By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — It was a fitting moment of symbolism for the Everett Silvertips.
Tie score. Two full minutes of five-on-three. Scoring chances galore. But no matter the circumstances, right now the Silvertips just can’t seem to find a way to put the puck in the net.
Everett’s offensive woes continued Friday night as the Tips dropped a 5-1 decision to the Calgary Hitmen at Comcast Arena.
The loss was Everett’s sixth straight, and in those six games the Tips have managed a meager tally of just four goals.
“You can’t win a hockey game until you figure out a way to score more than one goal,” Everett interim coach Garry Davidson said. “They’ve got a good team, and they play a little different game than we’ve faced the last while. They were very aggressive all over the ice, and we struggled a little bit handling that pressure.”
Pavlo Padakin led the charge at the other end, notching a goal and two assists for the Hitmen.
Calder Brooks, Spencer Humphries and Jake Virtanen also scored for Calgary (35-16-1-3), the team with the second-best record in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. Virtanen then added a late empty netter for his second score of the game. Mack Shields made 28 saves in goal to pick up the win.
Landon Oslanski scored the lone goal for Everett (21-30-1-4). Daniel Cotton made 33 saves in net for the Tips.
Everett’s recent dry spell has dropped the Tips to the bottom of the league in scoring. Everett has scored just 132 times in 56 games.
“We’ve been that way all year long. I don’t think it’s anything new,” Davidson said about the offensive struggles. “It’s probably because our offensive guys are young guys and they’re not quite there yet.”
The game’s decisive moment was that five-on-three. With the score tied 1-1 early in the second period, Calgary’s Greg Chase was called for a high-sticking penalty, and Zane Jones was subsequently given a bench minor for his reaction to the call.
The Tips had several good chances during the five-on-three. However, Oslanski hit the inside of the post with a drive from the point, and Reid Petryk missed an open net three times with one-timers at the far post. Even after the power play ended, Ryan Harrison smacked the post with a shot.
“We had a great opportunity on the five-on-three,” Davidson said. “We hit the post and had three other really good chances that didn’t go in the net. That’s our M.O. here. We don’t have a group right now that’s figured out the way to put the puck in the net.
Calgary took control of the game by scoring twice in the following six minutes. Humphries broke the tie on the power play at 9:47 when his wrister from the point deflected into the top corner. Just 1:16 later, a combination of a bad turnover and a bad rebound gave Padakin the chance to set up Virtanen for a sitter.
The Tips rarely threatened after that, and the Hitmen put the game away when Padakin scored on a back-door feed from Humphries 3:11 into the third. Virtanen completed the scoring with a length-of-the-ice empty-net goal with 25.6 seconds remaining.
Everett lived a charmed life in the first period as Calgary drew iron three times, with Alex Roach hitting both the crossbar and the post, and Humphries smacking the inside of the post.
In the midst of that the Tips grabbed the lead. Oslanski has been a major weapon from the blue line because of his powerful slap shot, and he scored his seventh power-play goal of the season when his slapper deflected past Shields at 8:35 to give Everett a 1-0 lead.
Everett had two call-ups in the lineup. Winger Kyle Raymond, the team’s seventh-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, appeared in his third game for the Tips. Goaltender Adam Todd, the third to serve as the emergency back-up since Austin Lotz was injured on Jan. 28, dressed for the second straight game. … In addition to Lotz (ankle), the Tips were without forwards Joshua Winquist (upper body), Tyler Sandhu (concussion) and Lucas Grayson (lower body), and defensemen Austin Adam (mononucleosis) and Ayrton Nikkel (finger) because of physical ailments.
Hitmen 5, Silvertips 1
First Period—1, Everett, Oslanski 13 (Mappin, Harrison), 8:35 (pp). Penalties—Soumelidis, Everett (tripping), 2:34; Brassart, Calgary (hooking), 4:11; Mayor, Calgary (kneeing), 8:22; Mayor, Calgary (charging), 12:26.
Second Period—2, Calgary, Brooks 1 (Helgesen, Padakin), 1:42. 3, Calgary, Humphries 4 (Chase, Sylvester), 9:47 (pp). 4, Calgary, Virtanen 11 (Padakin, Rask), 11:03. Penalties—Chase, Calgary (high sticking), 3:48; Jones, Calgary (bench minor), 3:48; Bauml, Everett (tripping), 8:49; Rissling, Calgary (boarding), 19:24.
Third Period—5, Calgary, Padakin 16 (Humphries, Rask), 3:11. 6, Calgary, Virtanen 12, 19:34 (en). Penalties—Harrison, Everett (slashing), 5:20; Helgesen, Calgary (fighting), 7:41; Soumelidis, Everett (fighting), 7:41; Zipp, Everett (slashing), 11:35; Zgraggen, Calgary (fighting), 19:54; Soumelidis, Everett (fighting), 19:54.
Shots on goal—Calgary 10-17-11—38. Everett 11-13-5—29. Power-play opportunities—Calgary 1 of 4. Everett 1 of 7.
Goalies—Calgary, Shields 9-4-0-1 (29 shots, 28 saves). Everett, Cotton 9-13-0-2 (37 shots, 33 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.