Jackson Berezowski produced the quintessential captain’s performance, and as a result he finds himself on the cusp of Everett Silvertips history.
In one of the most traumatic weeks of the Tips’ 20 years in the WHL, Berezowski took it upon himself to settle the ship, scoring an incredible eight goals in three games as Everett responded to the trade deadline by going 2-1, thus letting the rest of the league know that the Tips aren’t going away despite being sellers at the deadline.
The explosion of goals also gave the 20-year-old winger 110 in his Everett career, pulling him into a tie for second all-time with Bryce Kindopp and within two of Patrick Bajkov’s franchise record of 112.
Last week’s games were Everett’s first since the trade deadline, when the Tips executed one of the biggest deals in WHL history by sending defenseman Olen Zellweger and center Ryan Hofer to Kamloops in exchange for four players and 10 prospects draft picks. It was the type of move that will help the organization big-time in the future, but could be a morale sapper in the present.
Berezowski made sure the Tips reacted in a positive way. In the first game after the deadline Berezowski scored four goals and dished out two assists as Everett won 9-3 at Spokane — it was only the fifth four-goal game in franchise history. He then added two goals and an assist in Friday’s 6-3 home loss to Kamloops and followed up with another two goals and an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory at home over Tri-City.
Six of the eight goals were scored within six feet of the goal, as the 5-foot-10 Berezowski showed that a player doesn’t need to be a giant to be effective as a net-front presence.
“He’s the best,” Everett coach Dennis Williams said following Friday’s game. “I’ve had him since day one and there’s been no better leader or captain we’ve had here in this organization. … If you could mould a team of players around someone it’s Jackson. He comes to play every night, battles and does everything right.”
Three stars of the week
Third star: Kaden Hammell. The 17-year-old defenseman, acquired from Kamloops at the trade deadline and tasked with effectively replacing Zellweger, had a heck of a first week with the Tips. He scored a goal in his debut Wednesday at Spokane and finished with a goal and four assist across three games.
Second star: Austin Roest. The 18-year-old center was Berezowski’s main set-up man during the week, finishing with three goals and seven assists, and all seven of the assists came on Berezowski goals. Roest is now fourth in the league in scoring with 57 points (25 goals, 32 assists) in 40 games.
First star: Berezowski. What more can be said about Everett’s captain? It was about as good a week as a player has had in franchise history, and he was rewarded by being named the WHL Player of the Week.
The week ahead
Everett has a three-game week ahead. It begins Wednesday when the Tips welcome the Lethbridge Hurricanes to town. Lethbridge, the fourth of six Central Division teams to come to Everett this season, is 24-15-1-2 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hurricanes are led in scoring by 20-year-old forwards Jett Jones (15 goals, 20 assists) and Cole Shepard (15 goals, 21 assists).
Next up is a home game against Spokane on Friday. Everett is 3-0 against the Chiefs (8-28-1-2) this season, having scored at least seven goals on each occasion. Spokane is led by 19-year-old forward Chase Bertholet (18 goals, 25 assists).
The week concludes with a daunting trip to Kent to face the powerhouse Seattle Thunderbirds. Seattle (30-7-1-1) has a three-point lead over Portland atop the Western Conference, though the T-birds are coming off their six-game trip through the East Division during which they only went 3-3. Seattle has so many weapons, though 18-year-old defenseman Kevin Korchinski (four goals, 30 assists) may be the most dangerous.
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