Chalk up the weekend as a learning experience for the Everett Silvertips.
Everett saw its schedule shift into fourth gear over the weekend as the Tips played their first stretch of three games in three days this season. Everett only won one of the three contests, but the Tips are hoping the experience gained pays dividends in the future.
The weekend opened well enough for Everett, as the Tips topped the Brandon Wheat Kings 2-1 in overtime Friday night at Angel of the Winds Arena. However, Everett was beat convincingly the following night in a 5-1 loss at home against the Portland Winterhawks. Then on Sunday on the road against the Tri-City Americans, the Tips had a lead in the third period only for Tri-City to tie it, then score the game-winning goal with just 1 minute, 32 seconds remaining in regulation to win 5-4.
The 1-2 weekend left Everett 5-5-0-0 and tied for fifth place in the U.S. Division, six points behind first-place Portland.
“Overall it was a good learning experience for our group,” Everett coach Dennis Williams said via text message. “I thought Friday night we struggled to find our game, but found a way to win. Saturday we started off strong, but never really gained a lot of traction.
“Sunday was a tough loss,” Williams continued. “We played a good road game against a good, rested team. Losing (top-pairing defenseman Kaden Hammell, who suffered an upper-body injury) in the first (period) hurt, but our D did a good job filling his void. It was an unfortunate winning goal that goes off our player’s shin pad and in. That’s the way it goes. We will learn from the weekend and it will make us better as we move forward.”
Williams said the extent of Hammell’s injury was unknown. He’s expected to be evaluated early this week.
The game against Portland was particularly instructive in determining where Everett stands in the U.S. Division hierarchy. This was the Tips’ second game against the Winterhawks, who are considered the division favorites this season because of their high-powered offense, and both were won convincingly by Portland. If anything Saturday’s game was worse for Everett than the 4-1 loss at Portland on Oct. 6, as in the earlier defeat the Tips at least outshot the Winterhawks 43-26 in a road game, while on Saturday Everett was outshot 47-20 despite being at home.
“As for the game against Portland, we need to play our game and not try and play their game,” Williams said.
Getting a feel for a three-in-three weekend is important for Everett, as it was the first of nine three-in-threes this season, including two in the next four weeks.
Three stars of the week
Third star: Carter Bear. The 17-year-old rookie forward scored two goals across the three games, one against Brandon and one against Tri-City. With five points in 10 games, Bear is showing evidence he could develop into an impact offensive player at the WHL level.
Second star: Austin Roest. The 19-year-old forward had a goal and an assist, and his goal was a big one as he poked home a rebound for the overtime winner against the Wheat Kings.
First star: Tyler Palmer. The 20-year-old goaltender was Everett’s saving grace against Brandon as he stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced and made some big-time saves. And although he allowed five goals against Portland, Palmer had a heavy workload as he was peppered with 47 shots. For the week he finished with a .923 save percentage.
The week ahead
There’s no rest for the weary as the Tips are back at it again on Wednesday with a rematch against Tri-City in Everett. The Tips then host the Wenatchee Wild on Friday before traveling to face the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday.
Tri-City (6-3-0-1) has won both meetings between the two teams so far this season. The Americans are led by 20-year-old forward Parker Bell (three goals, five assists) and 18-year-old defenseman Lukas Dragicevic (three goals, two assists).
Wenatchee (5-6-1-0) has won two straight behind 20-year-old defenseman Graham Sward (three goals, 14 assists) and 19-year-old forward Conor Geekie (four goals, seven assists). The Wild are still waiting to see if they get star forwards Zach Benson and Matthew Savoie back from the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
Spokane (4-4-2-0) is winless in its past three contests, though two of those went to overtime. The Chiefs are led by 17-year-old forward Berkly Catton (six goals, nine assists) and 19-year-old defenseman Brayden Crampton (two goals, 11 assists).