By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The new-look Everett Silvertips made their debut Friday night at Comcast Arena. Unfortunately for the Tips, the result was all too familiar.
Playing their first home game in three weeks, and playing their first game without leading goal scorer Tyler Maxwell, the Tips suffered their sixth straight defeat, falling 4-1 to the Prince George Cougars.
Times have been tough for Everett of late. The Tips were coming off a rough nine-game road trip, and then Everett lost its career leading goal scorer when Maxwell asked for a trade earlier this week and was sent home.
Friday night the Cougars heaped more misery on the Tips. Spencer Asuchak scored the opener, then clinched the victory with a late empty-netter.
And afterward, Everett coach Mark Ferner delivered a warning to his players that Maxwell may not be the last player shown the door.
“We have some guys who think they know better, and they’re going to play a way that’s completely different from what we want,” Ferner said. “We’re 21 games in. I’d like to think they know what they’re supposed to be doing. We talked about it, we worked on it all week, and still they want to play a different style. It’s not going to work, and they need to be more committed to what’s important here, which is the game itself.
“I told them this is not their right to be here, this is a privilege, regardless of whether you’ve been here before or are a first-year player. If you’re not going to do what we ask you to do and do it with a certain work ethic, you probably won’t be here at the end of the year.”
Cody Carlson and Martin Marincin also scored for Prince George (6-12-0-1), which pulled out of a tie with Everett for last place in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference. Drew Owsley earned the win in goal, making 18 saves.
Austin Adam scored his first career WHL goal for Everett (4-14-0-3). Kent Simpson finished with 30 saves in goal for the Tips.
Everett was mistake prone and lacking confidence in the first period, and after the Tips were unable to capitalize on a full two minutes of five-on-three, the Cougars grabbed a 2-0 lead. Asuchak struck shortly after the five-on-three ended, taking advantage of a scrambled Everett line change to convert from the slot following a feed from Troy Bourke at 12 minutes, 23 seconds. Carlson doubled the lead on the power play at 17:01, tipping Marincin’s shot from the point past Simpson.
Marincin made it 3-0 6:28 into the second period when he beat Simpson clean from the right point, putting his shot high to Simpson’s glove side.
The game then got angry after the horn ended the second period, with Everett’s Jesse Mychan making a beeline for Prince George’s Jesse Forsberg to initiate one fight, then another fight ensuing shortly after between Everett’s Nick Walters and Prince George’s Campbell Elynuik. Elynuik, a former Silvertip making his return to Comcast Arena, and Walters were given game misconducts.
The fights gave the Tips a spark as Everett’s play picked up in the third period, and Everett got a goal back at 6:39. The puck squirted out to Adam drifting in from the right point, and his slap shot deflected past Owsley to get the Tips on the board.
But the Tips weren’t able to sustain their surge, and Asuchak clinched it with his empty-netter.
“At times we showed some emotion and a little more want to,” Ferner said. “But it needs to be from the start of the game. We can’t stand around and wait to see what kind of game it’s going to be, we have to dictate.”
The Silvertips surpassed 2,000,000 fans in franchise history Friday. Everett is in its ninth season. … Everett continues to be without captain Ryan Murray (ankle) and center Manraj Hayer (leg) because of long-term injuries. … Everett defenseman Lucas Grayson served the first game of his four-game suspension for his charging major penalty.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
Cougars 4, Silvertips 1
First Period—1, Prince George, Asuchak 3 (Jackson, Bourke), 12:23. 2, Prince George, Carlson 2 (Marincin, Belter), 17:01 (pp). Penalties—Inglis, Prince George (checking from behind), 8:47; Jackson, Prince George (tripping), 8:47; Walters, Everett (checking from behind), 16:39.
Second Period—3, Prince George, Marincin 2 (Witala), 6:28. Penalties—Henry, Everett (interference), 11:09; Elynuik, Prince George (slashing), 15:34; J. Forsberg, Prince George (fighting), 20:00; Elynuik, Prince George (fighting-game misconduct), 20:00; Mychan, Everett (instigator-fighting-10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Walters, Everett (fighting-game misconduct), 20:00.
Third Period—4, Everett, Adam 1 (Birkholz, Fowlie), 6:39. 5, Prince George, Asuchak 4 (A. Forsberg), 19:05 (en). Penalties—none.
Shots on goal—Prince George 12-11-8—31. Everett 6-7-6—19. Power-play opportunities—Prince George 1 of 3. Everett 0 of 3.
Goalies—Prince George, Owsley 5-10-0-1 (19 shots, 18 saves). Everett, Simpson 4-11-0-2 (30 shots, 27 saves).