Silvertips Notebook: Heemskerk, Simpson sharing goaltending duties

The Everett Silvertips came into the 2009-10 season with what looked like a set hierarchy in goal. However, so far it’s been more of an even split.

Through eight games, 19-year-old Thomas Heemskerk and 17-year-old Kent Simpson have split the goaltending duties almost evenly, and it appears that trend may continue.

Heemskerk received the bulk of the playing time after being acquired midway through last season, then backstopped the Tips during the playoffs. He received an invitation to attend rookie camp with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks and was so impressive he earned a contract.

But he and Simpson have received similar workloads so far, with Heemskerk getting five starts and Simpson three. Both have 3-1 records with Simpson, who’s in his NHL draft season, holding the advantage in both goals against average (2.39 to 3.19) and save percentage (.918 to .896).

“We’ve got two good goalies, we’re going to use them both and see how it goes,” said Silvertips coach Criag Hartsburg, who mentioned that Everett’s light schedule through the first month was particularly difficult on the goalies. “Obviously there will be stretches where one guy will be hotter than the other. But I think we’re comfortable with either one in net.”

Kill problems

The Tips are off to a good start, opening the season 6-2. However, if there’s one area where the Tips have struggled, it’s on the penalty kill.

Everett has killed off just 33 of 44 opposing power plays so far this season, a rate of 75 percent. That ranked 20th out of 22 teams in the league prior to Tuesday’s games, and traditionally the Tips have produced a kill rate in the mid-to-upper 80s. Only one time this season has Everett made it through a game without surrendering a power-play goal.

“We haven’t been real sharp,” Hartsburg admitted. “I think we’re getting better, but we have to be more aggressive at times with blocking shots and things like that. Guys who want to kill penalties have to sacrifice. But I’ve seen some improvement recently.”

Pink the Rink

Saturday’s home game against Brandon is Pink the Rink night at Comcast Arena.

The Tips, in conjunction with Providence Comprehensive Breast Center, are raising awareness of breast cancer and raising funds for families affected by cancer. Four dollars from every ticket purchased from Kevin Danford in the Silvertips front office will be donated to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Fans are encouraged to show their support by wearing pink clothing to the game. Also, limited edition pink Silvertips hockey sticks are available to those who donate $100 or more.

For more information, call 206-252-5100.

Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog: http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog.

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