Silvertips’ power-play woes against Tri-City continue

Everett allowed the Americans to score three times on the advantage in a 6-3 loss. Next up is a long road trip against the Eastern Conference.

Ben Hemmerling

Ben Hemmerling

There’s just something about the Tri-City Americans’ power play that gives the Everett Silvertips fits.

Tri-City struck three times on the power play, and those goals proved to be the difference in Everett’s 6-3 loss to the Americans on Friday in the Tips’ only game of the week.

Everett led 3-2 going into the third period. However, power-play goals from Parker Bell and Jake Sloan just 2 minutes, 24 seconds apart early in the third turned the tide of the game. Tri-City finished 3-for-4 with the advantage.

“I definitely think (the power-play goals were a major factor),” Everett coach Dennis Williams said. “Any time you can build momentum on special teams is important. It’s not so much about your power-play or penalty-kill percentage, but when you get your kills and your power-play goals that really makes a difference. Against Tri-City we were on both sides of it, our power play could maybe have done a better job scoring goals, too.”

Power-play success is nothing new for the Americans against the Tips. Last season the teams played 12 times, with Everett winning eight, and the Tips finished 56 points ahead of Tri-City in the standings. Yet the Americans regularly found a way to score on the power play against Everett, going 13-for-51 for a 25.5% success rate that would have ranked fifth in the WHL. Against everyone else Tri-City was just 27-for-238 for 11.3%, which would have been easily the worst success rate in the league.

Tri-City’s power-play goals Friday weren’t anything fancy. It was all about planting the big-bodied Bell and Sloan, who both measure in at 6-foot-4, in front of the crease to either screen the goaltender or be available for tips and rebounds.

“What really happened is they have bigger, heavier guys at the net front, and our defense struggled to move those guys and our goalies struggled to look around them and control rebounds,” Williams said. “And clearing rebounds is important. Having bigger and heavier guys means their power play is more shooting-heavy. They park a big body there and get sticks to the puck. They play to their identity and their strengths and they do a good job of that.”

With the loss, Everett fell to 7-3-0-0. The Tips are tied for second place in the U.S. Division with Portland (which has two games in hand), and is two points behind undefeated Seattle.

Three stars of the week

Third star: Austin Roest. The 18-year-old center tallied a pair of secondary assists. He has recorded at least one point in all 10 of Everett’s games this season, and with 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) he ranks second in the WHL in scoring.

Second star: Olen Zellweger. The 19-year-old defenseman had a goal and an assist. With 11 points (five goals, six assists) in seven games, he’s on a higher scoring pace (1.57 per game) than last season (1.42), when he was named the WHL’s Defenseman of the Year.

First star: Ben Hemmerling. The 18-year-old winger saw time at the point on the power play during Zellweger’s two-game suspension, and it was from that position that he scored on a well-placed wrist shot that gave Everett a 2-1 lead.

The week ahead

The Tips embarked on their grandest adventure of the regular season Monday when they hopped on the bus and began the long drive to Saskatchewan for the start of their six-game swing through the East Division.

Everett departed Monday evening, with the bus driving through the night before being scheduled to arrive in Medicine Hat, Alberta, on Tuesday morning after 13 hours on the road. The team will stay in Medine Hat for one night, then make the remainder of the drive over four-and-a-half hours to Regina, Saskatchewan, on Wednesday.

After arriving in Saskatchewan, Everett plays six games in nine days beginning with Friday’s contest against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Moose Jaw (6-4-0-0) is led by 18-year-old defenseman Denton Mateychuk (two goals, seven assists), a first-round NHL draft pick who is considered one of the WHL’s top blueliners, and 17-year-old forward Brayden Yager (four goals, eight assists), who’s expected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 NHL draft.

Then comes the highest-profile game of the trip as the Tips take on Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats (6-5-0-1) on Saturday. Bedard is the star of stars in the WHL this season, as the 17-year-old forward and consensus first-overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft leads the league in scoring with 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) in 12 games.

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