Power play fails Silvertips

  • By Nick Patterson / Herald Writer
  • Friday, December 2, 2005 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – Not so long ago the Everett Silvertips were the best speciality teams squad in the Western Hockey League.

Friday night’s game against the Portland Winter Hawks illustrated just how far those speciality teams have fallen.

And as a result, Everett’s lead in the U.S. Division has shrunk to nothing.

Portland’s Kyle Bailey scored a pair of power-play goals, the second one breaking a tie with less than two minutes remaining, and the Silvertips fired blanks on all of their power-play opportunities. The net result was a 3-1 Portland victory Friday night before a crowd of 6,501 at the Everett Events Center.

“(Specialty teams) were definitely the difference,” said Everett captain Torrie Wheat, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous 17 games with a knee injury. “We were 0-for-7 on the power play and they were 2-for-4. We couldn’t score and we couldn’t stop them, which is a bad combination.”

With the victory, Portland (14-7-1-2) moved into a first-place tie with Everett (15-13-1-0) in the U.S. Division. The Winter Hawks also have five games in hand. The same two teams square off tonight in Portland.

“We didn’t exactly win in the prettiest fashion,” Bailey said. “We sort of had to scratch and claw, and we might have got a little lucky if you look at the shot count. But we got the two points, that’s what we were here to do. We definitely feel fortunate, but we’re happy in the same sense.”

Brian Woolger added a late empty net goal for Portland and Dustin Butler made 32 saves for the Winter Hawks.

Zach Dailey scored and goalie Leland Irving stopped 15 shots for Everett.

A month ago Everett had the top-rated power play in the league and was among the top three in penalty killing. But those rankings gradually have eroded and Friday night they proved the difference. Everett had seven power plays to Portland’s four, including a 59-second span of five-on-three. However, the Winter Hawks twice converted their advantages into goals, and the Tips came up empty.

Because of that, Everett lost a game where it had a 33-18 advantage in shots on goal and carried much of the play.

“I think our health is the No. 1 reason why our power play has been down,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine explained. “I thought our power play looked better tonight. We moved it around pretty good. Having Wheat back helps and getting (Shaun) Heshka back (from injury earlier) has helped, so I think we’re back on the way to turning our power play around.

“Our injuries have hurt on the penalty kill, too,” Constantine continued. “(Cody) Thoring and (Jonathan) Harty (who both sat out with injuries) are really good penalty killers and we haven’t been able to use those guys. We’ve had to use guys who aren’t as prepared to do those things.”

The Winter Hawks, currently the top-rated power play team in the league, took full advantage of Everett’s struggles on the penalty kill. Bailey tied it at 1-1 at 17:08 of the second period when Jon Bubnick’s shot deflected off him an into the top corner.

The game was hard fought the rest of the way, with Everett having several good chances at even strength in the third period. But when Mark Kress took a holding penalty with 2:42 remaining, Portland’s power play pounced. The Winter Hawks moved the puck to Michael Funk at the center point, who wristed a shot toward the goal. Bailey, stationed out front, dragged the shot through Irving’s legs to give Portland the lead.

“I sort of went to the net and Funk did a great job of getting the shot through there,” Bailey explained. “I just stuck my stick out there and figured Irving would be moving side to side and there might be an opening five-hole. It was definitely fortunate that it went in, and was definitely a good feeling.”

Everett then took the lead early in the second period. The Winter Hawks had just killed off three minutes of Everett power plays, including 59 seconds of five-on-three. But it went for naught when Portland defenseman Jordie Fike’s misplay gave the puck to Dailey, who skated free on goal and put a shot between Butler’s legs, giving the Tips a 1-0 lead at 5:50.

Slap shots: In addition to Thoring, Harty and center Zach Hamill, who were already ruled out because of injuries, Everett right wing Jesse Smyke was also scratched because of illness. However, defensman Taylor Ellington, who was questionable, played. Also, right wing Brady Calla returned safely from his stint at the Canada-Russia Challenge. … Wheat and center Peter Mueller both returned to the lineup and were reunited on a line that included Ondrej Fiala on the left. It was the first time that combination was used this season as Karel Hromas lined up alongside Wheat and Mueller previously. … Everett center Jonathan Milhouse has changed his number from 21 to 13.

Winter Hawks 3, Silvertips 1



First Period-No goals. Penalties-McDonald, Portland (holding), 1:28; Sawka, Everett (hooking), 4:08; Fike, Portland (hooking), 14:58.

Second Period-1, Everett, Dailey 2 (Calla, Heshka), 5:50. 2, Portland, Bailey 8 (Bubnick, Funk), 17:08 (pp). Penalties-Balan, Portland (elbowing), 0:59; Funk, Portland (hooking), 2:00; Fike, Portland (cross-checking), 8:39; Sim, Everett (high sticking), 12:28; Funk, Portland (slashing), 14:24; Mueller, Everett (holding), 15:21.

Third Period-3, Portland, Bailey 9 (Bubnick, Funk), 18:07 (pp). 4, Portland, Woolger 15 (Bailey), 18:58 (en). Penalties-Collins, Portland (holding), 8:14; Kress, Everett (holding), 17:18.

Shots on goal-Portland 4-5-9-18. Everett 8-11-14-33. Power-play opportunities-Portland 2 of 4. Everett 0 of 7.

Goalies-Portland, Butler 10-3-1-2 (33 shots, 32 saves). Everett, Irving 14-12 (17 shots, 15 saves).

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