This weekend would be a nice one for Everett’s sticks to wake up.
The Silvertips will take on two of the league’s most prolific offenses in the weekend three-game series, facing Edmonton (5-4-0-1) at Angel of the Winds Arena on Friday and Portland (5-2-0-1) at the Moda Center on Sunday.
Both teams have potted 37 goals, with the Oil Kings doing so in 10 games and the Winterhawks in eight entering Saturday. Portland leads the WHL in goals per game at 4.6 and Edmonton (5-4-0-1) is third at 3.7.
Both teams also feature a pair of 10-plus point scorers, with the Oil Kings boasting Trey Fix-Wolansky (16 points, 4th in WHL) and Vince Loschiavo (11, tied for 13th) and the Winterhawks starring San Jose Sharks prospect Joachim Blichfield (22 points, 1st) and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Cody Glass (17 points, 3rd).
It’s a stark contrast to Everett, which has struggled to score goals — the Silvertips’ 1.8 goals per game is last in the WHL — but boasts a stingy defense and a stout goaltender. Everett’s 2.3 goals allowed per game is the fifth best in the league and netminder Dustin Wolf is fourth in the WHL among goaltenders with three or more games played in save percentage (.932) and third in goals allowed average (1.68).
But what has made it so tough for Everett to put pucks in the back of the net?
“I think when we’re struggling to score goals like we are right now, I think everyone presses too much,” Williams said. “Everyone wants to, as some of the guys say, be the Superman of the team and do it all themselves.”
“I think what happens is when you get back the second-year, third-year guys, they think their identity changes and they forget what makes them a successful hockey player and a successful teammate. Even our top guys and Riley Sutter and Connor Dewar, they’re pressing. You can see they’re trying to do too much. As I tell the guys, we just need to relax our play and eventually it will come around. But I’d be more concerned if we weren’t getting good looks. Are we concerned that we are hitting them in the logo? Sure. But those are things that we can continue to work on.”
Leading the charge for Everett offensively is Dewar, who has netted four goals and seven points. The 19-year-old forward, who scored 38 regular-season goals and 12 postseason goals last season, is on pace to compile a healthy 45 this season.
Sutter and Bryce Kindopp, both 20-plus goal scorers from last season, are behind Dewar with two goals apiece.
Dewar said it’s only a matter of time before Everett’s secondary scoring heats up.
“I think in this league it’s kind of streaky scoring,” Dewar said. “Once you get in your groove, your guys just seem to get going. So once someone can start scoring the whole team will get going.”
The middle of the three-game set is a home matchup with Kamloops on Saturday (2-5-0-0).