The Official Photoblog of the Seattle Thunderbirds

Posts tagged “Luke Lockhart

First Half Recap

Happy 2013 T-Birds fans!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing (And in other breaking news, ice is cold), so perhaps a quick recap is in order. Since I have so many games unposted, I’ll post some of the best photos I’ve taken since early November. Sound good? Good, I’m glad you agree…

Early Jan Post001

Defenseman Shea Theodore brings the puck up the ice during a game Nov. 16 against Medicine Hat. Theodore has 27 points on the year, eight goals and 19 assists.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 125mm, f/2.8, 1/2000

Early Jan Post002

Left winger Alexander Delnov crosses the Thunderbirds logo at center ice during a game Nov. 16 against Medicine Hat.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 115mm, f/2.8, 1/2000

Early Jan Post003

Delnov and center Connor Honey celebrate a goal in the second period of a Nov. 16 game against Medicine Hat. For much of the first half, the Delnov, Honey, and Roberts Leipsbergs line led the way for the Thunderbirds. The members of the DHL line are currently the top three points-scorers on the squad, with Honey leading the way at 33, Lipsbergs one behind at 32, and Delnov in third with 30.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 85mm, f/2.8, 1/1600

Early Jan Post004

Left winger Riley Sheen stretches out to block a puck during a game Nov. 17 versus Spokane.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 150mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

And, coincidentally enough, let’s look at a similar photo of Sheen attempting to knock down a puck during the same game.

Early Jan Post005

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post006

Defenseman Jesse Forsberg dives to interrupt a shot from Everett defenseman Landon Oslanski while Seattle goalie Brandon Glover prepares to make the save during a game Nov. 27.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Early Jan Post007

Center Justin Hickman celebrates a goal late in the third period of the Nov. 27 game against Everett. Hickman’s goal clinched the 5-3 victory for the Thunderbirds.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Early Jan Post008

Delnov checks for defenders as he brings the puck up-ice during a game Dec. 1 against Kelowna.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 170mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Early Jan Post009

Center and T-Birds captain Luke Lockhart fires a shot towards the goal during the Dec. 1 game against Kelowna. Lockhart had one assist on the night as the T-Birds downed the Rockets 4-2.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Early Jan Post010

Glover makes a save during the Dec. 1 game against Kelowna. Glover has played in 36 games for the Thunderbirds, holding an 89.8% save percentage while facing1,237 shots on the year so far.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 125mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

 

Early Jan Post012

Lockhart drops to one knee in an effort to block a puck during the Dec. 8 game against Portland. Lockhart has put up 25 points on the year, 14 goals and 11 assists in addition to his duties as team captain.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 155mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post013

Left winger Mitch Elliot grapples with Victoria center Brandon MaGee during a dust-up late in the game Dec. 6 versus Victoria.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Early Jan Post014

Defenseman Evan Wardley shoves Everett left winger Mitch Skapski as Skapski advances down-ice during a game Dec. 28.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 75mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post015

Glover sends a puck flying after blocking an Everett shot during Dec. 28’s contest against the Silvertips.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post016

Forsberg takes a knee in an effort to block a passing lane during Dec. 28’s matchup with Everett.  Forsberg has tallied 20 points on the year so far, scoring four goals while assisting 16 others.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post017

Theodore attempts to push Everett center Carson Stadnyk off the puck during the Dec. 28 game against Everett.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post018

Glover makes a save during a game Jan. 5 against Spokane.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Early Jan Post019

Right winger Branden Troock and Spokane left winger Carter Proft trade punches during a fight late in the game Jan. 5. Both earned five-minute fighting majors for their involvement in the fight.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

So now I’m caught up with the blog, thankfully! And I have even more exciting news: after every game,  we’ll be posting a photo gallery on the Thunderbirds’ Facebook page! Now you won’t have to wait the days or—let’s face it, the months sometimes—to see photos from some games, it’ll just be an hour or so! What that means for this blog is as of now undetermined, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out for it.

That’s it for this edition of Bird Watching, fans. Thanks for reading and as always,

Til next time, go T-Birds!


The Team Poster: How it was Shot

Hello again, T-Birds Fans! I’m back to take you behind the scenes of the team poster photo shoot. Anyone who attended the game against Everett March 17 received a poster with a photo of the T-Birds in front of the ShoWare Center on it. I was at that photo shoot (although I did not take that particular picture) and let me take you through how the photo was taken!

The photo was taken by portrait photographer Bruce Hudson of Hudson’s Designer Portraits. Bruce is known nation-wide for his beautiful portrait photography and, as a personal aside, took my senior photos, as well as those of my sister and my parent’s wedding photos. When I found out he was taking the T-Birds’ team photo, I made it a point to be there and see how he goes about making a beautiful image.

What specific equipment does Bruce use? Well, for this particular shot, it would be everything in this photo…

It looks like Bruce is planning a simple two-light display (the two black box-like things on the ground), and wants to use the scissor lift to get a birds-eye view of the team…

Of course the lights need to be plugged in, and Josh Hudson captures that on video for the studio’s blog.

Bruce climbs onto the scissor lift before a test shot.

After the crew got set up and figured out basic light settings, the players came out for their photo. Since there were a few stragglers, those who came out a bit early were able to chat while waiting for everyone.

Defenseman Jared Hauf talks with Bruce while waiting for all the players to report in front of the Showare Center.

Bruce raises the lights in order to properly illuminate the players’ faces.

With everyone out and in front of the Showare Center, it was time to take the photo…

While Bruce is busy snapping away behind the camera, the Thunderbirds’ Director of Public and Media Relations Ian Henry gets the players into prime position for the photo.

Bruce shows off the photo to center Luke Lockhart (center) and defenseman Brad Deagle (right).

After taking a look at the photo, Bruce decided to wait for the sun to set before attempting another take. During the intermission, the guys kept themselves busy doing … umm … something.

Something interesting must be going on above as a number of Thunderbird players look up towards the sky while waiting for the team photo to be taken.

After the sky failed to hold the players’ interest anymore, Lockhart and fellow center Tyler Alos found a dog to play with. Unfortunately for them (and the dog), the dog was locked in a car, but at least he looks excited to see the two T-Birds!

Shortly after that, the sun finally went below the horizon and it was time for Bruce to continue shooting. Here he is directing everyone from high above in the scissor lift…

Now you know the story behind the team poster you received! Big thanks to Bruce and his staff for coming out to take the photo, and an even bigger thanks to the team for waiting around to get that great photo. Coming up on Bird Watching, I hope to get at least one more post up to close out the season.

Until next time, then, go T-Birds!


T-Birds Fall to Portland in Teddy Bear Toss Game

Well now, isn’t this a pleasant surprise? Another edition of Bird Watching! I do have to apologize for the long breaks in between this post and my last one; my quarter is very busy with three classes and a lot of work at Seattle University. But I have the time now, and I’ve got the photos from an always-special game: the annual Teddy Bear Toss game!

Every year, many (if not all) WHL teams hold a Teddy Bear Toss game where fans bring teddy bears to donate to charity—the Thunderbirds give the bears to the WARM 106.9 Teddy Bear Patrol which gives them to local firefighters and other emergency responders to give to children in times of crisis. The best part about the Teddy Bear Toss, though, is seeing all the bears thrown onto the ice after the first T-Birds goal. But before we see the bears thrown to the ice, the players must be introduced…

The Thunderbirds’ starting lineup is introduced to a capacity crowd at the ShoWare Center Jan. 28.

Canon 7D, 2500 ISO, 40mm, f/2.8, 1/640

A couple of stuffed animals have great seats for the beginning of the game. They didn’t even get to watch a full period, however, as Connor Honey opened the scoring for the Thunderbirds with seven minutes left in the period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/800

Before that, though, the Thunderbirds had a couple of other decent shots on goal…

Defenseman Dave Sutter takes a shot on the Portland goal early in the first period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 73mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Center Connor Sanvido watches as Portland goalie Mac Carruth saves his shot in the first period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

As said before, Connor Honey put the Thunderbirds on the scoreboard with his first goal as a Thunderbird. Just as the celebration started on the ice, the teddy bears went flying…

Fans toss their stuffed animals onto the ice after Connor Honey’s first

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 53mm, f/2.8, 1/800

Here’s a cool shot I got while the stuffed animals were being thrown on the ice. I like this photo a lot because while you can still see the fans, including a couple bears that hadn’t been thrown over the boards yet, you can also see the ice starting to get littered with animals in the reflection off the glass. It all made for a nice shot.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 30mm, f/2.8, 1/800

 

Being a Seattle/Portland rivalry game, the match was littered with hard hits and checks into the board. Here are a couple photos of those hits including part of a Luke Lockhart string…

Center Justin Hickman is about to slam Portland defenseman William Wrenn into the boards in the Portland zone during the second half.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Center Luke Lockhart jostles for position with Portland defenseman Troy Rutkowski.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

The jostling turned into a good ole-fashioned check later on…

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 28mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Unfortunately I wasn’t in position to get Honey’s first WHL goal, but I did have a nice viewpoint on what could have been his second…

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 40mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 32mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Portland’s William Wrenn blocks a shot late in the second, resulting in a loose puck in front of the Portland net.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And we’ll move to the third period, where I took my normal spot of between the benches. Although I missed left winger Chance Lund’s goal, I did get a good shot of him celebrating with Hickman…

Chance Lund and Justin Hickman celebrate Lund’s goal in the third period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 155mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

For that weekend of games, center Justin Hickman wore a wireless microphone for Q13 Sports. I wanted a photo that showed the mic and ended up with this beauty. Unfortunately, I cannot tell where it is on him. Can you spot the microphone?

Justin Hickman returns to the bench after a shift during the third period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Here’s newly-acquired right winger Dillon Wagner escaping from being pinned into the boards by Portland defenseman Derrick Pouliot. Wagner, a former Winterhawk, was claimed off waivers back in early January.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 195mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

During warm-ups before the game, I noticed something different about the Thunderbirds players: they weren’t wearing the typical dark blue helmet, they were sporting white lids for this game. I’m not sure when exactly the white helmet entered the Thunderbirds’ unifomr options, but it certainly does look pretty slick. Here’s a shot of the helmet on the bench, as modeled by right wing Seth Swenson.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Right winger Branden Troock tries to get at a rebound in front of Portland’s Marruth in the third period.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 170mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And for our last photo, let’s check out one final hit by Justin Hickman…

Hickman stands up Portland defenseman Joseph Morrow late in the game.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Unfortunately that’s it for photos for this post. Hopefully it won’t take me so long to post again, and I hope to see you all down at the ShoWare Center real soon!

‘Til next time, Go T-Birds!

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T-Birds Outlast Everett in Shootout

Hello again, T-Birds fans, and welcome back to Bird Watching.  Again I have to apologize for the delay between this post and the last one, I was busy during the Christmas break and didn’t find the time to put together some photos for you.  No matter now, though, as hockey’s back, I have a day off and photos to show off!

For this edition of Bird Watching, we’ll examine the T-Birds’ shootout win over Everett last week.  Rather, we’ll check out the shootout victory over the Silvertips that took place in Kent on Dec. 27, seeing as the teams played to the same result at Everett the next day.  On the 27th, the Thunderbirds kicked off the second half of the season with two points that could prove crucial in the playoff race later on in front of a sold out ShoWare Center crowd.  Onto the photos!

I don’t get many photos of goalie Daniel Cotton since it’s normally Calvin Pickard between the pipes for the Thunderbirds, so when I learned Cotton recently got a new mask, I jumped at the chance to snap a few photos of it.  Hopefully I’ll get to see it in action one of these games, but until then, here’s a shot of the back of it.

Goalie Daniel Cotton shows off his new mask—and assures anyone behind him of his identity— during warm-ups before the game Dec. 27.

Canon 7D, 2000 ISO, 155mm, f/2.8, 1/1600

As mentioned before, the T-Birds and ‘Tips played in front of a sold out crowd of 6,150 that night, the best crowd of the year.  I wanted to get a nice shot showing the entire bowl, but unfortunately I don’t have a wide enough lens to get that shot.  WPS photographer Brian Liesse did, however, and he was nice enough to let me use the HDR image he took of the entire bowl in this post.  Thanks Brian!

Photo by Brian Liesse, Washington Prep Sports

Nikon D5000, 500 ISO, 11mm, f/2.8, 1/60

Right winger Burke Gallimore tries to sail a rebounded puck past Everett goalie Kent Simpson halfway through the first period.

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

The Thunderbirds had a goal waived off in the first period.  I didn’t catch the reason why it was waived off, so unfortunately I can’t give you all an explanation, but I can give you a photo of the play that didn’t happen…

Gallimore (top) and center Sean Aschim crash the net and send the puck past Everett’s Simpson.  Unfortunately for the T-Birds the goal was disallowed and the score remained 0-0.

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

The game would remain at 0-0 for the rest of the period.  Now onto the second!

The newest Thunderbird, right winger Connor Honey, brings the puck up along the boards during the second period.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

For part of the second period, I tried out a new position right in front of section 107.  As well as giving me a different angle than I’m used to for the second, the move gave me less-damaged glass to shoot through (the glass to either side of goals will always be clearer than the glass right behind it as pucks don’t hit the side glass nearly as often) and allow me to use my 70-200mm lens, which provides a better quality of photo.  Moving, for this game at least, gave me a good amount of shots, much more than I normally get in the second…

Right wing Branden Troock is knocked over in front of the Everett goal by Everett defender Evan Morden. (Note: this could be the play that earned Morden an interference minor, but I’m not sure)

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

Left winger Marcel Noebels watches as Simpson deflects a shot wide of the goal late in the second period.

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

With just seconds left in the period, Marcel Noebels found himself on something of a breakaway—there was only one defender between him and the goal, but that defender was on the other side of the ice.  He fired a shot at Simpson, who couldn’t freeze the puck before Burke Gallimore arrived to threaten the goal…

Everett goalie Kent Simpson tries to freeze the puck before it can rebound to an awaiting Burke Gallimore…

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

Simpson did manage to freeze the puck and stop play, but not before Burke was able to try and knock the puck away from the Everett goalie.

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

 

That’s it from the second period.  During the period, Gallimore one-timed a pass from defender Evan Wardley into the back of the net for a Seattle goal.  It was Gallimore’s 15th goal of the year, and Wardley earned his first WHL assist for the pass.  Noebels was given an assist as well.  Now onto the third period, where I took my normal spot between the benches…

Noebels maneuvers around the outstretched-reach of Everett defenseman Dominik Bittner for a shot on frame.

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

Defenseman Brad Deagle brings the puck into the neutral zone during the third period.

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

Left winger Chance Lund clears the puck out of the Everett zone in the third period.

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

Honey carries the puck over the center line.

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

By now you’re probably thinking, “Wow, Kyle got a lot of photos of people carrying the puck that night.”  You’d be correct: I did get a number of clean shots of the T-Birds possessing the puck tonight.  Why?  I don’t know, but I always like getting stock photos of those I don’t normally catch in images, so I’m not complaining too loudly.  Here’s one more, this time of defenseman Shea Theodore.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 35mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

And in case you were worried about the lack of goalie Calvin Pickard in this post so far, don’t worry.  Here he is doing his best impression of a brick wall.

Goalie Calvin Pickard makes a stick save on an Everett shot during the third period.

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

The shot I didn’t get, however, is a photo of the goal Everett scored to even the score at one in the third period.  Since no one likes to go home with a tie, how about we go to overtime?

Center Luke Lockhart dives for a puck in the opening stages of the overtime period.

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

Pickard stops a shot from Everett left winger Joshua Linquist.

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

Neither team scored in overtime, so the game was sent to a shootout.  The Thunderbirds’ coaching staff, (from left to right) assistant coach Darren Rumble, head coach Steve Konowalchuk, and assistant coach Steve McTaggart, got together and decided who would take the shootout attempts for the T-Birds.

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

They decided to send center Colin Jacobs out first, and he vindicated that choice by sending the puck past Everett goalie Kent Simpson.  Josh Birkholz and Joshua Winquist for Everett didn’t see the same success, however, and it was up to Cody Fowlie to get one past Pickard in order to extend the shootout.  That didn’t happen.

Pickard sends Fowlie’s shootout attempt sailing wide of the net, clinching the victory and two points for Seattle.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 145mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

With the game won, Pickard threw his arms up in celebration as the rest of the team rushed out to greet him.

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

And again, Colin Jacobs and center Tyler Alos found and congratulated each other on the win.

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

That’s it for this post! T-Birds win!  Sorry again for the delay in getting something new up on the blog,  hopefully it won’t be two weeks before the next post again.  If you want to complain about the lack of posts or comment on any of the photos, feel free to do so in the comments section below.
‘Til next time, though, go T-Birds!


T-Birds Take out Royals in Shootout

Well this feels familiar!  Hello again, T-Birds fans, team photographer Kyle Scholzen back here with you after an unfortunately long absence.  Classes have ended for the quarter, though, and that means I actually have time to update this blog again!  I don’t know any better way to celebrate that fact than with photos from a T-Birds victory, this one coming in shootout form over the Royals…

Saturday’s game against Victoria was a roller-coaster ride of emotion.  The first two periods were great as the T-Birds took a 3-0 lead and we saw newcomer Connor Honey’s first WHL point and both Tyler Alos’ and  Colin Jacobs’ first goals of the season.  The third, though, brought about an ill-advised fighting major and game misconduct from Justin Hickman that gave Victoria a three-minute power play during which the Royals erased their three-goal deficit and evened the game up.  A back-and-forth overtime ended with the game still tied, bringing about a shootout that saw just one successful penalty shot, converted by none other than Colin Jacobs.  It was a fun game to cover, so let’s dive into the photos!

Defenseman Braeden Laroque tries to knock Victoria center Steven Hodges off the puck.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Goalie Calvin Pickard deflects a  shot to defendseman Cason Machacek.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Center Sean Aschim controls the puck in the T-Birds’ defensive zone.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Aschim opened the scoring in the game with a well-placed blast from about 15 feet out.  That goal was his eighth of the season and drew a well-deserved celebration from Aschim…

Aschim celebrates his opening goal late in the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 130mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

And to close out the period, let’s check out a shot on goal by right wing Tyler Alos, who would later get his first goal of the year in the second.

Right wing Tyler Alos tries to force a shot through Victoria goalie Keith Hamilton in the closing moments of the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 32mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Aschim’s goal would be the difference between the two teams in the first period, and we now move onto the second, which brought on much the same style of play we saw in the first. Also, the T-Birds capitalized on the many opportunities they had to score, as they converted on two of the four power-play opportunities they had in the period.  For the first goal, Tyler Alos scored his first of the year, and Colin Jacobs also netted his season-opener eight minutes later.  Unfortunately my photos of those two plays didn’t turn out very clear, but I did get a decent shot of Luke Lockhart firing a centering pass towards goal during a power play…

Center Luke Lockhart centers the puck during the second period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 130mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Left wing Chance Lund tries to redirect a centering pass past Victoria goalie Keith Hamilton.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 70mm, f/3.5, 1/1000

Right wing Burke Gallimore tries to collect a loose puck in front of the Victoria goal in the second period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 75mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

And that’s it for the second period, unfortunately.  Now onto the third!

Defenseman Brad Deagle chases after a loose puck with Victoria center Kevin Sunder close in tow.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 85mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

When I’m in the box between the benches, sometimes I feel like part of the game due to how close I am to the action.  I feel the rush of air whenever someone skates past right in front of me, I hear every word chirped at opposing players between the benches (which is the reason why I can’t take video from down there: this is a family blog of course), and I’ve even been sprayed with snow a time or two down there.   Sometimes I feel like such a part of the game it feels like players actually pass me the puck, which is what looks like is going on in this next photo…

Defenseman Cason Machacek passes the puck back into the neutral zone during the third period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 93mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Not even two minutes into the third, right wing Justin Hickman found himself with a five-minute major fighting penalty and a game misconduct for fighting Victoria left wing Zane Jones after Jones tripped a T-Bird.  While it was nice to see Hickman sticking up for his teammate, it was unfortunate that he earned a five-minute major as the Royals used the resulting three minute power play (after Jones’ tripping minor ended) to even the game back up.  Here is the second goal from Victoria on the night, a far shot that Chance Lund tried his best to block…

Lund tries, but can’t block a blast from Victoria defenseman Kade Pilton during a Victoria power play in the third period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 85mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Right wing Connor Honey joined the T-Birds on Thursday, Dec. 8, and this last weekend of games was his first action as a T-Bird (although he attended Seattle’s preseason training camp).  Those two nights, I was tasked with getting photos of him and Jacobs (more from him later, obviously), and luckily they were seemingly right in front of my lens the entire night.  Here is Honey poke-checking the puck away from Victoria defenseman Jesse Pauls.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 125mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

After Hickman’s penalty and the resulting power play, the T-Birds tried to score the game-winner, but were rebuked by Hamilton and the Victoria defense.  They’d have to settle for overtime, where they got three shots on target, including this one by Chance Lund.

Left wing Chance Lund fires a shot on goal.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

None of those three found the net, however, bringing about a shootout to determine what team got that second point.  Before the shootout, however, the teams rested on the bench while the zamboni smoothed the center of the ice and the two goal creases…

While waiting for the zamboni, Alos (left), Jacobs (middle), and Gallimore (right) sat together on the forwards’ side of the bench, chatting with Luke Lockhart (not pictured).

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 80mm, f/2.8, 1/500

Once the ice was clear, it was time for the shootout!  Right wing Branden Troock took for the first shot, but missed.  After a Victoria miss, Gallimore took the second T-Birds penalty shot and also failed to convert.  Luckily, though, Calvin Pickard blocked Victoria’s second shot as well, taken by Kevin Sundher.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 108mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Up third for the T-Birds was none other than Colin Jacobs, making just his second start of the year after recovering from injury.  Having scored his first goal of the year earlier in the game, he was feeling fairly confident; at least confident enough to fire the puck past Victoria’s Keith Hamilton for a successful conversion.

Jacobs’ successful shootout goal was all that was needed, as Pickard also blocked Victoria’s last shot, taken by left wing Jamie Crooks.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

T-Birds win!  That means a pig-pile around Pickard!

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 170mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

This win clearly excited the T-Birds, as you can tell from Alos’ and Jacobs’ reactions post-game.  Jacobs was named the game’s third star, and Alos earned first star honors for a goal and assist in the game. Here they are celebrating the win and two points with each other.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 90mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

What a game!  What a two points!  That certainly was a fun way to come back to Bird Watching, now wasn’t it?  I should be able to post with more regularity, at least for the next three or so weeks, so keep checking back for new updates.  And as always, have a comment or question for me?  Let me know in the comments section below!

‘Til next time, Go T-Birds!

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T-Birds fall to Giants

They lose 4-2 on November 1st to the Vancouver Giants.

Hello, T-Bird’s fans, welcome back. It’s me. Not Kyle me, but Brian me. The OTHER me, or “The Other Guy” as I’m known in the press box at ShoWare. Great, now the blog is bi-polar. Anyway, school got in Kyle’s way again and I’m going to be showing off some photos this time.

Now before I start, I want to say thank you to the three people who stopped me and said hi at the last game. It’s great to get to know the fans and get some feedback on the photos. Hopefully I’ll be saying hi to more of you in the future.

Okay, so I’m going to put as many good photos up as I can, but I doubt I’m going to hit Kyle’s usual 20. To begin…

Nikon D5000 50mm 1/800th of a sec @ f/2 500 ISO

To start off, Dave Sutter runs one of the Giant’s into the boards. I’m sure most of you have seen how the ice can sometimes “puff” up off the ice when the players come to a skidding stop. This is what it looks like frozen in a photo. I always like that effect.

Nikon D5000 50mm 1/800th of a sec @ f/2 500 ISO

This is funny face photo #1 of this game. There is more mist on the ground, but I love the expression on Verdino’s face.

Nikon D5000 50mm 1/800th of a sec @ f/2 500 ISO

This was just after Justin Hickman’s goal in the 1st period. They all lined up quite neatly in my camera frame. There is Hickman on the left leading the charge.

Canon 7D 105mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5 1600 ISO

Here is Verdino being mixed up while going after the puck near the goal.

Canon 7D 135mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

Brad Deagle and Vancouver’s Brendan Gallagher go for a spill while trying to catch up with the puck. Yes, they both ended up on their stomachs, but that Popcorn on the railing didn’t fall off so that’s good. You need to prioritize these things you know.

Canon 7D 18mm 1/500th of a sec @ f/3.5 1600 ISO

Ever wonder what it is like to sit right next to the glass and have someone be smashed right in front of you? Well, aside from the noise, surprise, and sudden jerking motion of the glass, thanks to Tyler Alos, now you can! This is right in front of the camera. I was able to zoom out in time to get this in focus. In the reflections, you might be able to see me holding my camera on the left. On the right is the photographer from the Kent Reporter. He is a fun guy who takes some great shots.

Canon 7D 135mm 1400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

Luke Lockhart is someone else who I rarely get any actions shots of. Fortunatly though, I managed to get one this game. Here he is guarding his goal in a tight spot.

Canon 7D 105mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

Lots of Verdino in this post. Funny how that happens sometimes. Anyway, here he is after getting the puck away and coming up the ice.

Canon 7D 70mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/4.5 1600 ISO

Here is Sutter again, coming straight for me! I DIDN’T DO IT, I DIDN’T DO IT… oh wait, you’re going for the puck.

Canon 7D 50mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/4 1600 ISO

Funny Face Photo #2. It’s not usually a ref, but it is and I can’t help but think that he is horrified that the puck is coming for him. Trust me Mr. Ref, it is.

Canon 7D 135mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

This is a smashing good shot if I do say so myself. Well it is a smash anyway. Tyler Alos gives a little nudge to one of the Giants.

Canon 7D 135mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

A Nobels shot! Yay. That’s two posts in a row for me. This blog must be my good luck charm. He always looks like he is on the prowl for another goal.

Canon 7D 135mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

I would call this shot “Alone in Enemy Territory”. Sutter flies by in the 3rd period to try and get the T-Birds back in the game.

Canon 7D 135mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

Here is a shot right after the second goal by the T-Birds. I love the expressions in the faces of the fans, but I love the attitudes of the players too. Every goal deserves a celebration.

Canon 7D 135mm 1/400th of a sec @ f/5.6 1600 ISO

To wrap up the post, Brendan Rouse flies down the ice for another attempt on goal.

You can see the rest of my photos at http://blphoto.smugmug.com/Sports/Hockey/WHL-Hockey-Vancouver-4-Seattle/19866179_qNNJgT#1562781200_gpFPqxG .

I’m sure Kyle will be back for the next home game which will be a lot closer to Thanksgiving. Nothing like some holiday hockey at ShoWare for a good time.

Until next time T-Birds’ fans, and with respect to Red Green, keep your stick on the ice.


Mid-week T-Birds Photo Break

T-Birds fans, it’s Kyle back with you now.  I’d like to thank Brian for taking over for the Brandon game and sharing his wonderful photos with us.  It’s always nice to get a different perspective on the games every once in a while, and that’s what he’ll be providing this blog.

As for tonight, I wish I had a full 20+ image post in store, but alas grad school rears its’ ugly head and I’m afraid I’ll I have time for tonight is 12.  Hopefully that will be enough to whet your guys’ appetites, but I also do have to save some photos for the upcoming Eastern road swing. Let’s check some shots out from last Sunday’s home game against Everett (I promise I’ll have a more-extensive post or series of posts on the Everett home-and-home weekend later)…

Center Luke Lockhart fires the puck past Everett left winger Jordan Boyd.

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

 Center Tyler Alos takes a shot, but it is turned away by Everett goalie Kent Simpson.

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

Goalie Calvin Pickard (middle) deflects an Everett shot on goal wide for defenseman Braedon Laroque (right) to collect.

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

Right winger Branden Troock tries to steal a puck back from Everett defenseman Austin Adam.

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

Center Connor Sanvido can only watch as his shot on goal gets blocked by Everett’s Simpson.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 37mm, f/2.8, 1/1600

Center Tyler Alos reaches to knock the puck away from Everett center Ryan Harrison.
Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 70mm, f/2.8, 1/1250
Defenseman Jared Hauf races after the puck.
Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 98mm, f/2.8, 1/1250
Alos and center Justin Hickman (left) are involved in a scrum for the puck along the boards.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 175mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Troock (center) and left winger Burke Gallimore (left) skate up the ice to threaten the Everett goal in the third period.

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

Right winger Marcel Noebels fires a shot onto the Everett goal late in the third period.

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

 Center Brendan Rouse (center) and Everett right winger Cody Fowlie (left) jostle for possession of the puck.

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

And, for the last photo in this quick post, I’ll show you a shot I’ve been wanting to get for over a year now. It’s about time I actually get a photo of someone catching the puck…

Alos grabs a puck from mid-air late in the third period.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 175mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Alright, unfortunately that’s it for this blog post.  I promise I’ll go more in depth in my next one.  Also, I have photos from last Friday’s victory at Everett (I made the short jaunt up I-5 for that one) up in the next few weeks as well.

Til next time, go T-Birds!


T-Birds Dice Up Saskatoon

It has taken me entirely too long to get this post up, and for that I apologize.  Just a warning, you can probably expect just one post a week from me going onward, and not until the middle of the week either.  I’ve got class Monday and Tuesday nights, and they take up a lot of my energy (then again, grad schools are like that…).  But luckily tonight’s Wednesday so let’s photoblog!  These are photos from Saturday night’s game against Saskatoon.    Although I was not at the Brandon game last night, Brian Liesse was and he’ll be writing about that a bit later on this week.  We’re tag-teaming photos and the photoblog this year, FYI, so don’t be surprised if you read a post with a different flow.

Anyway, back to the Birds/Blades game.  What a fun game, right?  The first period was entertaining as possession was fairly even—the Blades, who probably held the puck a little bit longer than the T-Birds did—managed 14 shots, but the T-Birds were right behind them with 10; Calvin made some great saves (and I actually got a photo of him for the first time this year); and there was a bunch of jostling and hitting going on for those of you who love that brand of hockey.  On with the pictures…

Here’s that Pickard photo.  Hard to believe I went three games without getting a good one of him, but this one’s well worth the wait.

Goalie Calvin Pickard collects the puck before Saskatoon center Brent Benson can threaten the net.

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

Center Tyler Alos blocks the goal-mouth with his body during a pileup in front of the Seattle net (note: the puck is right under Alos’ leg in the photo).

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

Defenseman Shea Theodore jockeys for position with Saskatoon defenseman Darren Dietz during the first period.

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

Defenseman Kyle Verdino shoves Saskatoon right wing Michael Burns backwards during the first period.

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

Right winger Burke Gallimore put a lovely sniper shot into the net for the T-Birds’ first goal of the night and his first goal in 2011-2012.  Now onto the second period with the score tied one-all…

Left winger Chance Lund fires a shot onto the Saskatoon goal despite Saskatoon’s Dietz’s attempt to prevent the shot.

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

The tie was broken with three minutes left in the second period when center Marcel Noebels got the puck at center ice and beat Saskatoon goalie Andrey Makarov one-on-one for his third goal of the year.  That, of course, prompted the T-Birds on the ice to gather around Noebels in celebration…

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

That wasn’t the only scoring chance the T-Birds had in the second period, however…

Center Luke Lockhart attempts to slide the puck past Saskatoon goalie Andrey Makarov late in the second period.

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

Defenseman Dave Sutter tries to take a shot through Saskatoon’s Dietz’s attempt at stopping him.

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

The second period ended with the T-Birds up 2-1 on the Blades.  Onto the third!

I finally got a good picture of new Thunderbirds defenseman Cason Machacek in the early stages of the third…

Defenseman Cason Machecek brings the puck up-ice in the opening part of the third period.

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

Just two and a half minutes into the third, left winger Mitch Elliot and Saskatoon defenseman Duncan Seimens threw down their gloves and started circling each other, preparing for fisticuffs.  That’s when I got this beauty of a photograph of Elliot and Seimens staring each other down…

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

The fight started, and Mitch Elliot came out on top, pulling Seimens’ jersey over his head…

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

They both took five minutes in the penalty box and the game continued on…

Center Jusin Hickman (right) tries to bat the puck out of the air before Saksatoon defenseman Zach Hodder can.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 175mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Hickman brings the puck up the ice in the third period.

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

With the T-Birds up one in the closing stages of the game, Saskatoon started pressing more, even pulling their goalie with roughly two and a half minutes left.  This forced the T-Birds to fall back on defense, with which everyone helped out.

Alos tries to block a centering pass from Saskatoon right winger Josh Nicholls.

Canon 7D, 1600 ISO, 175mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

Lund sacrifices his body to try and deflect the puck away from the Seattle net.

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

Defenseman Brad Deagle prepares to upend Saskatoon right wing Matej Stransky in the third period.

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

Alos hits the ice to take away a passing lane from Saskatoon’s Dietz.

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

With Saskatoon pulling their goalie, their net was wide open and a delicious target for Marcel Noebels.  He found himself with the puck in space, fired, and…

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

put the final nail in Saskatoon’s coffin.  That deserves another celebration, right?

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

And with that win, the Thunderbirds pulled back to .500 on the season at 3-3.

As I said earlier, we’ll be getting a new contributor to the blog later this week.  Brian Liesse of Washington Prep Sports will be by to post photos of Daniel Cotton’s first start in the WHL.

As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask me something in the comments section below.  I’d be happy to answer anything you’ve got.

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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T-Birds Give Grand Performance on Pink the Rink Night

The third weekend of the 2011-2012 season brought about two home games for the Thunderbirds, against the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday, Oct. 7, and the newest WHL team, the Victoria Royals (formerly of Chilliwack) the next day.   Since it’s freshest in my memory, why don’t we examine the game against Victoria first?

The game started off quickly, with the T-Birds scoring just one minute into the opening period.  I had just enough time to get situated and my camera settings set up before center Tyler Alos sent a centering pass into Justin Hickman, who calmly finished the scoring play.

Center Tyler Alos (right) centers the puck towards Justin Hickman (left), who sent it past Victoria goalie Braden Gamble for the first T-Birds goal of the night.

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

In case you didn’t notice in that last picture, yes, the ice was pink on Saturday.  It was “Pink the Rink Night” at the ShoWare Center to raise awareness of breast cancer and the ShoWare Center’s maintenance staff took that literally, putting chemicals in the ice to turn it pink.  I knew it would be a rare event and make for an interesting photo from above, so I focused on getting an action shot with an entirely pink background.  Just a few minutes into the game, I succeded…

Alos blocks the passing lane in front of Victoria defenseman Hayden Rintoul, forcing Rintoul into a back-pass.

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

Six minutes into the game, the Thunderbirds found themselves on a power play after Victoria’s Kade Pilton got called for roughing.  Just five seconds into the power play, Dave Sutter found himself in a great shooting position, and he promptly took advantage of it, scoring his first goal of the season…

Defenseman Dave Sutter fires the puck past the Victoria goalie during a power play in the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 165mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

40 seconds later, the T-Birds added to their 2-1 lead with a goal by Mitch Elliot.  That goal was the T-Birds’ third of the game, which led to this interesting photo…

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 200mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

That’s right; the first three T-Birds goals came on three shots on goal, giving them a shooting percentage of 100% for over seven minutes of action.  I certainly haven’t seen that before in my hockey-watching days.

One of the (relatively) new players on defense is youngster Jared Hauf.  He played three games as an under-ager for the T-Birds last year, but I didn’t get any good photos of him.  My goal in the first five or so games of this new season was to get a couple decent photos all the new people to have some in case we need a photo of one of them.   Luckily, I got a nice photo of Hauf going down to the ice in order to keep Victoria center Kevin Sundher from shooting the puck into the Seattle goal.

Defenseman Jared Hauf blocks Victoria center Kevin Sundher from the puck directly in front of the Seattle net.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 135mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Also playing a lot more is Connor Sanvido.  He got the start at left wing against Victoria, and worked his way into this blog post with this beauty of a photo…

Left wing Connor Sanvido stretches to reach a loose puck in front of Victoria right wing Austin Carrol.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 150mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

Alos is upended before he can take a shot on Victoria goalie Keith Hamilton in the first period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 100mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

That’s it for first period photos, and the score was still set at 3-1 in favor of the Thunderbirds.   Onto the second period!

Left winger Mitch Elliot fires a shot towards the Victoria goal early in the second period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 62mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

 

Early in the second period, the T-Birds found themselves on the offensive, and Burke Gallimore had a great shot on goal.  It was knocked down by Hamilton, but it was awfully close to crossing the blue line for a score.  Burke thought it was in, and raised his stick in triumph…

Right winger Burke Gallimore raises his stick in triumph after a shot on goal.  The puck nearly crossed the line, but was saved just before counting as a score.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 30mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

I thought center Luke Lockhart had a decent game on Saturday.  He assisted Sutter’s goal and he was constantly in the action all throughout the night.  He was also in front of my camera a lot, like he was for this shot on frame in the second period.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 59mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

For his efforts in the game, Dave Sutter was named the second start of the game.  We already saw how he contributed on offense, now check out his defense as he fights to take the puck away from Victoria’s Rintoul.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 200mm, f/2.8, 1/1000

In the second period, the Royals got one back, cutting the T-Birds’ lead to 3-2.  Now for some third period action!

A shot from left winger Chance Lund gets blocked by Victoria’s Hamilton early in the third period.

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

The story of the game was undoubtedly Branden Troock.  The right winger missed all of last year due to injury and played in just his second competitive game in two years Saturday night.  That didn’t stop him from scoring the last two goals for the Thunderbirds, including the game-winner.  Although I didn’t get a good shot of his first goal, I had a window to his celebration, which was just as good…

Left winger Branden Troock celebrates his first goal of the season with center Luke Lockhart.

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

As I’m writing this blog, I’m realizing that Tyler Alos has been in a lot of photos so far.  So what’s one more? He deserves it…

Center Tyler Alos tries to get in front of Victoria’s Kade Pilton’s pass in the third period.

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

Left wing Connor Sanvido and Victoria defenseman Jesse Pauls race for a puck in the third period.

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

Sanvido hits the ice while trying to reach a puck in front of Victoria’s Pauls.

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

Lockhart gets tangled up with Victoria’s Sundher while they both dash for the puck.

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

These last three photos were evidence of how much Victoria pressed in the middle of the third period in an effort to tie up the game.  It worked, briefly, as they notched it up at four by scoring two third period goals.  That result wasn’t going to hold, though, if Branden Troock had anything to say about it…

Troock fires a shot past Victoria’s Hamilton after stealing the puck from a Victoria defender deep in the Victoria zone.

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 145mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

That goal put the T-Birds up 5-4, giving Troock something else to celebrate…

Troock celebrates his second goal of the game, one that gave the T-Birds the lead with three minutes left to play in regulation.

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

The last three minutes were more of Victoria pressing, having pulled the goalie for the last two minutes or so.  The T-Birds did well, though, and didn’t let Victoria score again.  They threw themselves in front of Victoria shots and battled for pucks.  It was a tough-fought three minutes, as evidenced by this photo of Hickman and Victoria left wing Jamie Crooks on the ground after they both scrambled for a loose puck.

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

Those three minutes ended with no other goals, and the Thunderbirds earned their first win of the year.  It was time to celebrate around goalie Calvin Pickard!

Canon 7D, 1250 ISO, 190mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

What a game!  It certainly was exciting at the end there, and it was nice to see the T-Birds win their first game for Coach Konowalchuk.  Also, it was great to see Troock play so well in just his second game since the 2009-2010 year.

Tell me what you thought of the game, or of the pictures, in the comments section below.

‘Til next time, go T-Birds!

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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!