Seattle Rookie Mathew Barzal is eighth in the WHL scoring race (photo Christopher Mast)
By Andrew Eide
What a weekend for the Seattle Thunderbirds. You could make an argument that it was their best weekend in some time as they tore through the Central Division winning three games in three nights. When the dust settled the T-Birds found themselves with a 6-2 record and 12 points - which is tops in the entire league.
When you win three in a row on the road there are many heroes and picking out three stars this week was more challenging than it has been.
Here's who we went with this week. Who were your three stars for the weekend?
Third Star: Shea Theodore
Since coming back from camp with the Anaheim Ducks Theodore has been playing really well. He is moving the puck and jump starting the T-Birds offense, which has become one of the best in the WHL. The flashy defenseman picked up a goal and three big assists over the weekend (he was originally credited with two more assists but the league reviewed the scoring and made some adjustments) highlighted by his big goal Friday night in Medicine Hat. On that play he showed off his high end skating as he made a Tigers' defenseman look silly, going around him and firing a wrist shot.
Second Star: Danny Mumaugh
Mumaugh got the brunt of the ugly game in Portland last Saturday. In that game he was saddled with six goals, but that had more to do with the way the team played in front of him than it did his play in net. He won two tough games over the weekend, making some huge saves in both to preserve the wins. Friday night in Medicine Hat he made 33 saves as he kept the T-Birds into it long enough for them to win in overtime. Sunday he made 39 saves to preserve a one goal win against the Ice. His 39th save was the best as he dove and got a glove on a Sam Reinhart shot that seemed destined to find the net and tie the game with less than 30 seconds to play.
First Star: Mathew Barzal
What a weekend for Seattle's star rookie. The 16-year-old picked up eight points over the three games and showed off the variety of skills he possesses. He moved the puck well, made pin point passes to set up teammates in scoring positions and played smart hockey. His biggest moment was the penalty shot he converted with 29 seconds left in the Medicine Hat game to tie it. The fact that Steve Konowalchuk tapped him to take such a big shot shows the confidence the club has in Barzal. The eight points vaulted him to the team lead in scoring with 12 points and he now leads WHL rookies and is eighth overall in scoring. For that effort Mathew Barzal gets our first star of the week.
Mitch Elliot returned from the AHL's Utica Comets camp and scored two big goals over the weekend. He only scored two goals all of last year and now has two in three games. The biggest of the two was the overtime winner Friday night in Medicine Hat as he banged away at the puck from in close. The big guy also got in a heavyweight tilt with former teammate Jacob Doty and while he may not have won that fight he showed guts in accepting the challenge. Elliot provided the T-Birds with some tough gritty play all weekend and is going to force the club to make a gut-wrenching decision with their over-aged players in the next week.
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