EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips have felt confident in Dustin Wolf all season, and his initial playoff performance hasn’t changed that thinking one bit.
The Silvertips netminder was named the Western Hockey League’s goaltender of the week Monday after compiling a 2-1 record, a 1.34 goals against average, and a .945 save percentage in the culminating three games of the Silvertips’ first-round series with Tri-City, which the Tips won in five games.
“I think my game has been pretty strong in the last part of the season and in playoffs here,” Wolf said.
You: "When y'all going to post the Wolf save?"
— xy Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) April 1, 2019
Wolf, in his first season as the team’s No. 1 goaltender after backing up Carter Hart last season, has lived up to the hype surrounding him as a young and up-and-coming netminder. He won the goaltending triple crown with WHL-bests in save percentage (.936), goals against average (1.69) and wins (41). He was also second with seven shutouts.
He’s remained at the top of the WHL in the postseason, leading the league with a 1.60 goals against average and a .937 save percentage through five postseason starts. What’s more, Wolf and the Silvertips’ defense allowed just eight goals over the five games against Tri-City, six of which were scored while the Americans were on the power play.
Silvertips coach Dennis Williams said he was impressed with Wolf’s first postseason series as the go-to starter, not just with his numbers, but with his maturity.
“He’s been really solid,” Williams said after Everett’s Game 5 win Saturday. “You could tell, after we lost that game in overtime, he has a different approach about it. He wants to get right back in there, he wants the next game. I think our ‘D’ and forwards did a good job of not giving up much, but we do give up quality shots from time-to-time, that’s the name of the game, and Wolfie’s always there. I thought he had a really good series.”
The high point of Wolf’s series against the Americans was a 24-save shutout in Game 4, which avenged a 3-2 overtime loss at Tri-City in Game 3. It was Wolf’s third shutout in the Toyota Center in four tries and a major confidence boost, he said.
“I’ve had good luck in that building,” Wolf said. “Going into that, I knew that and I think (I was) comfortable in that environment.”
Wolf didn’t see a ton of shots, with Everett allowing 25.2 shots per game over the five-game series, which is just below his season average of 26.1 shots per game.
He’ll likely see more in the Silvertips’ second-round playoff series against the Spokane Chiefs, who peppered 32.6 shots per game on Portland netminder Joel Hofer in their first-round win.
“Not as much rubber there in the first series, but I’m just trying to stay sharp as much as possible,” Wolf said.
Tips forward invited to Slovakia camp
Silvertips import forward Martin Fasko-Rudas was invited to training camp for Slovakia’s U-20’s team for the upcoming Four Nations tournament in Piestany, Slovakia, but he’s won’t be attending because the Silvertips are still involved in the WHL playoffs, Everett general manager Garry Davidson said.
The tournament, which spans April 11-14, is a four-team tournament between Slovakia, Russia, Czech Republic and Finland. Fasko-Rudas still has World Junior eligibility and his invitation to this particular event is a positive step for his inclusion for the 2020 tournament, which will be held in Czech Republic.
Fasko-Rudas is second on the Silvertips and tied with Spokane’s Riley Woods, Vancouver’s Bowen Byram and Lethbridge’s Dylan Cozens for fifth in the WHL this postseason with eight points.
— Jacob Wright (2002-born forward) and the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds’ bid for a second consecutive British Columbia Major Midget League (BCMML) championship fell short over the weekend as the Cariboo Cougars swept the three-game series, capped by an 8-2 win Saturday. Wright finished with one point over six playoff games.
— Carter Halamandaris (2003-born forward) and the Winnipeg Wild fell in four games to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Manitoba Midget Hockey League (MMHL) championship series. Halamandaris finished with no points in the series.