By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The growing pains continued for the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday night.
Everett played a mistake-filled game, and the Tips were blown out at home for the second time in four days, falling 6-1 to the Tri-City Americans at Comcast Arena.
The Tips were thrashed 8-0 Saturday by a Portland team that has the best record in the WHL and was just playing at a different level.
On Tuesday, Everett faced a Tri-City team that also has a good record, and the Americans scored some pretty goals. However the Tips, who going through a reboot following last week’s firing of coach Mark Ferner, also gave Tri-City plenty of help.
“I think we made some rookie mistakes that cost us some goals,” said Everett interim coach Garry Davidson, who’s attempting to install an offense-oriented system on the fly.
“We made a couple of mistakes, had some bad defensive zone coverage and didn’t do a very good job defensively,” Davidson added. “We can talk about trying to create offense, but we still have to do the job when they have the puck, too. We didn’t do it on either side of the puck tonight.”
Six different players found the net for Tri-City (25-16-1-2), which emphatically won the special teams battle. Michal Plutnar, Mitch Topping and former Silvertip Jesse Mychan scored power-play goals as the Americans went a perfect three-for-three with the advantage. Brian Williams, Parker Bowles and Justin Gutierrez scored even-strength goals for Tri-City.
The Americans also received a strong performance from goaltender Luke Lee-Knight. Lee-Knight, standing in for injured No. 1 Eric Comrie, made 32 saves.
“I thought our goalie played terrific the first half of the game and really was the difference in the game for us,” Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. “He allowed us to get our feet going, and I thought we scored some nice goals.”
Manraj Hayer scored the lone tally for Everett (17-26-0-2). Austin Lotz made 38 saves in net for the Tips.
Everett actually played a solid first period, and the Tips were unfortunate to find themselves trailing 1-0 going into the second.
However, it all fell apart for the Tips from there. Plutner scored on the power play 2 minutes, 51 seconds into the period to give the Americans a 2-0 lead, and the Tips appeared flustered the rest of the way. Everett struggled controlling the puck, completing passes and getting out of the defensive zone. Tri-City was more than happy to take advantage.
“What it boils down to is we had a lot of chances early in the game and we didn’t capitalize,” Davidson said. “I think an early goal like that can really give you some momentum and get the spirits going. We fell behind by one or two, then we make one mistake and it’s in the back of our net again. We’ve got to figure out a way to get more pucks in the net early.”
Everett had several good scoring chances in the first period, the best coming when Lee-Knight robbed Reid Petryk on a two-on-one feed from Ryan Harrison.
Moments later Tri-City took the lead. Williams blew around Tips defenseman Micheal Zipp, then scored around Lotz to give the Americans a 1-0 lead at 13:51.
The Tips then struggled controlling the puck in the second period, and clinical finishing by the Americans turned the game into a rout. Plutnar blew a slap shot from the point into the top corner during a power play at 2:51 to make it 2-0. Bowles wristed a shot through traffic and past Lotz 1:26 later to increase the lead to three. Then at 12:20 Gutierrez cut across the slot and fired across the grain and into the corner, giving Tri-City a commanding 4-0 lead.
Everett got one goal back early in the third, Hayer’s shot off a faceoff win taking a deflection and rolling into the corner. But Tri-City ended it by scoring on both ends of a five-on-three midway through the period.
Four Silvertips were listed in the NHL Central Scouting Service’s midterm rankings for the 2013 NHL draft Tuesday. Defenseman Mirco Mueller, who missed Tuesday’s game because he’s scheduled to participate in the CHL Top Prospects Game today in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was ranked 12th among North American Skaters, which projects him as a first rounder. Defensemen Ayrton Nikkel and Austin Adam were ranked 155th and 195th, respectively. Lotz was ranked 11th among North American goaltenders. … Everett also played without overage defenseman Connor Cox because of a neck issue, meaning overager Landon Oslanski moved back to defense from right wing.
Americans 6, Silvertips 1
First Period—1, Tri-City, Williams 13 (Plutnar, Bowles), 13:51. Penalties—Mychan, Tri-City (roughing), 4:59; Nikkel, Everett (roughing), 4:59; Dallman, Tri-City (roughing), 18:04; Harrison, Everett (roughing), 18:04.
Second Period—2, Tri-City, Plutnar 5 (Dow), 2:51 (pp). 3, Tri-City, Bowles 11 (Dow, Williams), 4:17. 4, Tri-City, Gutierrez 2 (Messier), 12:20. Penalties—Winquist, Everett (holding), 1:14; Messier, Tri-City (tripping), 8:31.
Third Period—5, Everett, Hayer 8 (Winquist), 5:54. 6, Tri-City, Topping 6 (Feser), 12:13 (pp). 7, Tri-City, Mychan 2 (Topping), 12:55 (pp). Penalties—Gutierrez, Tri-City (fighting), 2:03; Zipp, Everett (fighting), 2:03; Nikkel, Everett (tripping), 10:23; Harrison, Everett (tripping), 11:59; Walter, Tri-City (cross checking), 14:34.
Shots on goal—Tri-City 11-13-20—44. Everett 12-11-10—33. Power-play opportunities—Tri-City 3 of 3. Everett 0 of 2.
Goalies—Tri-City, Lee-Knight 4-2-0-0 (33 shots, 32 saves). Everett, Lotz 9-14-0-1 (44 shots, 38 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.