By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The 2012-13 season is supposed to be a festive one for the Everett Silvertips, a celebration of 10 years of WHL hockey in Everett.
However, if this season is a party, Saturday night’s opener was like the cops coming and shutting it down before any of the guests had even arrived.
Everett’s 10th anniversary season began in disastrous fashion Saturday when the Silvertips were thrashed by the Prince George Cougars 6-0 at Comcast Arena.
The Tips looked like anything but a team ready for the regular season. Everett turned in a performance worthy of the Marx Brothers, looking dazed and confused as the Cougars took advantage of every misstep.
“That’s a good question,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “I thought our start was OK, and then we tried to be something we’re never going to be.
“We need to simplify our game,” Ferner added. “We played too much like individuals. Obviously, we need to be better. I addressed our group, that it was unacceptable. Even from a coaching standpoint we need to be better as coaches, too.”
Colin Jacobs was the primary beneficiary of Everett’s struggles. Prince George’s offseason acquisition from Seattle had two goals, two assists and was at the center of just about everything the Cougars did offensively.
Prince George also received an impressive WHL debut from goaltender Brett Zarowny. The 17-year-old rookie opened his WHL account with a shutout as he turned aside all 25 shots he faced.
“I think our goalie was pretty good the first 10 minutes,” Prince George coach Dean Clark said. “I think it could have been different if they get a goal, get the crowd into it. Once we got the first one we seemed to get our feet underneath us. We managed to keep the puck out and score some, too.”
Chase Witala, Alex Forsberg, Caleb Belter and Brock Hirsche also scored for Prince George.
There wasn’t one facet of Everett’s game that was unaffected by the team’s general malaise Saturday night.
Starting goaltender Austin Lotz had a rough night, allowing five goals on 23 shots before giving way to Cole Holowenko to start the third period. Everett’s ragged play not only led to Prince George goals, it also resulted in penalties as Everett’s lack of discipline led to an 8-3 power-play discrepancy. Even Everett captain Ryan Murray, who would currently be with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets if not for the lockout, had an uncharacteristly poor game.
The Tips will be hoping to rebound tonight when they play host to the Cougars again.
“We get to play this team again (today) and we have to learn from this,” Ferner said. “Maybe our guys thought it was going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Everything that could have went wrong went wrong, from our goalie out.”
Everett came out with energy at the start of the game and controlled play in the early minutes. However, a bad turnover in the neutral zone allowed Jacobs to go on a breakaway, forcing Nick Walters to take him down for a penalty shot. Jacobs got his shot under Lotz to open the scoring 6 minutes, 43 seconds into the game.
“That was huge because I think they had some momentum going and I think the crowd was really into the game,” Clark said. “Then we get the penalty shot and score and that took the crowd a bit out of it. That’s junior hockey, momentum switches.”
It was all downhill for Everett from there. Witala doubled Prince George’s lead at 16:38 of the first, when he banged in a rebound on the Cougars’ third attempt.
Things then really fell apart for Everett in the second. Prince George made it 3-0 at 10:37 on another rebound sequence, this time Forsberg putting in the last one. It was 4-0 at 18:39 when, on a two-on-one, Lotz fumbled Belter’s shot and the puck went into the net off his glove. The Tips reacted poorly to the fourth goal, giving Prince George a power play immediately after, and Jacobs got his second at 19:13, sniping the top corner to make the third period academic.
Everett played without two of its three alternate captains. Overage winger Ryan Harrison served the first of a four-game suspension levied for a charging major penalty, and center Manraj Hayer served the final game of a three-game suspension for a checking-from-behind double minor. Both suspensions came from last season’s playoff series against Tri-City. … Everett also played without rookie center Ty Mappin. Mappin, the team’s first-round pick in the 2011 bantam draft, is nursing what was described as a minor nagging injury.
Cougars 6, Silvertips 0
First Period—1, Prince George, Jacobs 1, 6:43 (ps). 2, Prince George, Witala 1 (Forsberg, Jacobs), 16:38. Penalties—Fowlie, Everett (tripping), 7:50; Winquist, Everett (slashing), 12:07.
Second Period—3, Prince George, Forsberg 1 (Jacobs), 10:37. 4, Prince George, Belter 1 (Tkatch), 18:39. 5, Prince George, Jacobs 2 (Ehrhardt), 19:13 (pp). Penalties—Oslanski, Everett (high sticking), 2:07; Rosinskis, Prince George (interference), 8:09; Pochiro, Prince George (roughing), 12:25; Fowlie, Everett (tripping), 13:46; Winquist, Everett (high sticking), 15:49; Fowlie, Everett (boarding), 18:45; Forsberg, Prince George (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:13; Pochiro, Prince George (10-minute misconduct), 19:13; Stadnyk, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:13; McPhee, Everett (game misconduct), 19:13; Ehrhardt, Prince George (10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Oslanski, Everett (10-minute misconduct), 20:00.
Third Period—6, Prince George, Hirsche 1 (Jacobs), 4:40. Penalties—Lofthouse, Everett (delay of game), 5:59; Ehrhardt, Prince George (interference), 10:51; Chynoweth, Everett (embellishment), 10:51; Mykitiuk, Prince George (slashing), 14:08; Murray, Everett (holding), 14:41.
Shots on goal—Prince George 9-14-10—33. Everett 11-6-8—25. Power-play opportunities—Prince George 1 of 8. Everett 0 of 3.
Goalies—Prince George, Zarowny 1-0-0-0 (25 shots, 25 saves). Everett, Lotz 0-1-0-0 (23 shots, 18 saves), Holowenko (10 shots, 9 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.