Road takeaways from Silvertips 4-3 loss in Spokane

Power play surges, penalties hurt and further thoughts on Spokane

Road takeaways:

Surging power play

All three of Everett’s goals on Saturday were on the power play, an encouraging sign for the Silvertips, who were 1 for 9 with the man advantage over their last three games entering Wednesday.

Everett’s power play has been prone to slumps this season, but when it’s clicking, it is one of the most dynamic in the league.

Shooting themselves in the foot

A unusual stretch in which Dawson Butt was whistled for slashing, Connor Dewar was tagged for roughing and Gianni Fairbrother was called for delay of game within a 40-second span set up the Chiefs with a lengthy 5-on-3 chance, and they cashed in with Luc Smith’s power-play goal. A goalie interference penalty on Butt in the second led to a power-play goal for Luke Toporowski.

Taking a host of penalties is unwise against a team like Spokane, which boasts the top power play in the Western Hockey League at 28.6 percent. Everett possesses at good penalty kill at 82.3 percent (fifth in the WHL), but Spokane’s power-play, even without its proverbial quarterback in Ty Smith — he’s at the World Junior Championships, was overpowering.

A sleeping giant

I’ve often referred to Spokane as the “sleeping giant” oft the Western Conference, and in some of the Chiefs’ contests against the Silvertips, they’ve shown why.

Spokane was picked by many pundits and prognosticators as the preseason U.S. Division favorite, and for good reason. Despite losing Kailer Yamamoto to the AHL, the Chiefs returned NHL prospects Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Kings), Ty Smith (Devils), Jake McGrew (Sharks) and Filip Kral (Maple Leafs) and a bevy of up-and-coming young players. Overage forward Riley Woods figured to be a breakout candidate — he has been, with 23 goals in 32 games this season, and the additions of forward Luc Smith from Kamloops and defenseman Noah King from Swift Currents compliment their depth nicely. And perhaps most notably, Bailey Brkin (.921 save percentage, 2.61 goals against average) appears to be the answer in goal for a franchise recently snakebitten by subpar goaltending.

Anderson-Dolan has played just two games this season due to a brief trial with the Kings and a broken bone in his wrist, but is expected to come back after playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships in British Columbia. Ty Smith is also expected to compete for Team Canada, as is Kral for Czech Republic. But once this team is at full strength, it will be a tough out. From a stylistic standpoint, an Everett-Spokane playoff series would be highly entertaining.

Everett kicks off the post-Christmas Break season with a tilt with the Chiefs in the Spokane Arena on Dec. 28.

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