By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Usually the Everett Silvertips’ annual Green vs. Grey intrasquad game, which concludes training camp, is little more than a glorified scrimmage.
Four lines are rolled throughout, and the players are given little direction beyond being told to go out and play hard.
So imagine the surprise when some regular season Xs and Os were pulled out this year.
Green scored the game’s decisive goal courtesy of something that looked suspiciously like Everett’s actual regular season power-play set-up, and Green went on to defeat Grey 6-3 Sunday afternoon at Comcast Arena.
Ivan Nikolishin, Everett’s leading returning scorer from last season, scored his second goal of the game on the power play midway through the third period, staunching a Grey rally and standing up as the game winner.
“It was a big win, a good game,” Nikolishin said. “The opponent was pretty strong. We got luckier, scored on our chances, and we won the game.
“I think we played pretty hard,” Nikolishin added. “All the vets helped out the new guys and I think it was a good combo of vets and rookies. It was a good game for the whole team.”
Green was in the midst of coughing up a 3-0 lead as Grey, behind two goals from Logan Aasman, had rallied within one, and Grey nearly tied it but for a good save by Green’s Mario Petit.
But then Green was handed a power play, it’s only one of the game, and Green was determined to make the most of it. Usually in the Green vs. Grey game a power play means whoever happens to be next in line on the bench gets the chance with the man advantage. But Green instead sent out five returning veterans who were familiar with Everett’s power play from last season. They followed the textbook, and Nikolishin banged in a rebound from Kevin Davis’ shot from the point, giving Green a 4-2 lead with 8 minutes, 1 second remaining.
“We were joking in the room that, ‘If we get any power plays let’s do something like that,’” said Nikolishin, who set up in his usual power-play position along the boards. “We went and did it, it was pretty cool.”
“I probably saw it coming,” Aasman said wryly. “They wanted to bury us, so it made sense.”
Grey quickly responded and got back within one on Tyler Sandhu’s circus goal. But a goal from Remi Laurencelle and a late empty netter by Gunnar Wegleitner clinched it for Green.
Riley Sutter and Brayden Low also scored for Green, while Carson Stadnyk chipped in with two assists. Austin Lotz, Everett’s returning No. 1 goaltender, started the game for Green and stopped all 15 shots he faced. Petit turned aside 16 of 19 to earn the win.
Sandhu and Blake Bergquist each had two assists for Grey. Starting goaltender Dayton Rasmussen stopped 19 of 22 shots, while Nik Amundrud was the hard-luck loser in relief, saving 22 of 24.
“I thought the quality was really good,” Aasman said of the game’s play. “It was high-tempo and the boys were skating. As much as we’ve been on the ice lately it was a pretty good tempo.”
Sunday’s game concluded Everett’s four-day training camp. The Tips begin practices in earnest this week, with the team’s first preseason games coming next weekend when Everett hosts the Holiday Inn Preseason Classic.
Green scored at the beginning and end of an evenly-played first period, taking a 2-0 lead. Nikolishin got Green on the board 1:21 into the contest when he put away a loose puck in the slot. Then Sutter gave Green a two-goal advantage with just 5.9 seconds remaining. Stadnyk, from behind the net, found Sutter open in the slot, and Sutter put a shot just inside the far post to make it 2-0.
It looked as though Green was going to run away with it when Low made it 3-0 3:57 into the second period, hacking at a puck in front and having it loop over Rasmussen and into the goal. But Grey got a much-needed goal at 14:12 to stay in it. Bergquist’s centering feed for Sandhu was deflected away, but to went right to the trailing Aasman, who picked out the top corner to make it 3-1.
Aasman struck again 1:32 into the third period, performing some deft stick work in traffic before putting a shot into the top corner to make it a new game. Petit then needed to perform his heroics, stoning Bergquist at point blank to preserve Green’s lead and set up Nikolishin’s power-play winner.
Training camp wrap-up
From training camp scrimmages Team Green, featuring returning players Lotz, Low, Nikolishin and Cole MacDonald, took home the third annual Volunteer Cup on Sunday morning. Green went 3-0 in scrimmages on Friday and Saturday during round-robin play, then beat a Red team lead by Ben Betker 6-4 in the championship game. John Greer, an invitee from Lake Stevens, scored twice for Green in the title tilt. Aasman scored twice for Red. … Marc Thompson, who built and maintains the team’s Fanboni, presented the Volunteer Cup to the winners. … Six players tied for the scoring lead in scrimmages as Low, fellow returners Zane Jones,and Patrick Bajkov, rookie Carter Cochrane, and 16-year-old camp invitees Wegleitner and Sean Mallonee all finished with six points. Wegleitner led camp in goals with five. Mallonee is a native of Kennewick who is playing this season for the Everett Junior Silvertips.
Green 6, Grey 3
Grey 0 1 2 — 3
Green 2 1 3 — 6
First Period—1, Green, Nikolishin 1 (Bajkov), 1:21. 2, Green, Sutter 1 (Stadnyk, Nikolishin), 19:54. Penalties—none.
Second Period—3, Green, Low 1 (Dewar, MacDonald), 3:57. 4, Grey, Aasman 1 (Sandhu, Bergquist), 14:12. Penalties—none.
Third Period—5, Grey, Aasman 2 (Skrumeda, Sandhu), 1:32. 6, Green, Nikolishin 2 (Davis, Cochrane), 11:59 (pp). 7, Grey, Sandhu 1 (Aasman, Bergquist), 13:30. 8, Green, Laurencelle 1 (Stadnyk, Mallonee), 17:09. 9, Green, Wegleitner 1 (Laurencelle), 19:17 (en). Penalties—Warner, Green (holding), 8:21; Stockl, Grey (interference), 10:51.
Shots on goal—Grey 11-10-12—34. Green 12-17-18—47. Power-play opportunities—Grey 0 of 1. Green 1 of 1.
Goalies—Grey, Rasmussen (22 shots, 19 saves), Amundrud 0-1 (24 shots, 22 saves). Green, Lotz (15 shots, 15 saves), Mario Petit 1-0 (19 shots, 16 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.