EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips are transitioning into playing a more offensive style of hockey.
Saturday night the Tips received a painful lesson in just how it’s done.
The Portland Winterhawks put on an offensive clinic Saturday, thumping the Tips to the tune of 8-0 at Comcast Arena. The eight-goal loss was Everett’s worst of the season.
Troy Rutkowski and Taylor Leier each scored two goals to lead the barrage as the Winterhawks won their 14th straight and improved to 7-0 against Everett this season.
And Portland continued both those streaks in style. The Winterhawks were lightning quick in their attacks and Portland scored in every way imaginable, including three on the power play and two while short-handed. The Winterhawks even generated quality scoring chances while killing off a five-on-three Everett power play.
Everett had been riding high after scoring a season-high seven goals in a 7-4 victory over Victoria on Friday in interim coach Garry Davidson’s first game behind the bench. But just 24 hours later the Tips found themselves put back in their place by the WHL’s top team.
“They had a huge high tempo and we had a real difficult time playing at that tempo,” Davidson said. “They got to all the loose pucks and were flying out there. We got back on our heels and never recovered, and it just snowballed in the wrong direction, unfortunately.”
Despite the drastically different outcomes between Friday and Saturday, Davidson didn’t think there was a big difference in the way the Tips played.
“I think the biggest thing was the opposition,” Davidson said. “That’s a heck of a good team. They play the game at another tempo and another level. We just struggled with it. Because the tempo was higher our guys probably panicked with pucks as opposed to just playing faster. But that’s all part of the learning process going forward. We’re going to have to learn to pick up the tempo, that was quite a lesson we got tonight.”
Chase De Leo, Brendan Leipsic, Nicolas Petan and Taylor Peters also scored goals for Portland (37-5-1-0), which has won 33 of its past 35 and now has a 10-point lead atop the Western Conference.
“It was a great game by our team, we played well tonight,” acting Portland coach Travis Green said. “Any time you can have a win like tonight you’re happy.
“It didn’t feel like an 8-0 game, it felt a lot closer tonight,” Green added. “I thought their team competed hard tonight. We watched the game tape (from Everett’s game Friday), they played with a lot of energy and a lot of passion. I think it just kind of got away from them tonight.”
There was little Daniel Cotton could do in goal for Everett (17-25-0-2) as he was the victim of six goals on 38 shots before a mercy pulling early in the third period. Austin Lotz stopped three of five in relief.
Before being hired as Everett’s general manager last February, Davidson was Portland’s director of player personnel. Portland’s performance Saturday was an example of how he envisions the Tips playing in the future.
“That’s certainly the type of style I’d like to try and play,” Davidson said. “Their personnel are well-seasoned, particularly their back end. That’s definitely the direction we want to go, but it’s going to take us a while to get there.”
Portland needed a little time to work itself up to top speed Saturday, too. The Winterhawks led just 1-0 after one period courtesy of De Leo’s goal, but they grabbed control of the game in the second.
It began with the first of Portland’s special-teams goals 4 minutes, 32 seconds into the period. While on the power play, Rutkowski picked out the corner with a shot from the point to double Portland’s lead. Leipsic made it 3-0 at 7:26 when he knifed through the defense, then put in his own rebound. Then Petan made it 4-0 at 14:06 with another power-play goal, one-timing a feed from Leipsic.
The game then got out of hand in the third as the Winterhawks piled it on. Peters beat Everett defenseman Mirco Mueller to a loose puck and scored short-handed just 32 seconds in. Then Rutkowski scored on another shot from the point on the power play at 5:18. Cotton departed soon after, but the Tips received no relief as Leier scored at 10:37 and 13:47 to turn it into a laugher.
Winterhawks 8, Silvertips 0
First Period—1, Portland, De Leo 11 (Rutkowski), 6:59. Penalties—MacDonald, Everett (cross checking), 10:24; Mueller, Everett (tripping), 15:16; Leipsic, Portland (interference), 16:44; Wotherspoon, Portland (interference), 17:19.
Second Period—2, Portland, Rutkowski 14 (Rattie), 4:32 (pp). 3, Portland, Leipsic 28 (Petan), 7:26. 4, Portland, Petan 29 (Leipsic, Rattie), 14:06 (pp). Penalties—Betker, Everett (roughing), 2:40; Leier, Portland (roughing), 4:01; Mueller, Everett (roughing), 4:01; Oslanski, Everett (roughing), 13:26; Rattie, Portland (cross checking), 14:06; Leier, Portland (hooking), 14:28; MacPherson, Portland (tripping), 18:34.
Third Period—5, Portland, Peters 12, 0:32 (sh). 6, Portland, Rutkowski 15 (Petan, Rattie), 5:18 (pp). 7, Portland, Leier 17 (Bjorkstrand, Kopeck), 10:37. 8, Portland, Leier 18 (Peters), 13:47 (sh). Penalties—Cox, Everett (cross checking), 4:05; Nikkel, Everett (tripping), 6:24; Iverson, Portland (slashing), 11:57; Iverson, Portland (goaltender interference, fighting), 15:58; Nikkel, Everett (fighting), 15:58.
Shots on goal—Portland 16-17-10—43. Everett 11-10-10—31. Power-play opportunities—Portland 3 of 6. Everett 0 of 7.
Goalies—Portland, Burke 14-3-1-0 (31 shots, 31 saves). Everett, Cotton 8-10-0-0 (38 shots, 32 saves), Lotz (5 shots, 3 saves).