(1090 The Fan) — A three game slide after clinching a playoff spot was not what Steve Konowalchuk and his Seattle Thunderbirds were looking for.
Over the previous 18 games prior to their recent skid, the T-Birds averaged 3.16 goals per game as they won 14 and ascended to fourth in the Western Conference standings. Although it is a small sample size, the T-Birds are down to 2.3 goals a game in their three losses.
The problem with the T-Birds lately, as coach Konowalchuk sees it, is the consistency to a man through all four lines. He’s seeing too many turnovers, soft plays and just overall “casual moments.”
“We try to get some momentum, then maybe a penalty. We just couldn’t keep rolling,” Konowalchuk said. “Until we get everybody going, we are going to have a tough time winning games.”
Thunderbirds’ forward and captain, Justin Hickman, agrees with his coach. Hickman mentioned the team’s discipline being an issue over the last week.
“I think discipline is something for us,” admitted Hickman after Saturday’s loss. “Lately we’ve been taking too many penalties and you know, I think when we are playing well we have four lines playing sixty minutes of north-south hockey, our turnover numbers are way down, we’re not taking penalties and we’re executing when we have chances.
“I think that we are making strides in the right direction. I think we played a pretty good game (Saturday),” continued Hickman. “We just got to keep our heads up and just make sure that we correct the things that we need to correct, and the things we are doing well, keep doing those.”
His coach agreed, mentioning the overall play from line to line was better than what he saw on Friday night in a loss to Everett.
“I liked some things there…we were able to, as the game went on, definitely takeover more and more of the pace,” Konowalchuk said. “It’s just the mindset still has to be a little more desperate.”
And what will it take for his team to come out of its current slide and finish the remaining 10 games of the regular season in peak form with home ice advantage still on the line.
“Consistency every shift,” answered Konowalchuk adamantly.
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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