By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — A regulation hockey goal measures six feet wide and four feet high.
Right now for the Everett Silvertips, those dimensions must seem like they’re measured in inches rather than feet.
Everett created scoring chances, but struggled to put the puck in the net as the Tips fell 4-2 to the Red Deer Rebels on Wednesday night at Comcast Arena.
The loss was Everett’s seventh straight, and during the losing streak the Tips have found the net just 10 times. Most of those games were like Wednesday, where the Tips had their chances, but just couldn’t bury the puck.
“The way things have been going, our kids could have rolled over and they didn’t,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “We had some great opportunities and felt like we could have got more than two. It’s a little bit frustrating, but we have to push forward. Nobody feels sorry for us.”
Matt Dumba and Tyler Ness each had a goal and an assist for Red Deer (10-10-1-1), which built a 2-0 lead in the first period, then fended off the Tips the rest of the way. Conner Bleackley and Cody Thiel also scored for the Rebels, while Patrik Bartosak made 27 saves in goal to earn the win.
“I thought the key for us is we came out hard in the first period,” Red Deer coach Jesse Wallin said. “I thought that was our best period of the night, and getting the two-goal lead was huge. I thought they had some pushback on us in the second and third period, they kept answering back. But we got some timely saves when we needed them, and the fourth goal was big for us in the third.”
Tyler Sandhu and Landon Oslanski scored for Everett (6-13-0-2), which at least was able to get on the scoreboard. The Tips were shut out in each of their past two games, both of which were in Spokane. Daniel Cotton made 25 saves in goal for the Tips.
Everett continues to struggle offensively minus its top two scoring forwards. Winger Joshua Winquist missed his eighth straight game because of a groin injury followed by mononucleosis while center Manraj Hayer sat out his fifth straight because of an upper-body injury. The injuries prompted Everett to move the overage Oslanski from defense to forward for the second time in three games.
Everett’s night was summed up in the final minute when, with Cotton pulled for an extra attacker, a pass was whipped out front to Ryan Harrison. Harrison was right on top of the crease with Red Deer goalie Bartosak nowhere in sight, yet he somehow managed to screw his redirect wide.
“We just need to keep working hard and it’s eventually going to pay off,” Oslanski said. “If we keep doing the simple things we’ll get it going.
“We had a good effort,” Oslanski added. “We made a few mistakes that cost us goals, but our effort was definitely there tonight.”
One consolation for Everett was the Tips received strong efforts from their three 16-year-old forwards. Sandhu scored and Dawson Leedahl and Ty Mappin both recorded assists. It was the first time the three touted rookies found the scoresheet in the same game.
Everett had chances on the power play in the first period, but couldn’t convert, and the Rebels opened the scoring just after a Tips advantage expired at 15 minutes, 38 seconds. Everett turned the puck over at Red Deer’s blue line, leading to a Rebels two-on-one. Turner Elson’s pass to Dumba was deflected, but Dumba still finished off the play.
The Rebels then struck again with 13.3 seconds remaining in the period. The Tips couldn’t clear their zone, and eventually Ness blew a slap shot past Cotton from the top of the right circle to make it 2-0.
Everett ended its seven-period goal-less drought 1:36 into the second period. Bartosak spilled Nick Walters’ slap shot from the point, and Sandhu cutting across tucked home the rebound.
Red Deer pushed its lead back to two on the power play at 8:39, Bleackley cutting across the slot and wiring a shot into the top corner.
The Tips pulled back within one again at 9:48, chaos around the Red Deer net giving Oslanski the chance to put the puck past a downed Bartosak to make it 3-2.
But Red Deer gained breathing room one more time 5:26 into the third period, Thiel walking into the slot from behind the net and squeezing a shot past Cotton at the near post. Everett pushed after that, but couldn’t score again.
Rebels 4, Silvertips 2
First Period—1, Red Deer, Dumba 4 (Elson), 15:38. 2, Red Deer, Ness 6 (Underwood), 19:46. Penalties—Underwood, Red Deer (holding), 3:56; McCoy, Red Deer (tripping), 13:28.
Second Period—3, Everett, Sandhu 5 (Walters, Leedahl), 1:36. 4, Red Deer, Bleackley 2 (Ness), 8:39 (pp). 5, Everett, Oslanski 6 (Mappin, Walters), 9:48. Penalties—Dumba, Red Deer (interference), 3:39; Betker, Everett (cross checking), 7:20.
Third Period—6, Red Deer, Thiel 2 (Dumba, Gaudet), 5:26. Penalties—Boomgaarden, Red Deer (holding), 7:09.
Shots on goal—Red Deer 15-9-5—29. Everett 9-9-11—29. Power-play opportunities—Red Deer 1 of 1. Everett 0 of 4.
Goalies—Red Deer, Bartosak 8-6-1-0 (29 shots, 27 saves). Everett, Cotton 5-4-0-0 (29 shots, 25 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.