EVERETT—A terrific goaltender performance and an overall solid defensive performance the Rockets allowed Kelowna to end a six-game losing streak by topping the Silvertips, 2-0, on Friday.
Here are the three takeaways:
Connor Dewar: Ironman
Over the last five minutes of the game, give or take, Silvertips captain Connor Dewar was out for the majority of shifts, seeking the goal to spark Everett and erase a two-goal deficit.
“When it’s a game like that, I’m frustrated and I want to get a goal for the team and I want to be a leader,” Dewar said. “I don’t care how tired I am, I will play as much as they want to play me.”
There’s no secret Dewar is Everett’s go-to source for a spark. Everett’s captain is one of the league’s top playmaker and has developed a reputation for having an insatiable competitive streak.
“He looks at me like he doesn’t want to come off half the time,” Williams quipped.
“The one thing if you watch a kid like Connor is that you wouldn’t have known he’d played the last few minutes,” Williams went on to add. “He’s still hounding pucks, he’s strong on his stick, he’s strong on retrivals.”
Power play woes not major concern
The Silvertips’ power play did not produce a goal in three chances, but it’s not time for Everett to smack the panic button just yet.
“We had some good looks on our power play,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “I’d be more concerned if we didn’t get the looks. … We had our chances, we just didn’t bury them. This time of year we got to do a better job of pushing and pulling pucks, getting on different angles and getting in front of the goalies eyes. When those pucks are on our sticks there, especially in those Grade-A areas, we have to make teams pay for that.”
Williams added that Gianni Fairbrother going out of the lineup with an illness put a wrench in their two power play units
Since returning from the Western Hockey League’s Christmas break on Dec. 28, the Silvertips have only capitalized on five of their 37 chances over their last nine games with the man advantage, a paltry 13.5 percent clip. It’s still too early in the season to jump to conclusions, but the Silvertips will need to find more of a groove in order to find sustained success in the playoffs.
After all, most teams will play just as hard in the postseason as Kelowna did tonight in Everett.
Silvertips still learning to play with ‘desperation’
With just 10 regular losses at the 45-game mark of the season, Everett is typically nursing leads in the
Friday’s game is nice practice for Everett in how not to execute comebacks.
“One thing we can learn is we’re down two, there’s no holding on to pucks,” Williams said. “It’s desperation time. You have to be able to get pucks through the first layer and live to fight another day netfront off it. Not every play can be a clean one-timer or backdoor play. As long as we can learn from it, that’s good. Obviously not what we want it, but it’s what it is.”
Overall thoughts from Dewar: “I thought we weren’t ready to play and they outworked us. They were the more desperate team and it kind of showed.”
Dewar on Kelowna’s defense: “They were selling out as a team and everyone has getting into shooting lanes, blocking a lot of pucks and he was making some nice saves.”
More Dewar on Kelowna: “They’ve been on a skid lately and they were desperate to get back in the win column and it showed tonight. They outcompeted us I think.”
Horton’s three stars
1. James Porter: The Rockets netminder was unbelievable, stopping 40 shots for the second consecutive game against the Silvertips — A 4-2 loss against Everett on Jan. 9 being the last.
2. Mark Liwiski: The Silvertips, a former third-round pick by Everett in 2016, notched just his third goal of the season, got into a scrap with Dawson Butt just 45 seconds into the game and blocked a shot in a sensitive area late in the game.
3. Connor Dewar: The Silvertips captain couldn’t extend his point streak to double digits, but won 15 of his 23 faceoffs, a key area of concern for Everett.