EVERETT — This upcoming weekend will be a gut check for the Everett Silvertips.
Playing catch-up with the Portland Winterhawks in a race for a divisional title with nine points to make up and 16 games remaining is difficult enough, but Everett will be playing almost nonstop in February and into the first day of March
The Silvertips have eight games over the next 11 days, starting with a game home against Moose Jaw on Wednesday.
“I think we have to be real light with them,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “Light practices, puck touches, stick-handling, stuff like that. We’re not going to be battling (in practice), we don’t have enough bodies right now anyway to get into battle drills. A lot of it is going to be flow drills and making sure guys are coming out feeling good about themselves. Guys are making saves and guys are scoring goals, just trying to get the energy level high as we go through this.”
The only upside to this recent stretch is the Silvertips play five of those eight games at home, but the Silvertips are still gearing up for a two-week stretch that is primed to be grueling, both mentally and physically.
“As long as we keep the energy up, I don’t think we’ll be tired,” Silvertips center Gage Goncalves said. “The mental energy is a big part of that. If we can keep that up, I think we’ll be good.
Silvertips host special guest
The Silvertips had a special guest at the Community Ice Rink at Angel of the Winds Arena, as Marcus Pearson — a seven-year-old Make-a-Wish kid with end-stage renal disease, an incurable kidney ailment — was a special guest at Silvertips practice on Tuesday. Pearson received fist bumps and high-fives while meeting members of the Silvertips, took a photo with the team and received a signed goalie stick with autographs of the entire roster at the conclusion of practice.
Pearson will also drop the puck on Saturday before the Silvertips’ game against Vancouver.
Both Jackson Berezowski and Michal Gut are listed as day-to-day and questionable for Wednesday’s game. Berezowski (lower body) missed the second half of Saturday’s win over Portland after an awkward crash into the boards. Gut has missed the last three games with a reoccurring upper-body injury.
Berezowski was a limited participant in Tuesday’s practice and wore a red non-contact jersey, while Gut was a full participant, with all indications that he will return to the lineup on Wednesday.
APs sent back
Hunor Torszok and Brendan Hunchak, who were called up for the weekend games, were sent back to their respective teams on Tuesday. Torszok, a 2000-born forward, played in Friday’s game before being sent back to the British Columbia Hockey League’s Merritt Centennials. Hunchak, a 2003-born prospect, played in Saturday’s game before returning to the Thompson Blazers of the British Columbia Major Midge League.
Carson Stadnyk (2011-2015) leads the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the second-ranked team in the country, with 11 goals this season. He’s also tied for fourth with 19 points in 22 games.
With the Canada West conference playoffs underway, the Huskies take on the Calgary Dinos on Friday with a spot in the conference finals on the line.
James Hong, a fifth-round pick by the Silvertips in the 2019 bantam draft, has 16 goals and 26 points in 23 games of the Anaheim Jr. Duck under-16 program, according to Eliteprospects.com. The 2004-born forward has not signed with the Silvertips.
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH