his Medal of Honor, SFC Petry attempted to throw a live grenade back at the enemy during a mission in Afghanistan in 2008 in order to save the lives of four of his squad-mates, some of them injured.  The grenade exploded immediately after Petry let go of it, severing his right hand, yet saving the lives of at least two of his fellow soldiers.

After a recovery time of several weeks, SFC Petry was given a state-of-the-art prosthetic hand.   Despite having a bionic hand, Petry did not leave service; he has since gone on tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan with his prosthetic.  Everyone at the Seattle Thunderbirds was honored that SFC Petry agreed to drop the puck on opening night, and I’m jealous of Luke Lockhart for getting to shake the man’s hand.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 53mm, f/2.8, 1/250

Next up came the national anthem.  Kent resident Stefano Langone was selected to sing it on opening night.  You may remember Stefano from the recent season of American Idol where he made the top seven, and he proved his talents further with his wonderfully understated version of the national anthem…

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 60mm, f/2.8, 1/320

And while everyone in the arena was watching Stefano sing, I noticed that SFC Petry had snapped to attention, saluting the flag…

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 48mm, f/2.8, 1/320

After the opening ceremony, though, it was time to get the season underway.   In this first action photo of the year, left winger Mitch Elliot brings the puck down the ice into the Thunderbirds’ attacking end.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Just over two and a half minutes in, Jacob Doty returned to his physical ways and found himself facing off with Portland’s Cody Castro after Doty had a particularly hard check on another Winterhawk.  Doty fulfilled his enforcer duties well, taking Castro to the ice and firing up the Thunderbirds and the fans after the fight.  ShoWare was rocking during Doty’s trip to the penalty box.  Here’s him in action with Castro…

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

And here’s Marcel Noebels skating up-ice with the puck…

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 110mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Portland took 14 shots on goalie Calvin Pickard in the first period, and Pickard stopped all of them.  Luckily I was in a position to get some photos of him making those saves, like this one

Goalie Calvin Pickard stops a shot from Portland right winger Brad Ross.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And this one, which is my favorite shot from the game (I always like it when I get big ice sprays in my photos)…

Pickard pokes the puck away from Portland right wing Ty Rattie before Rattie can put it on goal.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

The first period ended 0-0.  The second period brought even more action, although unfortunately I wasn’t shooting much of it as I had to find photos from the pregame ceremony to put up on facebook.  That’s ok, though, as the third period had even more action than the three-goal period before it.

Marcel Noebels started his sophomore year in the WHL well Saturday, scoring once and getting named the game’s second star.  Unfortunately my view of his goal was blocked by a couple of players, so here’s a photo of him clearing a puck out of the Seattle defensive end in the third period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 110mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Left winger Chance Lund also scored in the third period, and fortunately I had a fairly unobstructed view of that play.  Here he is slipping the puck past Portland goalie Mac Carruth.

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

Lund’s goal tied up the game two-all, and he seemed fairly excited for his first goal of the new season…

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 120mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

As said before, one of the new faces on the Thunderbirds wasn’t on the ice Saturday night, but behind the bench.  Saturday was Steve Konowalchuck’s first game as head coach of the Seattle Thunderbirds and first WHL game since his own playing days, coincidentally with the Portland Winterhawks.   Here he is talking with assistant coach Jim McTaggart.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/800

Also back for one more season is right winger Burke Gallimore.  Gallimore is one of three overagers (a team in the WHL may only have three 20 year olds; defensemen Kyle Verdino and Cason Machacek are the other two players) and also one of the crowd favorites.  Here he is on the puck with Lockhart skating up in support.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And speaking of Lockhart, here he is tussling with a familiar face around these parts, former Thunderbird and current Portland center Charles Wells.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 150mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

 

And to end today’s post, how about we use a staple here on Bird Watching, another Calvin Pickard save!

Pickard stops a shot from Portland center Chase De Leo in the third period.

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

The T-Birds hung tough with Portland for 50 minutes Saturday night before ultimately falling 6-3.  This Saturday they hope to return the favor when they head down I-5 and take on the Winterhawks in Portland at 7 pm.  Tune in to that, and also keep coming back here for more photos throughout the year.

It’s great to have hockey back, isn’t it?  Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 28 (Part 2): T-Birds Whack Bruins in Shootout

When we last left off, 20 mascots were running around on the ice with brooms and attempting to play broomball.  Eventually they were cleared off the ice and the main attraction of the night—a hockey game with players in skates instead of overly-large feet and heads—resumed.  As always for the second period, I took up a position behind the opposing goal, hoping for another good offensive period…

…and didn’t find it in the first photo.  But hey, it takes place in the T-Birds’ offensive third so that counts for something, right?

Left wing Chance Lund tries to pry the puck away from Chilliwack left wing Curt Gogol early in the second period.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

But that first photo was just an aberration as in this next photo, left wing Mitch Elliot takes a shot on the Chilliwack goal.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The T-Birds found themselves on a power play about four and a half minutes into the period.  They successfully converted this time when center Travis Toomey fired a shot past Chilliwack goalie Lucas Gore.  Unfortunately there was a Chilliwack defenseman blocking my shot of Toomey and the celebration traveled away from me, so I didn’t get anything good from the goal.  The only thing I did get after the goal, however, is a photo of Cool Bird celebrating the now-level game.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/320th, Manual

Center Luke Lockhart positions himself to get the rebound from a Chance Lund slapshot.  Lockhart caught up with the puck and fired on goal, but Gore blocked it from going between the pipes.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here Lockhart goes behind the net in order to get a pass off to Lund, who’s positioned right in front of the Chilliwack goal.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Justin Hickman tries to knock Chilliwack center Steven Hodges away from the puck after the T-Birds’ defense cleared it from their own defensive zone.

Canon 7D, 44mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Late in the second period, a fight broke out between right wing Burke Gallimore and Chilliwack center Brandon Magee.  I did not see what caused the tussle—I was watching the puck and at the time of the fight it was in front of the goal and to my right, not along the boards and to my left like the fight was—but both players quickly got support from their respective teammates in it.  Pretty soon (I think it was) all five skaters from each team were involved in some way in the string of fights caused by Gallimore v. Magee.  Here’s a photo showing each individual match-up.

Fans at ShoWare Center saw a multi-fight melee at the end of the second period were seemingly everyone but the goalies were trying to punch someone wearing a different-color jersey.

Canon 7D, 33mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In all, 72 minutes were dished out to seven players, four of them being T-Birds.  The four Thunderbirds who received penalty minutes for their part in the altercation were sent to the locker room since less than two minutes remained in the second period, and I got a photo of them skating off the ice… From left to right its center Travis Toomey, Gallimore, defenseman Ryan Button (who’s furthest from me), and center Brendan Rouse.

Canon 7D, 42mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And with that little bit of excitement, the period ended.  Chilliwack added two more goals in the period, bringing the score to 3-1 in favor of the Bruins.  For the third period, I headed onto the ice and between the benches in order to get a clearer view of the third period action where hopefully the T-Birds could produce another comeback…

Center Colin Jacobs tries to poke the puck away from Chillwack right wing Blair Wentworth near center ice early on in the third period.

Canon 7D, 78mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Justin Hickman (middle) is flanked by fellow center Tyler Alos (background. left) and Elliot (foreground, right) while skating down the ice with the puck.

Canon 7D, 80mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Later in the possession Hickman found himself in position to take a shot on goal, but was denied by Gore.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

About halfway through the third period, Elliot found himself right in front of the net when Toomey knocked the puck towards Mitch.  Elliot took a bit of a windup and then proceeded to bury the loose puck past Gore and into the back of the net to cut the Bruins’ lead to one.  I managed to get the entire play, and I’ll give you the series of five photos now…

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

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And of course he had to celebrate his fifth goal of the season…

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

In the third period, the T-Birds very much controlled the game, earning a whopping 25 shots on goal while limiting the Bruins to just 11.  They were able to end Chilliwack possessions early and at times threw their weight around, including this photo where Alos shoves Chilliwack’s Hodges away from the puck.

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

Button is upended by Chilliwack left wing Jamie Crooks in the attacking third of the ice.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Jacobs brings the puck past a Chilliwack defender during a Seattle power play.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Late in the power play, Brendan Dillon fired a shot towards the Chilliwack goal.  After Toomey redirected it, Colin Jacobs finished the play by powering it into the back of the net.  My view of Jacobs during his shot was blocked, but I did have a nice view of Dillon’s pass that earned him an assist.

Canon 7D, 85mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And of course Jacobs had to celebrate the game-tying goal…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And here’s goalie Calvin Pickard celebrating Jacobs’ goal.

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

And with the game tied, the T-Birds had to stop the Bruins from scoring for two more minutes in order to get into overtime.  That effort was helped by this interception of a Chilliwack pass by defenseman Travis Bobbee.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And in the closing moments of the game, Button had a decent opportunity to put the T-Birds up and prevent the Bruins for earning a point.  He didn’t convert, however, and lamented his chance when regulation ended.

Canon 7D, 95mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In the overtime period, the Bruins actually outshot the T-Birds six to four.  None of those attempts were successful however, as Pickard made six of his 37 saves in the overtime period.  Here’s one of them…

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

For the shootout, the T-Birds bench got their rally helmets on (flipped their helmets around) in an attempt to will the team to victory.  Here’s right wing Jacob Doty sporting the backwards helmet.  I think they may be onto something here… it was obviously successful.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

After the first shooters for both teams both converted their chances.  Second up for Chilliwack was center Kevin Sundher.  Before Sundher could take a shot, however, Pickard poke-checked the puck away, ending the attempt.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Second up for the T-Birds was Jacobs, who didn’t allow the puck to be poke-checked away and instead converted his attempt.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

The third shooter for Chilliwack, left wing Roman Horak hit the post during his attempt, sealing the win for the T-Birds.  The team rushed onto the ice to celebrate the two points, many still wearing their rally helmets.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

There was a lot of celebration and numerous hugs on the ice after game, including this exchange between Pickard and Toomey.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

With those two points over the Bruins, the team directly above them in the standings, the T-Birds’ playoff chances grew a bit stronger that night.  It will surely take more than this single win to propel the T-Birds into the playoffs, but the way the team came back from a two-goal deficit suggests that the last few weeks of the season will have plenty of intrigue…

And that’s it for this time!   I appreciate any and all comments you have on this post or any other one; just leave one in the comments section below!

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 27: T-Birds, Sutter Give Chiefs a Fight—and Win

First off, what a game last Sunday!  The T-Birds broke their eight game home losing streak in exciting fashion, coming back from a goal deficit to nab a win against Spokane, the number two team in the conference.  Throw in an amazing last-second save and Dave Sutter’s first fight of the year and that resulted in one loud and excited ShoWare Center.  (You may be wondering, “what happened to games 25 and 26?” Well I wasn’t at game 25, so there will be no post about Feb. 5th’s game against Spokane.  As for game 26, I ended up going through photos from this game first, so that post will come later in the week.  Sorry for being out of order)

Anyways, back to Sunday’s game against Spokane.  We’ll start with photos from the first period, naturally…  The first period was a very back-and-forth affair.  Both teams had scoring chances, both teams controlled the puck well, the only difference was Spokane got one past the red line in front of the net, and the T-Birds didn’t.  Onto the photos…

Right wing Burke Gallimore is held back from reaching the puck by Spokane left wing Levko Koper.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Right wing Marcel Noebels takes a shot on goal but Spokane goalie Mac Engel is there to block it from the net.

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Gallimore has the pick knocked away by Spokane defender Tanner Mort.

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

Center Travis Toomey can’t get a stick on the puck, so he attempts to direct it into the goal with his foot.  The attempt was wide, however.

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

Center Connor Sanvido takes a shot on Engels from the face-off circle.  Engles blocked the shot.

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Goalie Calvin Pickard deflects a Spokane shot on goal.

Canon 7D, 195mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard tries to stay with Spokane center Anthony Bardaro as Bardaro crosses in front of the net with the puck.  Pickard couldn’t and Bardaro buried a shot past him for a goal.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Defenseman Ryan Button hits the ice in an attempt to block a shot by Spokane’s Koper.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Gallimore takes a knee in order block a centering attempt late in the first period.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

With the period ending, the score was still 1-0 Spokane.  For the second period, I moved down to the area behind the Spokane goal.  During the period, the T-Birds had a bit more shots on goal—16 as to 11 in the first—and they converted one of those shots as well.  I had a nice view of one of those attempts, this one by center Tyler Alos early on into the period, and got a good string of photos from it…

Center Tyler Alos gains possession and takes a shot on goal early in the second period.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Tyler Alos gains possession and takes a shot on goal early in the second period.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual


Center Tyler Alos gains possession and takes a shot on goal early in the second period.  The shot was blocked by Engel.

Canon 7D, 40mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That wasn’t the only attempt, however, as other T-Birds got into the action in front of the Spokane net…

Center Luke Lockhart takes a shot on Engles.

Canon 7D, 30mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Left wing Mitch Elliot (left) centers the puck by passing the puck to Alos, positioned in front of the Spokane net.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Despite my good location, I missed the photo of Toomey’s goal as my view of him was blocked by a Spokane defender during his wind-up (as usual).  So take my word for it when I say the T-Birds went into the third period in a one-all deadlock.  I took my usual third-period spot between the benches.  This would have given me a good view of Colin Jacobs’ goal early on to give the T-Birds a 2-1 lead, but wouldn’t you know it I was blocked from that photo as well, this time by Ryan Button.   Instead of the goal, I got a decent photo of him leaping in excitement originally (not posted), then he jumped onto the other players celebrating the goal, giving me a nice frame…

Button leaps onto the other T-Birds in celebration of Colin Jacobs’ goal early in the first period.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

His excitement stayed with him while returning to the bench…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard got into the celebration and broke out a new one, apparently based on the movie Rocky.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Being down a goal, Spokane started pressing the attack, leaving the T-Birds to defend and hold onto their lead.  Center Brendan Rouse did his part, checking defenseman Tanner Mort and separating him from the puck.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And now for what I think is the pivotal moment of Sunday’s game: Dave Sutter’s fight.  He’s really not much of a fighter—this was his first one all year—but he engaged in fisticuffs with Spokane left wing Colin Valcourt and came out victorious.  He got Valcourt’s helmet off first and landed a few punches…

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

…then took him to the ice.  A great victory for the Swiss defenseman!

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

That fight energized the fans—for the rest of the game ShoWare was rocking—and it really energized the T-Birds players.  They used the excitement generated from the fight as motivation to keep playing strong.

Left wing Chance Lund (left) and right wing Jacob Doty (right) encourage the rest of the team after Dave Sutter’s fight with Colin Valcourt.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

Once play resumed again, the T-Birds were still under siege from the Spokane attack.  The Chiefs got 28 shots on goal, but Pickard didn’t let one through.

Pickard gets his leg pads in front of a Spokane shot during the third period.   He made 28 saves in the third alone, and 57 overall on the night.

Canon 7D, 170mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Rouse clears the puck out from the defensive zone late in the game.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

After withstanding a ten minute long offensive onslaught, during which the T-Birds killed off nearly two minutes of a 5-on-3 power play and added an empty-net goal by Burke Gallimore, the clock hit triple-zeroes and the game was final.  With their 3-1 win, the T-Birds snapped their eight game home losing streak and gained two points, which may turn out to be an important two points in the playoff race. Indeed, there was a lot to celebrate Sunday night, so the T-Birds met on the ice to enjoy their win.

Canon 7D, 180mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That’s it for this blog post!  Tune in later this week for more photos and as always, let me know what  you think about my photos in the comment section below.

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 20: T-Birds Make Incredible Comeback, Lose to Kamloops on Controversial Call

Thanks to a stretch of four home games in just eight days, I’ve found myself falling behind on updating the photoblog.  This post will contain photos from the Kamloops game Jan. 18.  That game was certainly the most exciting home game of the year, one where the T-Birds scored three times in the third period only to lose on a controversial call, to say the least, in the shootout.  In addition to the excitement of the game, I finally was able to use my 28-70mm lens in a hockey game!  I’ll talk about that experience a tad later in the blog, but let’s begin with the photos, shall we?

Let’s start with Calvin Pickard.  The fellow faced an astounding 26 shots in just the first period.  What’s even more amazing is he only let one pass him and find the net.   That’s a .962 save percentage for the period.  It’s safe to say Pickard’s play in the first half kept the T-Birds in the game.  Just for that, let’s see two photos of two amazing saves by Calvin…

Goalie Calvin Pickard stops a shot from a Kamloops player during the first period.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard makes another first-period save against Kamloops.  He made 25 saves in the first period alone, and 55 total that night.

Canon 7D, 140mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Since they were defending for most of the period, the Thunderbirds didn’t get too many shots on Kamloops goalie Jeff Bosch; they just had five in the first period.  They did have a few more opportunities than shots, however, including this one by Connor Sanvido.

Center Connor Sanvido has a shot stopped by Kamloops goalie Jeff Bosch during the first half.

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

Just after that Sanvido attempt, I spotted Cool Bird borrowing a fan’s binoculars just to my right.  I think they would have worked better if Cool Bird was facing the ice instead of away from it, but that’s just my opinion.

Canon 7D, 95mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Surprisingly enough, that’s it for my first period photos.  Actually it’s not so surprising as I had numerous shots of Calvin, but didn’t want to post four similar photos next to each other…  Anyway, on to the second period!  I was excited for the second period to come, for I wanted to test out my 28-70mm lens for hockey.  It had been unusable for over a year after it received multiple knocks during the post-game rushing of the field after the UW knocked of USC in 2009 (I was in the middle of the mass of bodies, an experience I’ll never forget).  Anyway, I had finally gotten it fixed and tested it out during the second period, while I was behind the north net and facing the Thunderbirds when they were attacking the Kamloops goal.   I was able to get numerous plays in front of the net, such as…

Center Travis Toomey battles with Kamloops defenseman Josh Caron (middle) for a rebound in front of the Kamloops goal early in the second period.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

and…

Toomey watches as a loose puck is swatted away from the Kamloops net early in the second period.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

and even…

Right wing Tyler Alos has a puck knocked away from him in front of the Kamloops goal.

Canon 7D, 47mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

A shot this lens allowed me to get is battles for the puck in the corners.  Any other lens I had would have cut off players’ heads and feet, but when I could actually get wide enough to get the entire player in the photo.  Take this one, for example, where Sanvido (right) and Toomey (left) are battling Kamloops defenseman Brandon Underwood for the puck in the left corner.

Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

I could even get a photo when the play was happening right in front of me.  That’s how I got this cool portrait (well, sort of a portrait) of Dave Sutter.

Defenseman Dave Sutter tries to gain possession of the puck along the boards behind the net in the second period.
Canon 7D, 28mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And that’s it for the second period.  Despite the increased shots on goal (14), the T-Birds couldn’t get one into the net while Kamloops added one goal to go ahead 2-0.  They’d add one more three minutes into the third period to increase their lead to 3-0.  Down by three goals, the T-Birds had to attack a lot in order to stay in the game.  Here’s a photo of them doing just that…

Defenseman Erik Fleming brings the puck past center ice during the third period.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

In all, they had 15 shots on target in the third period—just one more than the second.  Here’s one of those shots, this one by Luke Lockhart.

Center Luke Lockhart (left) takes a shot on Kamloops goalie Jeff Bosch.

Canon 7D, 102mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

The T-Birds found themselves on a powerplay when Kamloops defenseman Austin Madaisky was called for hooking, and the T-Birds capitalized on the advantage when Marcel Noebels finally knocked the puck into the net.

Left wing Marcel Noebels slips the puck past Bosch and converts the power play for the T-Birds’ first goal of the night.

Canon 7D, 80mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Just twenty seconds later, Jacob Doty scored the T-Birds second goal of the night.  While I didn’t get a good photo of the goal, here’s a nice frame of the celebration afterwards…

Right wing Jacob Doty (left) and  left wing Mitch Elliot (right) celebrate Doty’s goal to draw the T-Birds within one of the Kamloops Blazers.

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/500th, Manual

Now down just one goal, the T-Birds kept pressing and forcing the Blazers to play defense.  They did, keeping the T-Birds off the board for another 10 minutes despite Seattle controlling the puck most of that time.

Noebels tries to protect the puck from Kamloops center Dalibor Bortnak (left) and defenseman Corey Fienhage (right).

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Right wing Burke Gallimore has the puck knocked away by Kamloops center Dalibor Bortnak in the third period.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Over the past few games, I had noticed that Connor Sanvido was receiving more ice time, particularly in the third period and on power plays.  He had been playing pretty well recently and one of these days he’ll get his first goal of the season.  When taking into account the nice attempts he’d created in this game, I’m sure that elusive goal will come sooner than later…

Sanvido wraps around the Kamloops net in hopes of a better scoring opportunity.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Eventually the Thunderbirds did tie it up, however.  Unfortunately Noebels, the goal scorer, blocked my view of the puck going into the net, but he paid me back by giving me a strong celebration shot afterward.  I love the reactions of the fans in this photo, they’re what make the image so strong.

Noebels raises his arms in triumph after the T-birds tied the game up at three with barely a minute left to play in regulation.

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

For the overtime period that followed, I wanted a view of both halves of the ice so I’d always have a clear chance at capturing any important play.  The only place I could go for that, since it was too late to go between the benches, was the suite I’d shot from in the first period, so I ran on upstairs and got into the suite just before the overtime faceoff.  My hustle was rewarded with this image of Noebels trying to win the game…

Noebels tries to get the puck past Bosch in overtime for the potential game-winning goal, but can’t find a hole in Bosch’s protection.

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

Kamloops also had their chances in the overtime period, specifically this one by center Dalibor Bortnak.  Despite Seattle defenseman Brenden Dillon’s best sliding attempt to knock the puck away, Bortnak took aim and fired at the Seattle goal.  The shot sailed wide to the right, fortunately for the Thunderbirds.

Canon 7D, 95mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Not all Kamloops shots went wide in overtime, though.  Calvin was forced to make nine saves in extra time, none of them producing as cool a photo as this one…

Calvin Pickard knocks a Kamloop attempt away with his stick in the overtime period.

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

Neither team scored in overtime, so we went to a shootout, something the T-Birds’ fans haven’t seen since Nov. 24.  Unfortunately the first two Seattle shooters missed their attempts, and Kamloops hit its’ first one.  It was all up to Calvin Pickard to block Kamloops center Colin Smith’s shot to prolong the game, and he nearly did it… In fact, he says he actually did poke-check the puck away from Smith, which would end the attempt immediately.  The refs didn’t call the play dead, though, and Smith buried the puck into the net, which the referees counted.  Despite complaints from Pickard, Toomey, and the rest of the Thunderbirds, the shot was not reviewed and the shootout ended at 0-2 for the T-Birds.  Here’s a photo of Calvin attacking the puck in Smith’s control.  Use it to decide for yourself if Pickard touched it or not…

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

And that brings an end to the most exciting game of hockey we’ve seen this season.  The T-Birds did great to come back from a three goal deficit and force a shoot out, and the shoot out didn’t lack for drama thanks to the controversial play that ended it.  Overall, it was a thoroughly entertaining game to watch and to photograph.  Hopefully the next one will be just as good…

And also hopefully I can get caught back up on this blog.  Expect photos from the Kelowna game up in a few days.

What do you think of the ending of this game?  Does that photo of Smith’s goal change your opinion?   Re-affirm it?  Let me know in the comments section!

Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 19: T-Birds Dropped by Giants

As we left off last time, you may remember me lamenting my broken 70-200mm lens, the one I use all the time.  Luckily I still have contacts with my former college paper, The Daily, and the photo staff there was more than willing to let me borrow one of theirs.  Thanks guys (and gals), I couldn’t have properly covered the Vancouver game without you!

Onto the actual game. Last Sunday completed the third game of the T-Birds’ second straight three-in-three weekend, where they played three games in as many days.   Overall, they had played six games in nine days, all the while traveling across the state, keeping up with school, AND practicing some days without games.  Needless to say it would be understandable if they came out and looked a little tired in the beginning. They weren’t, and center Travis Toomey proved it by scoring just 12 seconds into the game.  He collected the loose puck from the opening faceoff, brought it down the rink, fired a shot onto Vancouver goalie Mark Segal, and quickly put the rebound off Segal’s pads into the back of the net.

Center Travis Toomey fires a rebounded shot into the back of the net just 12 seconds into a Jan. 16 game.

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

And a quick score like that deserves a celebration, right?

The starting lineup celebrates Toomey’s quick goal.

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

Toomey wasn’t the only T-Bird to get an early shot on the Vancouver goal.  Left wing Chance Lund had this opportunity to increase the lead to 2-0.  Segal got his stick in front of the puck, however, and deflected it away from the goal.

Canon 7D, 145mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Center Justin Hickman had been playing fairly well in the games leading up to the Vancouver game.  I was hoping he’d break through and get his first WHL goal that night as he got his first point, an assist, the previous home game.  He didn’t put one in the back of the net, but he continued to play his physical game…

Hickman slams Vancouver defenseman Tyler Hart into the boards, this time in the T-Birds offensive third.

Canon 7D, 170mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Unfortunately the Giants were able to even up the score when Vancouver left wing  Spencer Bennett snuck one past goalie Calvin Pickard.  A quick note on the shape of this photo: you don’t often see many extremely horizontal photos in print as it’s a hard shape to fit stories around.  That extreme horizontal shape, though, is the best fit for this photograph.  It’s a good think no paper will be printing this, as this blog enables me to crop my photos any way I want.  Isn’t new media great?

Goalie Calvin Pickard can’t cross the goal fast enough to block Vancouver left wing Spencer Bennett’s shot from crossing the red line.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And there were some Vancouver fans that made the short jaunt down for the game Sunday.  They stood and cheered along with their team after Bennett’s goal.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Here, right wing Jacob Doty carries his enforcer duties well by delivering a big hit to Vancouver center Andrej Stastny.

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

The T-Birds had plenty of chances to extend their lead in the first period.  Officially they had 12 shots on goal, converting two of them for scores.   There were many other good trips down the ice, however, that didn’t necessarily result in a shot.  This is one of them.

Right wing Tyler Alos lies entangled with Vancouver right wing Michael Burns in front of the net after Burns knocked Alos to the ice to prevent him from getting a shot off.

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

After getting back on his feet, Alos got a second chance at a goal when he found himself with the puck to the side of the Vancouver goal while Segal was down.  Unfortunately Burns was in a position to knock the puck away.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That ends the first period photo-wise (seemed like a lot, huh?).  Let’s move to the second!  This next shot could act as an ad for Reebok if I moved the frame up a bit.  Let’s just chalk this photo up to another wacky adventure in autofocus…

Defenseman Erik Bonsor chases down the puck during the second period.  Not like you could tell from the photo or anything…

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

During the media timeout around the halfway point of the second period, Cotton Eye Joe is always played to get fans up and dance around for a ride on the zomboni during the second intermission.  I like using that period to get fun fan shots, and these two T-Birds fans looked they enjoyed doing their thing on the big screen.

Canon 7D, 105mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

As for actual gameplay, the Thunderbirds mustered eight more shots on goal.  Here, defenseman Ryan Button fires the puck towards the goal during a power play.

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

When I first saw this photo, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to use it.  The unedited version of this was very loose (in photographic terms, loose means lots of extra space around the subject to crop out).  I was afraid that I had shot this too lose and the photo quality of a zoomed, cropped photo wouldn’t be high enough for my tastes.  Luckily the grain here isn’t too bad as this really is a cool shot.  I really like the near-multiple reflections in the boards.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon slams Vancouver right wing Brendan Gallagher  into the boards during the second period.

Canon 7D, 150mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That brings us to the end of the second period.  With one more period left and the score now 3-2, it was still anyone’s game.  Calvin Pickard knew this, and it looks like he came out of the intermission ready to play.

Pickard watches intently as Dillon battles Vancouver right wing Brendan Galligher (hidden) for the puck.

Canon 7D, 110mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Pickard tried to keep the Thunderbirds in the game by fending off an onslaught of Vancouver shot early in the period, including this particular beauty…

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

About halfway through the period, though, the Giants snuck another goal past Pickard to take a two goal advantage.  Knowing this and knowing I had a nice photo of Calvin making a save, I decided to head down to the spot near section 112 that allows me a nice angle of the Vancouver goal seeing as the T-Birds would be pressing to get back into the game.  Just a minute after I moved, Toomey found the back of the net again for his second goal of the night and to cut the Vancouver lead to just one.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a useable photo of the goal, but I did get a cool celebration shot of two fans nearby…

Fans hi-five each other after Travis Toomey scored a goal to bring the Thunderbirds within one goal of the Vancouver Giants.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

After Toomey’s goal, the T-Birds kept up the pressure on the Vancouver defense in an effort to draw even at four.  Here, right wing Marcel Noebels controls the puck while attacking the Vancouver goal.

Canon 7D, 80mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Unfortunately they didn’t get another one past Segal and the game ended 4-3, snapping the T-Birds two-game home winning streak.   It was a good game, however, particularly when you consider the torrid schedule the players had been dealing with the last few weeks.

That ends this edition of Bird Watching.  Tune in next time for photos from the Kamloops game Tuesday Jan. 18!  As always, tell me how I’m doing in the comments section below.  Or, if you have something you’d like a photo of for the next game, let me know.  I’m open to suggestions!

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Game 16: Thunderbirds Soar Past Rockets

Now that was fun to watch!  Last Friday’s (Jan. 7th) win against Kelowna was something special: it was just the T-Birds’ second home win since mid-November.  They’ve played well for the most part, but somehow found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard.  Against Kelowna, however, they out-shot the Rockets, out-defended (is that a word? I certainly hope so…) the Rockets and, most importantly, outplayed them.  All of those things combined to give the Thunderbirds a 3-1 win over the second place team in the BC division.  Let’s see how they did it…

Normally any photos of goalie Calvin Pickard are of him making a save or another outstanding defensive play.  Not this next one, however, as there weren’t too many shots for him to save in the first period.  Instead, here’s Calvin receiving an errant Kelowna clearance and knocking it towards a fellow T-Bird.

Canon 7D, 180mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

This next picture I’m putting in as a literary device (if a blog can be considered anything like literature): foreshadowing.  My, that glass bent an awful lot…

Defenseman Erik Fleming checks Kelowna defenseman Colton Jobke into the boards during the first period.

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

And here’s what the previous photo foretold; either that glass was shifted out of position or Jacob Doty hits really hard.   Either way, players generally don’t end up in the laps of fans with seats on the glass.

Right wing Jacob Doty checks Jobke into the boards near the south goal, shifting the plexiglass out of place.

Canon 7D, 170mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Luckily the crack maintenance staff at the ShoWare Center quickly fixed the problem and play resumed in about five minutes or so.

Canon 7D, 190mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

One of the hardest things to photograph in hockey, for me at least, is a save of a long-range shot.  I generally keep my lens following the puck; when it travels a long distance at high speeds, it’s very hard to see both ends of the play.  In order to do so, I need to point my lens toward the area the puck is heading, press the shutter halfway to engage the autofocus, and then press it down all the way to take the shot.  I often get out of focus images when I try to keep up with a speeding puck, but this time I didn’t.  What I got instead was this gem…

Calvin Pickard makes a save on a shot from the Kelowna Rockets in the first period.

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

What a great shot, huh?  What’s that, the top of Calvin’s head is missing?  That’s what happens when you speed-aim your camera: you don’t have time to correct the borders and you end up cutting off people’s body parts (photographically, of course, for I have not touched Calvin’s head in real life).  Photos with a partial head-ectomy are not how you advance in this industry; I need to do better if I want to get a head… err, ahead.

Done groaning now?  Good, let’s continue with the photos.  Here’s one of the Thunderbirds’ 16 shots on goal in the first period.

Jacob Doty (left) fires a shot at Kelowna goalie Jordan Cooke from point-blank range.

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

And here’s a shot of Doty fulfilling his other duties on ice: fighting and demoralizing the other team’s players…

Doty (right) and Kelowna right wing Jessey Astles exchange punches during a first period fight.  Both were slapped with five minute major-fighting penalties.

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

Travis Toomey has been playing well lately, putting five pucks in the back of the net since January 1st, and collecting one assist for a total of six points.  He scored one against Kelowna in the first period on Friday, but unfortunately I had a player blocking my view for that play.  I wanted to have a nice photo of him anyway, so here’s one of his other shots from the period.

Center Travis Toomey takes a shot on the Kelowna goal.  Although this one was successfully blocked, Toomey managed to score earlier on in the period.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And our last photo from the period came just after the second T-Birds goal of the period.  Unfortunately I missed the goal, but I did get a decent image of the fans; it’s just too bad I had their backs to me.

Thunderbirds fans celebrate the goal scored by right wing Burke Gallimore 12 minutes into the first period.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/250th, Manual

In the second period, the Thunderbirds continued their offensive surge, throwing twelve more shots at the Kelowna goal.

Right wing Marcel Noebels watches as Kelowna’s Jordon Cooke stops Noebels’ shot early in the second period.

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

This was Noebels’ first game back from the World Junior Championships, where he scored once and provided two assists in Germany’s six games in the tournament.  Since returning (and as of Sunday night after the Chilliwack game), Noebels has put two more pucks in the back of the net.  Worth another photo, right?

Noebels fights of Kelowna defenseman MacKenzie Johnston while collecting a free puck.

Canon 7D, 108mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

I couldn’t decide whether to put this next photo up on the blog.  It’s a nice decent moment—one of the goal scorers on the night taking a shot on goal—and in pretty good focus, but that black stripe on the right is pretty obvious.  That stripe is one of the poles of the guardrails on the staircase leading behind the north goal.  Once I saw that on my images, I decided to move into the small space between the glass and the rail, but for this shot it was a move made too late… Something else to remember for next time.

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

And here’s another shot of Noebels.  It’s funny how I go entire nights without a decent photo of some people only to get three or four keepers the next night…

Noebels tries to catch up to an errant puck, outracing Kelowna right wing Shane McCoolgan (left) and left wing Brett Bulmer (right).

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

Late in the second period, center Charles Wells found himself on a breakaway with no one but Kelowna’s Jordon Cooke between him and a goal.  Kelowna defenseman Mitchell Chapman dove in an attempt to trip up Wells, though, and knocked the T-Birds’ center off balance.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Being brought to his knees, though, didn’t prevent Wells from his attempt to score.  He took a shot at Cooke from the ice.  Unfortunately, Wells wasn’t rewarded with a goal, although Chapman earned two minutes for tripping.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Shortly after, the period ended.  As the Thunderbirds went back to their locker room, this young fan offered a high five and words of encouragement.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.5, 1/1250th, Manual

Now time for the third period!  I wanted to spend a bit of it shooting from the upper level again.  I’d be able to get photos of plays on both ends of the ice and I didn’t think I’d had such a good first period image-wise.  Being up there, though, allowed me to get an unblocked view of Noebels’ goal halfway through the period.

Noebels puts a puck past Jordan Cooke and into the Kelowna goal to increase the Thunderbirds’ lead to 3-1 halfway through the third period.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Shortly after the goal, I moved to the handicap seating in section 112.  It offers a good view of the ice at the south end of the building and is where many other photographers sit during the first and third periods.  I didn’t get many good photos from that position (or at all in the third period), but here’s one I kind of like…

Center Colin Jacobs passes to Marcel Noebels in the third period.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

And unfortunately that’s it for game photos.  For some reason I got fewer good photos than normal, but I think the ones posted are a bit better than normal.  I guess I went for quality and not quantity.   Oh well, we’ll see what happens with the next game!

Have any questions for me?  Want to say something about one of the photos on here (or not on here)?  Want to have an in-depth conversation on the importance of maple syrup on the global economy?  Feel free to post in the comments section below!

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!


Game 15: T-Birds Fall to Chiefs

Happy New Year T-Birds fans!  I do have to apologize for not putting up a new post for a new week; I’ve been quite busy with my other photography duties and with my grad school application, so time to update this has been limited.  I’ve finally found a few hours, though, so here’s a post from my last game, the Dec. 28 bout between the T-Birds and Chiefs!

The game was the highest-attended game this season with 6,125 screaming T-Birds fans packing the ShoWare Center to watch as the Thunderbirds take on Spokane.  There were so many tickets sold that night that the ticket office was forced to sell individual tickets to a suite since the lower bowl was sold out.  While making for a great atmosphere, this forced me out of my typical shooting spot in the first period and into the one owned by the T-Birds overlooking the south goal.  It gave me a great vantage point to shoot any Seattle shots on goal and Spokane goalie James Reid…

Spokane goalie James Reid makes a save on an early shot by the Thunderbirds.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

But put me right in front the protective net which wrecked havoc with my focus.

Spokane defender Davis Vandane collects the rebound of a Thunderbird shot on goal.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Note: thanks to my location, I ended up with a lot of photos of Spokane from the first period.  I tried to cut down on those the best I can during editing but most of the photos from then have Chiefs as the more prominent player.  Next time I’m forced into that situation, I’ll be sure to find a new spot.

Center Travis Toomey has a centering pass blocked behind the goal by Spokane defender Brenden Kichton.

Canon 7D, 115mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

At least the net didn’t cover my entire view of the ice.  In this photo, left wing Mitch Elliot fights for the puck closer to center ice out from behind the protective netting.

Left Wing Mitch Elliot battles for the puck with Spokane right wing Mitch Holmberg (top) and defenseman Kyle Krzyzaniak.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

The T-Birds outshot the Chiefs in the first period, 10-6.  Despite the additional shots, they didn’t get one past Reid or the Spokane defense.  Here’s a photo of Spokane defenseman Tyler Vanscourt (center left) falling on a loose puck in front of the Spokane net while Seattle right wing Burke Gallimore tries to knock it into the net.

Canon 7D, 180mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Left wing Mitch Elliot is checked into the boards by Spokane center Steven Kuhn after getting a pass off to a teammate.

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

Right wing Tyler Alos fires a centering shot towards the Spokane goal.

Canon 7D, 170mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

For most of the first period, the T-Birds dominated play.  There were a few shots on goalie Calvin Pickard, but not many.  Spokane’s one goal in the period was definitely against the run of play…

Goalie Calvin Pickard can’t quite stop a shot from Spokane center Tyler Johnson late in the first period.

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

For the second period, I moved to my normal spot behind the north goal, where I got much better shots of the home team than in the first period.  Here’s a head-on shot of right wing Jacob Doty controlling the puck despite Spokane defenseman Davis Vandane’s best efforts to knock Doty over.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Here’s another straight-on shot of Doty, this time pursuing a loose puck down the ice.

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

The second period was just as tightly contested as the first.  The Thunderbirds still outshot the Chiefs, but the margin was cut to just one.  The T-Birds had plenty of chances, though, like Travis Toomey’s breakaway here.

Center Travis Toomey loses the puck to Spokane defenseman Corbin Baldwin while on a breakaway in the second period.

Canon 7D, 73mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

Center Brendan Rouse prepares to fire a shot past the Chiefs’ Vanscourt towards the Spokane goal.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

Defenseman Brenden Dillon also fires a puck towards the Spokane goal.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

And to finish of the second period, here’s a shot of left wing Chance Lund controlling the puck.

Canon 7D, 130mm, 1600 ISO, f/3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

Since the crowd was the biggest all year, I wanted to get a nice, wide shot showing as many fans as possible.  Unfortunately the smallest lens I had with me was 50 millimeter, which doesn’t give a very wide shot.  To show you how crowded it was (and how narrow a 50mm lens is), here’s a shot of the crowd taken from the top row of seats at center ice.

A crowd of 6,125 packed the ShoWare Center to watch the Thunderbirds take on the Spokane Chiefs on Dec. 28, 2010.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/640th, Manual

Also for that game, I had a yearbook student/photographer from Kentwood High School (my old school!) job shadow me.  He followed me everywhere during the game and even helped me with some shots of an advertisement I had to grab before the game started.  Since it was nice to have someone to talk to while shooting, and because I don’t have very many good photos from the third period, here’s a shot of him in action.  Thanks for coming, Danny!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

I can’t decide if this next shot is as really what it looks like.  At a quick glance, it looks like defenseman Travis Bobbee is getting an elbow in the nose from Spokane right wing Blake Gal.  If you look closer, though, it seems that Gal’s elbow might be just in front of Bobbee’s face.  It doesn’t look like Bobbee’s reacting much to the possible elbow, but maybe we just can’t see the reaction.  In either case, it’s still a decent shot and worth a look or two.

Defenseman Travis Bobbee and Spokane’s Blake Gal fight for the puck against the boards during the third period.

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

In the third period, I shot from the handicap seating across from the Spokane bench instead of my typical spot between the benches.  In this section, I didn’t want to sit right on the glass and block not only other photographers but fans that paid for those seats, so I shot from a few feet off the glass.  This gave me a glare that made it difficult to see much action in the photo.  It did, however, lead to this cool shot of fans’ faces reflected when Toomey crashed into the boards near me.

Fans watch on as center Travis Toomey chases after the puck in the third period.

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

I need to remember to try and get a cooler shot of that, preferably when you can actually see the player’s faces amongst all the others.

From that vantage point, I had a nice view of the Thunderbirds’ bench and a great vantage point when head coach Rob Sumner gave instructions to Chance Lund during a timeout.

Canon 7D, 200mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

And lastly, here’s a shot of center Charles Wells skating down the ice near the end of the game.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

That’s it for this game thread.  I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I’ll try not to wait a week before my next blog post, either.  As always, feel free to leave any comments or questions in the comment section below.

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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Best of Part One: The Top Photos So Far…

It seems like just yesterday since we were back here on Bird Watching, now doesn’t it?  Anyways, I promised you a post containing my best (and favorite) photos from the season so far, so let’s get going!

17) For the first shot of the day (and seventeenth best shot so far) we’ll go all the way back to October 26 for a game against Tri-City and a shot of center Colin Jacobs on the bench during a shootout.  I think this shot is typical of many photos of Jacobs I’ve taken; in most of them there’s either a big smile or intense expression on Jacobs’ face.  That really adds to the emotion of the photograph and helps our understanding of what’s going on in it.

Center Colin Jacobs is all smiles after left wing Marcel Noebels (background) converts his shootout attempt against the Americans.  Despite the successful conversion, the T-Birds fell in the shootout, 2-1.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

16) Let’s stay in that same game against the Americans for shot number 16.  In the first 33 games of the season, the T-Birds had three of their four home games against Tri-City, and each one was a hard-hitting matchup worthy of the rivalry.  There were many notable hits between the two teams, and one of the better photos I’ve got of them happens to be this one, where two Thunderbirds combine to make an American sandwich…

Right wing Jacob Doty (left) and center Connor Sanvido (right) sandwich Tri-City defenseman left wing Marcus Messier in the first period of an Oct. 26 game against Tri-City.

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

15) With number 15, I decided to go with a shot from the KING 5 taping that occurred October 12 at ShoWare Center.  KING 5 sent reporter Christie Johnson down to learn more about hockey and the Thunderbirds.  The clips that were filmed went out live during the morning news broadcast, and the four players there (Luke Lockhart, Brenden Dillon, Burke Gallimore, and Michael Salmon) had to arrive early in order to meet with the KING 5 crew.  I snapped this gem during a break in shooting…

Center Luke Lockhart (right) and right wing Burke Gallimore (top) rest on the ice during a break between takes.

Canon 7D, 50MM, 1600 ISO, f/3.5, 1/800th, Manual

It’s not the best technical photo from the shoot, but I do find it quite humorous and there’s something charming about it so I decided to use it over the other photos from the tv shoot.

14)  After each win, the team would always skate out to the goalie (normally Calvin Pickard, but Michael Salmon has taken over between the pipes on occasion) and celebrate the win.  They did this a bit over the first half, as the T-Birds have accumulated 15 wins so far this year.  Normally these shots aren’t that exciting as everyone is facing inwards, but I got lucky with this one when Jacob Doty looked backwards (with his helmet off! What luck!) during the celebration.

Jacob Doty joins the rest of the Thunderbirds in celebration of their Nov. 19 victory over the Spokane Chiefs.

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

13)  I’m always looking for new angles to shoot from.  Seeing something from a different vantage point can make the most typical of things seem new or exciting.  I was allowed to shoot the Red Deer game on Nov. 2 from the catwalks above the ice.  I was up there for the pregame events, including the introduction of the Thunderbirds starters.

The Thunderbirds starters are introduced before the Nov. 2 game against Red Deer.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/320th, Manual

12)  What would a look back on the Thunderbirds’ season be without talking about Calvin Pickard?  He’s been the T-Birds’ brick wall in goal for most of the season, saving an astounding 1169 shots so far.  His save percentage of .927 is good for second in the WHL, just a thousandth behind Darcy Kuemper of Red Deer.  Needless to say, Pickard’s been a major part of the team, and I had to include a photo of him in this countdown.  Here’s one of his 1169 saves, this one against Red Deer.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a stick save on a shot from the Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 2.

Canon 7D, 155mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1000th, Manual

11)  As I’ve said before, I didn’t follow hockey before I started shooting for the Thunderbirds.  All I really knew about the game was that it was really fast and players were allowed to fight (with a five minute penalty, though).  Being one of the bigger teams in the league, the T-Birds have really thrown their weight around for the first part of the season, making sure to hit the opposing team and even fighting them if need be.   One of the bigger fighters on the team is Jacob Doty, who is frequently making sure the opposing team leaves the game black and blue.

Jacob Doty lands a punch on Prince George center Greg Fraser during a game Oct. 29.

Canon 7D, 185mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

10)  Once December rolled around, it was time to plan for the T-Bird’s Christmas Card.  It was up to me to shoot the photo that would be on the card, something I’ve never done before.  After scouting out the location and perfecting my exposure for the surroundings, the players arrived and we got down to business.  I’ll tell you right now this photo isn’t the best team photo ever taken, but I’m quite proud of it and the way it looked on the card, so I decided to put it on this list.

Happy Holidays from the Seattle Thunderbirds!

Canon 7D, 50mm, 1000 ISO, f/10, 1/25th, Manual

9)  I’m always looking for non-action photos to shoot.   Not only does it give me something to focus on while the game’s not being played, but it showcases particular events that might not have been seen by everyone.  One of my favorite detail shots from the half-year is this photo taken during a particularly chippy game against Medicine Hat.

Jacob Doty leans over and tries to intimidate the Medicine Hat player across from him before a faceoff at center ice during a Nov. 30 game.

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

8)  It’s not common to see a goalie get checked hard on a play, but it does happen on occasion.  When it does, it can make a cool photo to see the two players all sprawled out.  That happened in the Medicine Hat game; an action I thought was sure to lead to an all-out brawl between the teams.  It didn’t but it did lead to a cool photo…

Calvin Pickard is run into by Medicine Hat center Wacey Hamilton during a Nov. 30 game.

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

7)  One thing I have noticed through the first 33 games is that the Thunderbirds fans are pretty good at making noise.  When I went over to Kennewick for the Tri-City away game on Dec. 10, I was surprised at how quiet those fans were during part of the game.   To commemorate them, I’m always looking for photos of T-Birds fans to put in the blog.  Normally I have a requirement that they need to be in T-Birds gear, but I waived that Dec. 14 when the group in Calvin’s Corner kept yelling at Spokane goalie James Reid whenever he ventured to that side of the ice.

Fans in Calvin’s Corner try to get Spokane goalie James Reid to lose focus during a Dec. 14 game.

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

6)  This fan, however, showed his T-Birds colors well during the Medicine Hat game.  The more I look at this photo, the more I like it.  Not only is it taken at a cool angle (from the catwalks), but the look on his face—particularly that smirk—adds some nice emotion to it.  He looks proud to display that Thunderbirds scarf, and in turn I’m proud to call this photo one of the six best shots I took during the first half.

A fan displays a Thunderbirds scarf during a timeout in a Nov. 30 game against Medicine Hat.

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

5)  Here’s my favorite photo of Calvin Pickard I’ve taken so far.  This might be ranked higher on this list—and would definitely be the best shot of a Calvin Pickard save—if this was in fact a save; this is actually a shot of a Tri-City goal.  I took this early enough in the play, however, for it to look like a decent photo Pickard doing well.  No matter what the result of the play, however, it’s a nice looking photo and nice enough to be number five.

Tri-City center Mason Wilgosh sneaks a shot past goalie Calvin Pickard during an Oct. 26 game.

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

4)  You may have noticed that so far all of the action photos on the list were either taken from above (the photos with a background that consists of ice) or from the box in between the benches (where the background is the goal or the boards around the rink).  Well, coming in at number four is my first action shot taken from behind the glass at one end of the rink (#7—the photo of the group in Calvin’s Corner—was taken from the side, but I don’t consider that an action photo).  It was taken fairly recently, at the game where I finally realized how to shoot from behind the glass ((Home) Game 12: Thunderbirds Unlucky Against Americans).  You’ll also notice that three of the top four photos were taken in December, further suggestion I’ve finally realized how to shoot hockey.  It took long enough, now didn’t it… 😛 Anyway, here’s number four!

Left wing Marcel Noebels evades an attempt to dislodge the puck by from Tri-City center Brooks Macek during a Dec. 11 game.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

3)  When I saw number three happen I immediately became excited.  I immediately knew I had this really cool play when it happened; once the puck was cleared from the Seattle end and there wasn’t a danger of missing a play, I chimped the photo (photographer jargon for looking at the LCD screen) to see if I really had got it.  A wide smile crept along my face once I had; I think that was the most excited I’ve ever been over a photograph.  It really is a cool photograph, and important, too.  Check out this goal-saving grab Dave Sutter made on the puck.

Defenseman Dave Sutter saves a goal by grabbing the puck out of the air just before it crosses the red line during a game against Medicine Hat Nov. 30.

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

2)  I remember telling you I had a portfolio-worthy shot during the blog post I first shared number two with you.   It is also one of the few head-on offensive shots I’ve taken this year since I haven’t found much success shooting through glass yes.  I’m really happy with the way this shot turned out, although I do wish the shot featured in the photo was just as successful. 

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Tri-City goal during a Dec. 11 game.

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

1)  And now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for and the best shot I’ve taken so far this year…  As I said before, three of the top four photos were taken in December, and we can expand that out to a whopping eight of the top ten.  That means throughout the year I’ve really improved my hockey shooting, so it’s only natural to guess my top photo is from December, right?   Well it’s not from December.  Or November.  Or even October for that matter.  That’s right, the single best photo I’ve taken came from the one home game in September and the first regular season hockey game I’ve ever shot.  Crazy, right?  I’ll let you see the photo before I talk about why I picked this as number one…

Colin Jacobs celebrates a goal in front of the Portland bench during the home opener against the Winterhawks Sept. 25.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

This photo shows just about everything you need to know about that opening night game: that the Thunderbirds were fired up and playing well enough to celebrate (visible in Jacobs’ face) and it shows some dejection in the Winterhawks’ player behind Jacobs.  Furthermore, the spotlight on Jacobs makes him jump out at the viewer and the stick and shoulder in the foreground give a nice frame to Jacobs to really draw your eye to him.  That is why I’m calling this the best photo I’ve taken this season, and a photo I’m proudly displaying in my portfolio.

Well there you have it: the top 17 photos of the Thunderbirds’ season so far!  What plays will there be for me to capture during the second half?  Find out tonight when the Thunderbirds take on the Spokane Chiefs at 7:05 at the ShoWare Center!  I’ll be there, will you?

Do you agree with my selections? Did I miss something that deserves to be in this post?  Let me know in the comments section below while you wait for 7:05 to come!

‘Til tonight, go T-Birds!


(Home) Game 12: Thunderbirds Unlucky Against Americans

Center Charles Wells takes a shot on the Tri-City goal in the second period.

Canon 7D, 98mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Hello again everyone!  It’s been a while since the last post (about a week, in fact) so it’s time for another roll of photos.  Sorry for the layoff; I’ve been shooting a lot in the last week, both for the T-Birds and Seattle University all while taking the GRE and getting my application for grad school together.  I’ve finally found time to write up a game thread.  I know I told you guys I’d have photos from last Friday’s away game in the Tri-Cities, but I want more time to put together the videos for that post.  Instead, here’re some photos from the home game against the Americans on Saturday the 11th.

Let’s start in the second period, shall we?  (Note: we kind of have to as I didn’t arrive at the ShoWare Center until just before the first intermission.  I had to come down from Key Arena and a Seattle U. men’s basketball game) Walking into the media box at the ShoWare Center, I was met with the nasty surprise that the Thunderbirds were down 0-4 late into the first period.   Now I’m sure you guys will be ok with skipping straight to second period photos, where the T-Birds seemed to come out with a new energy and ended up matching the Americans’ one goal during those two periods.  Let’s dive straight into the shots, shall we?

Left wing Marcel Noebels evades an attempt to dislodge the puck by from Tri-City center Brooks Macek on his way down the ice towards the Americans’ net.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Centers Justin Hickman (right) and Brendan Rouse (center-left) both try to force the puck through the Tri-City defense and into the net.

Canon 7D, 70mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

Left wing Chance Lund takes a shot on the Tri-City goal, but Americans goalie Drew Owsley stops the puck before it can cross the red line.

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

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Wow, Kyle actually has good-looking photos from through the glass for once,” and you’re right!  I have no clue why all of a sudden I could actually get good shots from behind the glass.  It might be due to the fact I actually stepped away from the glass; normally I press my lens up against it to reduce glare from the lights, but I was moving around a lot more than normal.  It may be because the hockey and the photo gods got together and decided to smile on me, I have no clue.  I just know I got some killer shots from that position.  Those four aren’t it, either.  Here’s some more from the second period I’m quite pleased with…

Wells checks Tri-City left wing David Conrad into the boards behind the Tri-City goal.

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

Center Colin Jacobs battles tries to knock the puck past Tri-City defender Paul Sohor and into the Tri-City goal.

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

And we’ll end the second period photos there.  I still can’t believe how lucky I was to get all those shots.  I think I’ll put either the Noebels photo or the Lund photo—maybe even both of them—into my portfolio.  It’s not every day you get a portfolio-worthy shot, and somehow I got two of them in a span of about 40 minutes.  I was feeling pretty good and ready to continue my streak of good luck—and good photos—into the third period.

And before I went out to the box between the benches (they call it the Suicide Box over in Kennewick and most other hockey arenas; for some reason, I’m not too fond of that name…), Ashley, the intern that has the horrible job of going through every single one of my photos (I really feel bad for her, there’s a LOT of horrible photos from each game and she has to sort them all) caught up with me.  She asked me to get a few photos of defenseman Erik Fleming since I hadn’t gotten any at all this year.   You’re probably tired of reading my ramblings, so here’s that photo of Fleming and a couple other ones.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Defenseman Dave Sutter checks Tri-City right wing Jordan Messier in the third period.

Canon 7D, 125mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Noebels skates around the Tri-City goal hoping to find a better angle for a shot while Tri-City defender Zachary Yuen follows in pursuit.

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

Here’s another photo I really like.  I think it’s one of the better shots of a defensive play I’ve gotten this year.

Defenseman Brenden Dillon throws himself to the ice in an effort to block a shot by Tri-City leftwing Justin Fesser.

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

Being not only a rivalry game, but the second game against the Americans in two nights, there was plenty of late hits and hard checks into the boards.  Here, right wing Jacob Doty slams Tri-City defenseman Sam Grist against the boards.

Canon 7D, 175mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

During one of the media timeouts in the third period, the team gathered at the bench to strategize.  After the strategy session, but before they were called back out onto the ice,  Jacobs (left) and Doty (right) discussed matters between themselves as well.

Canon 7D, 160mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/800th, Manual

In keeping up with the rivalry, Lund and Tri-City defenseman Brock Sutherland found themselves in a fight with about five minutes to go in the game.

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

Although the two fighters were escorted off the ice, their dropped gloves, sticks, and helmets were still strewn about.  For the Thunderbirds, it was Hickman who received the task of collecting Chance’s gear and bringing it back to the bench.

Canon 7D, 78mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Here’s a photo of Defenseman Erik Bonsor trying to steal the puck from Tri-City center Connor Rankin.

Canon 7D, 100mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

Despite the game being decided, both sides kept up the pressure on the goalies and tried to earn one more goal.  Here’s a shot on goal for Tri-City.

Tri-City’s Messier (left) fires a shot towards the Seattle goal, which is being defended by defenseman Scott Ramsay (center-left) and goalie Michael Salmon (right).

Canon 7D, 135mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

The Thunderbirds also had their late-game chances on goal.  Here, Dillon brings the puck down the ice with a defender in tow.

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

Noebels controls the puck in the Tri-City half.

Canon 7D, 120mm, 1600 ISO, f/2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

And here center Luke Lockhart tries to brush the puck into the net and past Tri-City goalie Chris Driedger.

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

Alright, that’s it for this post.  I have no idea how I got so many good photos from just two periods, but hopefully my lucky streak will continue!  Check back for my next post to see if it does and, as always, let me know what you liked or didn’t like in the comments section below.

Til’ next time, go T-Birds!

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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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