Rookie Sheahan off to good start with Thunder

2011-01-24T21:09:00Z 2011-01-25T16:45:08Z Rookie Sheahan off to good start with ThunderBy Mike Egenes | megenes@pantagraph.com pantagraph.com
January 24, 2011 9:09 pm  • 

Brodie Sheahan was interviewing for real-world jobs last month in an effort to put to good use his economics and accounting degree from Holy Cross.

Then hockey interrupted.

Bloomington PrairieThunder coach Jason Christie called looking for help a few days before Christmas to fill his injury-riddled roster.

“I thought ‘I’m still relatively young, so I’ll see what happens with hockey,’ ” said Sheahan, a 24-year-old rookie forward.

What has happened since Sheahan’s arrival on Dec. 20? Points off his stick, that’s what.

Sixteen games into his first pro season, the Lethbridge, Alberta native has 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) and carries a four-game point streak into the PrairieThunder’s most difficult road stretch of the season that begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Mississippi.

“I struggled a bit at the start, but (Christie) kept playing me,” Sheahan said. “And I got some ice time with the right (teammates) and that helped me feel more comfortable. Plus, I was being counted on game in and game out. It’s easier (to produce) when you know you have to be one of those guys.”

Christie has been pleased with Sheahan’s ability to win battles for the puck.

“He’s really coming along,” Christie said. “If he loses a puck, he battles until he gets it back. He’s got that determination that that is his puck.”

Going to Memphis: The first-place PrairieThunder holds a two-point lead in the Turner Conference standings with four teams tied for second.

Maintaining that advantage becomes more challenging as Bloomington plays six of its next seven games on the road, including a quirk of the schedule that has the PrairieThunder playing three straight at Mississippi. After this morning’s tilt, the PrairieThunder will stay in the Memphis suburb of Southaven, Miss., this week ahead of games with the RiverKings on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tuesday’s early start is part of the RiverKings’ 8th annual Face Off Field Trip, where 8,000 third- through sixth-graders are expected to be in attendance.

“It’ll be packed,” Christie said. “And you won’t be able to hear yourself think.”

More schedule quirks: Sunday’s game was the PrairieThunder’s sixth Sunday home date this season — by far the most in the CHL.

The next closest teams are Quad City and Tulsa with three, while four teams have played two, five have played just one and six that have not played at home on a Sunday.

Four of the PrairieThunder dates also have been when the Chicago Bears have played.

Bloomington’s attendance is down 15 percent on Sundays at an average of 2,126 per game.

The PrairieThunder is 3-3 on Sundays at home with two dates remaining, including March 27, the same day the NCAA Tournament will determine its last two Final Four teams.

Overall, the PrairieThunder is 14th in the league in attendance with a 2,480 per game average.

Early risers

PrairieThunder at Mississippi                       

Time: 10 a.m. Tuesday            

Broadcast: WJBC-FM (93.7)

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