Silvertips coach sees encouraging signs despite early losses

Everett coach Dennis Williams likes his team’s resiliency through the tough eastern road trip.

The record is not what the Everett Silvertips (3-6-0, six points) would like.

Nevertheless, head coach Dennis Williams found encouraging signs following Everett’s 5-4 loss at Medicine Hat Wednesday night, its third straight loss on the biennial Central Division road trip.

“I thought our guys played a pretty resilient game,” Williams said. “We’re not much for moral victories, but that effort and compete (level) … if we get that consistent effort from our forwards and defense we’ll be good.”

The resiliency to which Williams referred was the fact the Tips faced a 2-0 deficit just two minutes into the game. They later faced deficits of 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 and battled back to within a goal each time before ultimately losing by a single goal.

Also encouraging is the fact Everett tallied four goals Wednesday after scoring only once in each of the previous three games. While the number of shots the Tips take hasn’t much wavered on the trip, turning them into goals was a challenge. Patrick Bajkov and Matt Fonteyne each scored and tallied an assist Wednesday as the longtime linemates snapped goalless streaks of six and four games, respectively.

“Your best players have to be your best players — that’s no different in the Western Hockey League,” Williams said. “There’s no extra pressure on them, but your top two lines are expected to produce and score goals and help in that. The game itself I hope will build confidence. We went through a little stretch where we had a hard time scoring goals, but hopefully now we’ll catch back on fire again and continue that going into Lethbridge.”

Speaking of Lethbridge, that’s the 6 p.m. stop Friday, the fifth one of the six Central Division matchups and the eighth-straight road game for the Tips who conclude the trip Saturday against the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook, B.C.

It’s been an eventful road trip both on and off the ice. The team had the day off Monday for Canadian Thanksgiving and celebrated by listening to several guest speakers and taking in the pregame skate between the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

Former WHL and NHL enforcer Matt Kassian spoke to the team at breakfast at the hotel. Then former Portland Winterhawks head coach/general manager and current Winnipeg Jets assistant Jamie Kompon addressed the team prior to the Jets’ morning skate.

“(Kassian) really gave a great example to our guys about his hard work and commitment,” Williams said. “He went through the rounds of pro hockey just out-working everybody. There were guys with skill that he left behind and (told us) what it takes to be a pro and the details.”

One thing about being a pro — or even playing in the WHL — is the long travel. While it’s a familiar pattern for veterans like overagers Bajkov, Fonteyne and Kevin Davis, it’s an adjustment for the nine rookies on the team. The trip also came very early this season without much opportunity to develop a road routine for the younger players.

“It’s been a grind for these young men, getting in every night at four o’clock in the morning and having to go play the next night,” Williams said. “It takes a toll, especially the group of players who have never been on the road. They’re having to learn quickly.”

Lethbridge (3-3) is coming off a 6-2 loss to Swift Current on Tuesday. The Hurricanes are led by Giorgio Estephan’s 10 points (including three goals). Jack Flaman has a team-high four goals while Jordy Bellerive, Igor Merzhko Calen Allison and Flaman all have six points.

Goaltender Stuart Skinner is 3-3 with a 3.24 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

Everett is still without the services of goaltenders Carter Hart and Dustin Wolf. Dorrin Luding has seen most of the minutes in net and is 2-4 with a 3.36 GAA and a .900 save percentage.

For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) is sacked by Benson Mayowa (95), Jarran Reed (90) and Carlos Dunlap (43) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Philadelphia. The Seahawks defeated the Eagles (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
Seahawks’ improving defense should strike fear into NFC foes

No, it’s not the old Legion of Boom, but even with an average defense Seattle could be formidable.

New York Giants linebacker Devante Downs (52) during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
How local NFL products fared in Week 12

Players from Snohomsish County didn’t see a lot of action as the season hits the three-quarter mark.

Seattle Sounders' Shane O'Neill reacts after scoring against FC Dallas during the second half of an MLS playoff soccer match Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sounders beat FC Dallas, advance to Western Conference final

Shane O’Neill scores on a header early in the second half and Seattle hangs on for a 1-0 win.

Sluggish Huskies fall to 0-2 with loss to UC Riverside

UW gets out-rebounded 49-33 and shoots just 29.6% from the field in a 57-42 defeat.

Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz (11) is tackled by Seattle Seahawks' Carlos Dunlap (43), Jarran Reed (90) and Benson Mayowa (95) during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)
Grading the Seahawks in their 23-17 victory over the Eagles

For the second straight week Seattle’s much-maligned defense earns good marks.

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) passes to a teammate against Auburn last Friday at the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Fort Myers, Florida. (Chris Tilley/Fort Myers Tip-Off via McClatchy News Service)
POLL: Should the Gonzaga-Auburn hoops game have been played?

The men’s basketball contest went forward despite a Gonzaga player testing positive for COVID-19.

Alphas defensive back Austin Joyner (44), a Marysville Pilchuck graduate, encourages teammates during a Spring League game. (Cooper Neill / The Spring League)
Former Marysville Pilchuck star Austin Joyner returns to football

Joyner’s return to football comes in The Spring League.

AquaSox’s Travis Kuhn and Emerald’s Ryan Jensen an hour after the game between the two teams on Sunday continue standing in salute to the National Anthem at Funko Field on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Reports suggest AquaSox may become full-season High-A team

The club would field players further along in their development who are more likely to one day play for the Mariners.

Seattle Seahawks' DK Metcalf reacts after a first down catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
DK Metcalf has huge game as Seattle takes control of NFC West

The much-maligned defense comes through as the Seahawks move 1 game ahead of the Rams in the NFC West.

Most Read