The Silvertips are going learn how they’ll function without their captain, even though it wasn’t their decision to do so.
The Western Hockey League announced a four-game suspension for 19-year-old forward and team captain Connor Dewar during the Silvertips 5-1 win over Regina, responding to a cross-checking major penalty and game misconduct in Everett’s 5-2 loss at Brandon on Friday.
“Anytime you lose one of your top players and your leader, it’s not a good thing,” Everett general manager Garry Davidson said. “But it’s a part of the game and a part of what happens. It just means that someone else is going to get more ice time and more opportunity.”
Dewar, who leads Everett with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists), has three games to go on his suspension, two of which are against two of the toughest opponents in the WHL — at Prince Albert (12-1-0, 24 points) on Tuesday and at Saskatoon (8-3-1, 17 points) on Wednesday .
It’s excruciating for Dewar to miss games in this fashion, according to Davidson.
“I don’t think it matters to Connor who we are playing or where we are playing, he’s just disappointed he’s going to miss four straight games here,” he said.
Tuesday’s tilt with the Raiders will be especially difficult, as Prince Albert leads the league in goals scored (4.9 per game) and goals against (2.0 per game). Forward Brett Leason leads the WHL with 28 points, 11 goals and 17 assists and goaltender Ian Scott is second in the league with a 1.64 goals allowed average.
The Dewar-less Silvertips are trying to take the captain’s suspension in stride as they face a burgeoning juggernaut.
“Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise, so to speak,” Davidson said, “because people do get to take more of a role in the group, which becomes beneficial for our group as a whole as you get everybody back too.
“You got to look at it like the glass is half full instead of half empty. (Dewar) is out, which is not a positive, but our guys are going to get a chance to see what they can do in his absence.”
The good thing for Everett is some of its secondary pieces are trending in the right direction. Sean Richards, fresh off his own suspension, scored his first goal of the season in a 5-1 win at Regina on Sunday.
“He was flying around out there,” Davidson said.
The Silvertips’ general manager added that 17-year-old center Reece Vitelli had “probably his best game of the year” against the Pats.
The Silvertips and Raiders drop the puck at 6 p.m., PDT at the Art Hauser Center.