Silvertips’ rally falls short in preseason finale

Everett falls behind early and rallies late, but falls to Seattle 5-4.

KENT — With six preseason games down, the Everett Silvertips don’t feel ecstatic, nor do they feel encouraged about their squad entering the 2019-2020 season.

The feeling lies somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, that’s what we’ve got. Yeah, that’s the best way to put it,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said after Everett’s 5-4 loss to Seattle on Tuesday at the Showare Center. “I thought there were guys that I could elevated their game over the course of six games, and that’s what we’re looking for. Like I told our guys, we’re not looking as much at the results or the score, we’re looking at the winning habits and winning details that we’ve talked about. There are some new players that are having a hard time adjusting to that and that’s something that they have to adjust quickly if they want to play. Some of the older guys I thought did a good job of bringing the energy and bringing the leadership out there — especially with a depleted lineup.”

The Silvertips suited just eight returners from last season on Thursday, hampered by Jake Christiansen, Bryce Kindopp, Wyatte Wylie, Gianni Fairbrother and Dustin Wolf out at NHL training camps and Jackson Berezowski and Martin Fasko-Rudas out with injuries. Additionally, Reece Vitelli left early with an apparent injury in the second period.

Ultimately, the Silvertips couldn’t overcome a lopsided second period in the last preseason game before the regular season begins on Sept. 20.

The Silvertips went up 1-0 with 5.1 seconds remaining in the first period after Jalen Price buried a feed from Gage Goncalves.

But the Thunderbirds poured on four goals in the middle period to open up a resounding 4-1 lead after 40 minutes. Alex Morozoff, who Seattle acquired from Red Deer on Monday, potted two goals, Owen Williams and Simon Kubicek added the others in the Thunderbirds’ flurry.

Goncalves briefly cut the lead to two at 1:30 with his second goal of the preseason, but Brendan Williamson, a former Silvertips prospect, scored off the rush just minutes later to extend the lead back out to three.

Dawson Butt scored at 15:16 in the third period and Goncalves potted his second of the night at 18:10, but it was too late for Everett, which peppered shots at Seattle’s net with an extra skater over the final 1:50 of action, but couldn’t obtain the equalizing goal.

Keegan Karki started the game in net for the Silvertips and stopped 13-of-13 shots before being replaced by rookie netminder Braden Holt at 9:47 in the second period.

Karki finished the preseason with a .955 save percentage and a 1.20 goals-against-average in three games.

“I thought he played well,” Williams said of Karki. “He hadn’t played too much last year, so it’s still a work in progress for him, but you’re seeing great signs. I thought over the last week, his work ethic has turned, his demeanor has turned, and not that it was poor, but it’s in a way of building confidence. I wanted to get him out at the halfway there and I want to make sure he continues to play with that confidence.”

Holt saved 9-of-14 shots in a period-and-a-half of action.

Goncalves led the Silvertips’ offense with two goals and an assist. The 2001-born forward is expected to take a step forward this season in Everett’s lineup.

“He has to take those steps,” Williams said. “He has to shoot the puck more. He scored a nice goal there short side with the man advantage there, but I’d like to see him as more of a threat shooting. I thought he’s done a really nice job of stepping up and helping lead right now.”

Former Everett goaltender Blake Lyda stoned 27-of-31 for Seattle.

Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter @JoshHortonEDH

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