EVERETT — When Everett Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson fired coach Mark Ferner on Tuesday, he vowed the team would play a more offensive brand of hockey.
If Game 1 of the new regime is an indication, get ready for a wild ride.
Everett lit the lamp seven times and the Tips began the new era with a 7-4 victory over the Victoria Royals on Friday night at Comcast Arena. The seven goals were the most Everett has scored in a game this season.
“I liked what I saw,” said Davidson, who’s also serving as interim coach for the remainder of the season. “I thought we had a lot of jump, we were skating and made a lot of pretty good plays tonight. Obviously we had some mistakes, but it was a good win.”
Connor Cox, Stathis Soumelidis, Kohl Bauml, Cole MacDonald and Joshua Winquist scored goals, Ryan Harrison added a pair of empty netters, and Tyler Sandhu dished out three assists for the Tips (17-24-0-2). Austin Lotz earned the win in goal with 28 saves.
Former Silvertip Trent Lofthouse, returning to Everett for the first time since being traded to Victoria last week, scored one of the Royals’ four goals. Tim Traber, Brett Cote and Austin Carroll also scored for Victoria (20-17-1-2), while Patrik Polivka made 26 saves in net.
Everett came into the game having scored 102 goals in 42 games, a rate of 2.4 per game that was the lowest in the WHL’s Western Conference. But the Tips scored early and often Friday. Everett displayed a degree of aggressiveness and creativity rarely seen this season, and the Tips led 2-0 13 minutes into the game. Then after the Royals scored three times late in the first to take the lead, Everett scored three straight in the second to wrest back control.
Victoria pulled back within one with 3:59 remaining in regulation, but Harrison iced it for the Tips.
“We’re trying to be more creative out there,” Sandhu said about the change in Everett’s style of play. “We’re all trying to move the puck more and open up more room for each other.
“I love playing that way,” Sandhu added. “I think creativity is a huge thing. Even defensively we’re trying to be creative.”
The way the Tips played Friday is just the style Davidson hopes instill the remainder of the season.
“That’s what we talked about the last three days, and kept harping on the bench that if we’ve got the puck we’re playing offense,” Davidson said. “I don’t care what the score is, you have to keep playing with the puck, controlling it and making plays. When you play this way there’s going to be nights where bounces don’t go our way and we’ll probably pay for it. But I don’t think we hurt ourselves by making bad plays with the puck too much tonight.”
Everett came out flying and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Cox opened the scoring on the power play at 6:25, converting a back-door feed from Sandhu. Then Soumelidis made it 2-0 at 12:58, flipping a backhander into the top corner after a faceoff.
Victoria stormed back with three goals in the final six minutes of the period to go ahead 3-2. The Royals got on the board during a power play at 14:10, Cote’s shot pinballing off Traber and past Lotz. Lofthouse tied it at 18:00 when he split the defense and made a move around Lotz. Then Victoria took the lead with 51.1 seconds remaining when Brandon Magee’s shot in transition deflected off Cote and in.
However, then it was Everett’s time to score three straight in the second. Bauml re-tied it at 1:51, converting a two-on-one feed from Reid Petryk. MacDonald restored Everett’s lead at 3:28, putting a slap shot through traffic and through Polivka. Then Winquist made it 5-3 with 5.9 seconds remaining in the period on the power play, finishing off a nice passing move in transition involving Sandhu and Ty Mappin.
Carroll got Victoria back within one with 3:59 remaining, powering out of the corner and spinning a shot past Lotz to set up a white-knuckle finish. But Harrison prevented any late drama.
Everett welcomed three players back to the lineup from international duty. Defenseman Mirco Mueller was back from representing Switzerland at the World Junior Hockey Championships, while Sandhu and Mappin returned from playing for Team Pacific at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. … Everett also gave a debut to defenseman Ayrton Nikkel. Nikkel was acquired from Brandon in exchange for defenseman Nick Walters at Thursday’s trade deadline.
Silvertips 7, Royals 4
First Period—1, Everett, Cox 1 (Sandhu, Mappin), 6:25 (pp). 2, Everett, Soumelidis 3 (Sandhu), 12:58. 3, Victoria, Traber 12 (Cote, Gogolev), 14:10 (pp). 4, Victoria, Lofthouse (Deacon), 18:00. 5, Victoria, Cote 7 (Magee, Fisher), 19:08. Penalties—Betker, Everett (roughing), 1:39; Kanzig, Victoria (fighting), 4:39; Soumelidis, Everett (fighting), 4:39; Crunk, Victoria (roughing), 5:25; Carroll, Victoria (fighting), 11:31; Betker, Everett (fighting), 11:31; Mappin, Everett (hold stick), 13:25.
Second Period—6, Everett, Bauml 13 (Petryk, Harrison), 1:51. 7, Everett, MacDonald 2 (Cox), 3:28. 8, Everett, Winquist 17 (Sandhu, Mappin), 19:54 (pp). Penalties—Harrison, Everett (boarding), 8:10; Hayer, Everett (hooking), 12:12; Carroll, Victoria (cross checking-roughing), 19:36, Harrison, Everett (roughing), 19:36.
Third Period—9, Victoria, Carroll 8, 16:01. 10, Everett, Harrison 5, 18:27 (en). 11, Everett, Harrison 6 (Bauml), 19:13 (en). Penalties—Carroll, Victoria (high sticking), 6:34.
Shots on goal—Victoria 13-10-9—32. Everett 14-9-10—33. Power-play opportunities—Victoria 1 of 4. Everett 2 of 3.
Goalies—Victoria, Polivka 16-10-1-2 (31 shots, 26 saves). Everett, Lotz 9-13-0-1 (32 shots, 28 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.