When the Everett Silvertips were in their glory years during Kevin Constantine’s first stint as coach, the Tips prided themselves on working hard and limiting the opposition’s scoring chances. If the first exhibition game of Constantine’s second stint in charge is an indication, expect more of the same.
Tonight’s game featured two largely veteran squads, and the Tips didn’t give up much of anything. The only goal Everett allowed was on the power play, and I didn’t have the Royals marked down for any other quality scoring chances the rest of the game. The Tips limited Victoria to just 18 shots on goal. Everett didn’t allow that few in any regular season game the past two seasons. The Tips accomplished this primarily through hard work and blocking shots. As a result, Everett spent a good amount of the game in the offensive zone, though they were only able to create two goals from their possession.
Everett’s already pared its roster down to those who have a chance at making the final roster, so there was no one out there who looked like they didn’t belong. I paid particular attention to prospective rookie defenseman Lucas Skrumeda tonight, and once again came away impressed, as he didn’t look anything like someone playing in his first WHL contest. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not sure there’s room on the roster for the 17-year-old Skrumeda, but I’m having a hard time seeing a reason why he shouldn’t make the team.
Another player who looked good today was Matt Pufahl. The overage defenseman wasn’t overly impressive during training camp, but I’m beginning to think he was holding something back. He was more active in the defensive zone, and he had the move of the night when, on the power play, he made a dipsy-doo drag move around a defender at the point, then played a perfect pass out front for Linden Penner to tap in.
Everett needed its first goal. The Tips controlled play in the first period, but they didn’t get any reward until Reid Petryk, following nice work along the boards by Dawson Leedahl, wristed a shot past Victoria goalie Patrik Polivka late in the period. I’m not sure how the Tips would have reacted had all their first-period efforts gone for naught.