EVERETT — Dennis Williams came to Everett with the plan of increasing the offensive tempo of the Silvertips by creating more shots and scoring chances.
The Tips so far have generated those shots and chances in fairly consistent fashion. Everett poured on 48 shots against Tri-City in Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss and had a season-high 52 shots in a 4-1 win over the Americans on Sept. 24.
However, the Tips have struggled at times with turning those shots into goals.
“We’ve been doing a good job, not only out-shooting, but out-chancing our opponents during this stretch as we looked into the numbers,” Williams said. “But we had lots of opportunities to score goals and we can’t get discouraged. I get discouraged when we don’t have those opportunities, so it’s not for lack of effort.”
It’s something of which the leadership group is fully aware.
“We definitely have to start burying our chances,” said defenseman and co-captain Kevin Davis. “Our chances are there — we just have to capitalize on them and limit our chances against.”
Sometimes it’s not just an issue of getting the shot off, but how quickly. That’s another point of emphasis for Williams.
“We get pucks on our stick and it’s not so much the power of the puck as you’ve gotta get it off your stick so that goalie doesn’t get set,” Williams said. “We’re going to continue to work on that and it’s something that takes a little time, it takes practice and it takes reps.”
That’s especially the case on the power play. Last season Everett was 11th in the WHL as it scored at a 20.7-percent clip during the regular season. Through a dozen games this year the Tips are 16th at 17.5 percent.
Everett is fourth in the penalty kill at 82.6 percent after leading the league last season.
Davis grew into a role as Everett’s power-play quarterback last season when he tied for fourth among defensemen in power-play goals and tied for the lead in power-play assists. This season he’s tied for second in power-play assists among defensemen and is averaging better than a point per contest.
“There’s stuff we obviously have to clean up, but it’s early in the season,” Davis said. “I like our compete-level and it’s early in the season so I’m excited for the next couple games.”
The Tips (4-7-1, nine points) have dropped two straight. Friday they play host to Moose Jaw (7-3-0, 14 points) at 7:35 p.m. The Warriors have also lost two straight, but are ranked No. 9 in this week’s CHL poll. Moreover, Moose Jaw is projected as one of the contenders in the East Division and Eastern Conference.
Moose Jaw is just behind Everett in both special teams categories. The Warriors are 17th on the power play (17.1 percent) and fifth on penalty killing (82.1 percent).
Brayden Burke leads the team in scoring with five goals and 10 assists while Noah Gregor has five goals and eight assists. Jayden Halbgewachs has six goals and five assists, and defenseman Jett Woo, a potential first-round NHL draft pick next June, has four goals and five assists.
The Warriors have also received solid goaltending from Brody Willms who has a shutout among his six wins to go along with a .914 save percentage and a 2.45 goals-against average.
“I’m really looking forward to that game because they’re in the top 10 in the CHL,” Davis said. “They’ll be hungry for a good effort from their group, and we’ve lost two so it should be a pretty good game.”
It will be interesting to see which goalie starts for Everett. Blake Lyda, a 15-year-old affiliate player call-up turned in a 32-save effort Wednesday in his WHL debut. Dorrin Luding is also available with a 3.40 GAA and an .897 save percentage.
Patrick Bajkov (five goals, 12 assists), Matt Fonteyne (seven goals, eight assists), Connor Dewar (five goals, eight assists), Davis (two goals, 10 assists) and Riley Sutter (seven goals four assists) continue to pace Everett’s offense.
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