The Everett Silvertips have a tall task ahead: Win two out of three games on the road in order to keep their season alive.
“Our mindset is it’s first to four, not first to two,” captain Connor Dewar said. “We’re in an OK spot. We’re just going to have to find a way to get two wins on the road here.”
But without its engine humming at full capacity, the series deficit will be insurmountable.
Dewar and Bryce Kindopp, the Silvertips’ leading scorers over the season, did not record a point in the Silvertips’ Games 1 and 2 losses to begin the Western Conference semifinals series with Spokane.
“They did a very good job of limiting us and making it difficult,” Dewar said. “It’s frustrating for Bryce and I. We want to be gamebreakers every night. I’d say we’re highly motivated to find a way to win and help the team.”
Kindopp led the Silvertips with 39 goals in 67 games and Dewar led the Silvertips in points (81) and assists (45).
They paved the way in the Silvertips’ first-round series win against Tri-City, as Kindopp led the team with five goals and Dewar’s 1.75 points per game was a team-high.
Dewar and Kindopp’s contributions are beyond simply scoring points. They frequently are on the ice against other team’s top forwards and defensemen, as well as perpetual presences on Everett’s penalty kill.
Although many view plus-minus rating as a flawed statistic, Dewar and Kindopp are graded poorly in this series thus far with that measure. Kindopp’s minus-6 rating is a team-low and Dewar is right behind at minus-5.
Dewar is hoping that changes soon.
“I think we need to play an offensive game ourselves and not cheat,” Dewar said. “Once we get that one bounce or see that one go in, we’ll have a lot of confidence going our way. That’s our plan: play hard and simple, and hopefully the hockey gods reward us.”
Williams said after Game 1 that Spokane’s best players were better than Everett’s on Saturday night. Not only that, Spokane’s best asset, its offense, was more dynamic than Everett’s best asset, its defense.
The Silvertips allowed nine goals total in Games 1 and 2, a stark departure from the Silvertips’ 1.91 goals-against average during the regular season. The six goals allowed in Game 1 this past Saturday was a season-high.
Dustin Wolf also allowed five goals in the Game 1 loss, matching his high for goals allowed in a game during the regular season.
The Silvertips have been outmatched thus far by the Chiefs’ skill and depth. Spokane possesses NHL drafted players, such as Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Ty Smith, Jake McGrew and Filip Kral, scattered up and down the lineup, and can roll out four capable lines throughout the game. It’s been fruitful in the postseason, with Spokane posting the second best points-per-game mark in the WHL at 4.28. Prince Albert is first at 4.33.
Everett wasn’t far behind with 4.00 postseason goals per game, bolstered by a nine-goal eruption in a Game 5 series-clinching win over Tri-City, and showed some signs of offensive life in Games 1 and 2 against Spokane, mainly by outshooting the Chiefs in both games and rookie Jackson Berezowski potting his first two postseason goals in Game 1.
But the Silvertips need more, Dewar says.
“It takes everyone this time of year to win,” Dewar said. “It’s nice to see guys further down the depth chart contributing, but guys like Bryce and myself need to step up or we don’t have a chance to win.”
Director of Ice Rink Operations hired
Spectra Venue Management, the operators of the Everett Community Ice Rink, announced on Tuesday that Brad Sholl is the facility’s new Director of Ice Rink Operations.
This is a brand new position, according to Corey Margolis, general manager of Angel of the Winds Arena.
“The community rink is such an amazing part of the arena and a valuable asset,” he said. “I see this as such as such an important role in our community, so creating a director-level position and finding Brad, with the expertise that he has, I think is important to acknowledge the outside role that the Community Ice rink has to the general operation in the region.”
According to a press release distributed by the Silvertips, he also will serve as the general manager of Everett Youth Hockey.
Sholl spent 16 years as the general manager of the Toyota Sports Center, the training facility for the L.A. Kings and Lakers and most recently was the general manager of the Vegas Golden Knights practice facility. He had a hand in the construction of the Jr. Kings and Jr. Golden Knights youth programs, as well.
That experience building youth programs in grassroots markets is valuable experience, according to Margolis.
“I see a lot of those same things happening here,” Margolis said. “Not only do we have a good hockey culture, the Silvertips do a good job of engaging with people and young people, specifically. But I’m excited because of what he’s been able to do to take advantage of the buzz generated by NHL teams coming into the region and the natural increase of interest in hockey.”
Former Tips player, coach in war of words
Mitch Love, a former Silvertips captain and assistant coach, and the Saskatoon Blades — like the Silvertips — are in a 2-0 hole to the 2018-2019 Scotty Munro Cup recipients and their division rivals, the Prince Albert Raiders.
As heated as it’s been on the ice, it’s been sweltering off it.
The seeds of the verbal kerfuffle were planted before the series began, as Prince Albert coach Marc Habscheid accused the Blades of frequently “embellishing” to draw penalties.
Love clapped back, as he told Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that there were several head shots in Games 1 and 2 against the Raiders that weren’t noticed.
“I’m tired that we’ve had 11 minor penalties in two games to their six,” he told the newspaper. “They’re not that innocent of a hockey club, plain and simple. It starts with the guy in charge on their bench and it goes right across the bench. I get playoff hockey: it’s gritty and it’s tough and you have to battle with some stuff. I’m all with that. That’s the way I played the game. Look at my (crooked) nose — I played the game that way.
“But, at the same time, it’s about player safety out there and it’s not being monitored and it needs to be. Is that coming from the bench over there? I’m going to have our players’ backs, as our league should have our players’ backs when it comes to player safety. But when players are targeting certain players’ heads, that’s an issue for me and it should be an issue for the league.”
Love also had an interesting comment on the matter to Ryan Flaherty of Global Saskatoon: “They have people on their staff that had negative experience with an ex-coach in Everett and so that’s what the head coach over there is getting told …”
More from Love:
"They have people on their staff that had negative experience with an ex-coach in Everett and so that's what that's what the head coach over there is getting told so it is what it is. Again, I don't teach our players that here, I don't believe in it."
— Ryan Flaherty (@RFlahertyGlobal) April 8, 2019
The former Silvertips captain may be referring to Dan Gendur, a Raiders assistant who played one-and-a-half seasons in Everett from 2006-2008.
Habscheid followed up by asserting that Love’s comment, “crosses the line.”
Game 3 was played on Wednesday night in Saskatoon.
Hart not done for season
Dave Isaac of the South Jersey Courier Post reported on Monday that Carter Hart would compete for Team Canada in the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation World Hockey Championships set to begin on May 15 in Slovakia.
Carter Hart will go to World Championships for Hockey Canada, Chuck Fletcher said.
— Dave Isaac (@davegisaac) April 8, 2019
Hart competed for Team Canada in the last two World Junior championships, leading the maple leaf to a silver medal in 2017 and a goal medal in 2018.
During his time in Everett, Hart was the WHL goaltender of the year three consecutive seasons, leading the Silvertips to the WHL Finals in his final year in 2018.