If the first preseason game is any indication, Constantine's second go-round should be more of the same.
Everett used that familiar formula Friday night, defeating the Victoria Royals 2-1 during Day 1 of the Holiday Inn Preseason Classic at Comcast Arena.
Constantine, who coached the Tips to three U.S. Division titles during his four seasons in charge from 2003-07, made his first appearance behind Everett's bench Friday since being rehired in the offseason. He was satisfied with what he saw from his charges in their first exhibition outing.
"I thought it went pretty good," Constantine said. "There's not a lot you can put in place in a week, but some of the things we asked them to do, I thought they did a pretty good job with it.
"No. 1, we just wanted to establish that we're going to work hard and compete hard, and they did that. That's all we could ask for the first game. There's a lot of details we'd like to add to how they're playing, but it takes weeks and months to form the habits that you want in terms of our details. So we weren't too worried about the details, we just wanted them to play hard, and for the most part I thought we competed pretty hard."
In a game between two teams that fielded largely veteran lineups, Reid Petryk and Linden Penner scored the goals for Everett, while Austin Lotz went the distance in goal to earn the victory.
But it was goal prevention that was the story for Everett. The Tips worked hard along the boards and blocked shots, allowing just 18 shots on goal. The fewest Everett allowed in any regular season game the past two seasons was 19.
"I think it was just our hard work and dedication," Petryk said about the key to limiting Victoria's chances. "We were blocking shots out there and working hard and being really physical on them. It was pretty tough for them to get shots.
"I thought we had a good effort from everybody on the ice," Petryk added. "Everybody was going hard and forechecking hard. It was a good win."
Logan Nelson scored the lone goal for Victoria. Patrik Polivka started in net for the Royals and took the loss, allowing two goals on 19 shots through the first half of the game. Coleman Vollrath played the second half and stopped all six shots he faced.
Though Everett excelled in limiting the Royals, it wasn't all because of the defense. The Tips controlled play for significant stretches of the game, keeping Victoria pinned in its own zone.
"I think the key to (limiting the opposition) is always to try and spend some time in the offensive zone," Constantine said. "If the puck's not in your end, you're not going to get scored on. So you have to find a way to get it as quick as you can to the offensive zone and find a way to spend some time there. Part of that's offense, but part of that is just competing hard and not giving up the puck so they can't get out of their end. I think we did a decent job of spending a fair amount of time in the offensive zone, and if you're doing that you're not giving up shots or chances in your own end."
Everett controlled play for much of the first period, and the Tips took the lead at 13 minutes, 5 seconds. Dawson Leedahl dug the puck out along the boards and fed it into the right circle for Petryk, who beat Polivka with a wrister to give Everett a 1-0 lead.
The Tips then doubled their lead on the power play 7:39 into the second period. A nifty drag move by Matt Pufahl at the point allowed him to get around the defender and feed the puck out front for Penner to tap in, making it 2-0.
Victoria got on the board with a power-play goal of its own 6:01 into the third. A centering feed got hung up in skates in front of goal, and Nelson skated in and put the puck away to make it a one-goal game. Victoria tried to find the tying goal, but the Tips were stingy with scoring chances, and Everett nearly got a third in the final minute when Josh Winquist's attempt at an empty net from the red line went off the post.
Other games Friday
The Seattle Thunderbirds scored three goals in the final 22 minutes to defeat the Tri-City Americans 4-1 in the day's first game. Michal Holub, Carter Folk, Mathew Barzal and Keegan Kolesar scored the goals for the T-birds, while Logan Flodell made 28 saves going the distance in net. Taylor Vickerman scored for Tri-City. Nicolas Petan scored a hat trick as the veteran-laden Portland Winterhawks routed the youthful Spokane Chiefs 6-1 in the middle game. Taylor Leier, Chase De Leo and Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored for the Winterhawks, while Adin Hill earned the win in goal with 32 saves. Matt Sozanski scored for Spokane.
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