Two former Everett Silvertip fan favorites returned to Angel of the Winds Arena Sunday for the only time this season.
Defenseman Montana Onyebuchi and forward Orrin Centazzo each drew loud cheers from the Everett fans when they were announced as starters for the Kamloops Blazers Sunday afternoon prior to Everett’s 4-0 victory.
“It was really humbling and I appreciate it a lot,” Onyebuchi said.
Both Onyebuchi and Centazzo are 2000-born players who were in their second season with Everett after they were selected in the 2015 bantam draft.
— Chris Mast (@MastImages) February 19, 2018
They were the key pieces in early January’s blockbuster deal that brought forward Garrett Pilon and defenseman Ondrej Vala to Everett.
The Blazers are one of several WHL teams bidding to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup, and both Centazzo and Onyebuchi would be 19-year-olds on that team. The trade was seen as an opportunity for Everett to “win now” and a chance for the two former Tips to “win later” with Kamloops.
“It was crazy,” Centazzo said of returning to Everett. “It felt good, but not to get the win is disappointing.”
Onyebuchi is a big, bruising blueliner who gained many fans in Everett for his playing style and willingness to fight.
“It was really exciting,” Onyebuchi said. “They announced the starting lineup and all the fans cheering, and it was pretty good coming back and seeing all the boys too.”
Screeches from young fans as Montana Onyebuchi emerges from tunnel to Blazer bench in Everett. I rode elevator with some rink workers before game ‘How’s Booch?’ He’s a rockstar down here.
— Jon Keen (@JonKeenNLSports) February 18, 2018
Centazzo is a speedy winger with plenty of potential offensive upside.
“It’s been good,” Centazzo said. “The guys are good to me, I like the organization and everything there. (I’m) playing more.
“I think I have more of a role here with Kamloops than I did with Everett, obviously playing more,” Centazzo added.
The game also featured a pair of Tips tying franchise records. Defenseman and Kamloops native Kevin Davis tied Shane Harper’s record for games play at 335 while Patrick Bajkov tied Tyler Maxwell’s for career goals with 107.
Both look to set new records Tuesday in Spokane.
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