By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Wednesday night, the Everett Silvertips were like a shiny Washington red delicious apple freshly plucked from the tree.
Everett turned in a tasty performance Wednesday, knocking off the Kamloops Blazers 3-1 at Comcast Arena. The Silvertips were clean, efficient and disciplined, dominating the puck throughout a game that was more one-sided than the final score indicated.
“I thought we played a really steady, solid game,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “That’s a tough two-game swing for Kamloops, to play at home (Tuesday night) and then have to drive down here. So that’s really hard on them. But you also have to play hard to take advantage of that.
“I’m glad we got off to good, hard start and didn’t give their tired legs a reason to get into the game.”
Joshua Winquist continued his offensive scoring spree for the Tips, notching a goal and two assists. Kamloops had no answer for Everett’s line of Winquist, Manraj Hayer (one goal, one assist) and Tyler Sandhu (two assists), but then the Blazers have plenty of company in that regard as the trio has combined for an astonishing 37 points the past six games. Winquist alone has 18 points during that stretch.
“I guess it was just one of those nights where it was clicking,” said Sandhu, who was singled out for praise by Constantine for his work in close to the net. “Things seem to be going really well. Obviously Josh is on fire and Manny is on fire. That helps out a lot.
“(Winquist) is a great hockey player,” Sandhu added about his red-hot linemate. “He knows how to find areas, and he’s such an easy player to play with. You always know where he is and he always gets open.”
But though it was Winquist, Hayer and Sandhu who did the damage on the scoresheet, the domination of the puck was a full team effort. There was even a shift in the second period when Everett’s fourth line, containing two players who have yet to turn 16 and a third making his Silvertips debut, kept Kamloops’ top line pinned.
“Early in the game we just tried to get pucks down in their zone, get it down below the goal line and use our fresher legs to try and have a lot of offensive zone possession time,” Constantine said. “We did a pretty good job of that in the first.”
Ivan Nikolishin scored the other goal for Everett (12-3-2-0), which outshot Kamloops 38-18. It was the second straight dominating performance by the Tips, following Saturday’s 5-0 victory over Seattle in which Everett outshot the T-birds 35-16. Everett also played a very disciplined game as the Tips handed the Blazers just one power play.
Daniel Cotton came a whisker away from recording his second straight shutout in goal for Everett, as Kamloops’ Aspen Sterzer spoiled the shutout bid with 1 minute, 12 seconds remaining. Cotton finished with 17 saves.
Taran Kozun made 35 saves in net for the Blazers (6-11-1-1) to keep the game from being a rout. He was particularly sharp in the first period when he nearly blanked Everett’s 17-shot assault on goal.
Everett dominated the puck in the first period, outshooting Kamloops 17-6, but the Tips didn’t get their reward until the final minute. Skating four-on-three, Nikolishin’s slap shot pinballed off the defense and into the net, giving Everett a 1-0 lead 49.5 seconds remaining.
“I think the hardest part of traveling and playing on the road is the first period, because you have to get your legs,” Constantine said about the importance of getting a goal in the first. “If they come out of the first period 0-0, it doesn’t matter that we somewhat controlled the play, it’s a hockey game. So getting the first goal was huge to get something out of the fact we played pretty hard in the first period.”
The Tips continued to control play in the second and extended their lead. Winquist scored his sixth goal in the past four games at 6:37 when Sandhu found his own rebound and whipped a pass to Winquist in the opposite circle. Winquist then set up Everett’s third at 15:22. He sent a back-door pass to Hayer, and while Hayer didn’t make full contact with his one-timer, he got enough of the puck to get it past Kozun and make it 3-0.
Everett kept the Blazers at arm’s length in the third until Kamloops got a consolation goal with 1:12 remaining. Sterzer beat Everett defenseman Noah Juulsen for speed and scored around Cotton to deny Cotton his second consecutive shutout.
Everett handed a Tips debut to winger Darcy DeRoose. DeRoose was added to the roster over the weekend after beginning the season with the Estevan Bruins of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. … Tips winger Dawson Leedahl served the final game of the two-game suspension handed down by the WHL for his checking-from-behind major penalty against Brandon on Friday. He’s eligible to return Friday at home against Tri-City. … Kamloops played without key center Matt Needahm. Needham did not make the trip because of the flu.
Silvertips 3, Blazers 1
Kamloops 0 0 1 — 1
Everett 1 2 0 — 3
First Period—1, Everett, Nikolishin 4 (Winquist, Hayer), 19:10 (pp). Penalties—Rehill, Kamloops (roughing), 18:31; DeRoose, Everett (roughing), 18:31; Souto, Kamloops (interference), 19:03.
Second Period—2, Everett, Winquist 14 (Sandhu), 6:37. 3, Everett, Hayer 10 (Winquist, Sandhu), 15:22. Penalties—Sterzer, Kamloops (interference), 9:39; Rehill, Kamloops (tripping), 11:01.
Third Period—4, Kamloops, Sterzer 10 (Rehill), 18:48. Penalties—Kornelsen, Kamloops (tripping), 6:16; Clouston, Kamloops (interference), 11:26; Mueller, Everett (roughing), 12:49.
Shots on goal—Kamloops 6-8-4—18. Everett 17-14-7—38. Power-play opportunities—Kamloops 0 of 1. Everett 1 of 5.
Goalies—Kamloops, Kozun 1-7-1-0 (38 shots, 35 saves). Everett, Cotton 3-1-1-0 (18 shots, 17 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.