EVERETT — Gage Goncalves was the final hero in the Everett Silvertips’ 1-0 overtime win over the archrival Seattle Thunderbirds in front of a sellout crowd on Pink the Rink night at Angel of the Winds Arena, but Dustin Wolf was the best player on the ice on Saturday, keeping the score at 0-0 in tense moments and keeping the Silvertips afloat.
“He was unreal. He was really good tonight,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “He was solid last night too. In a loss, there’s nothing you can do. But you score two goals in two games and somehow you finish 1-1. You don’t get that way without good goaltending. He’s definitely playing with a lot of swagger and confidence, and he works for that. He comes to the rink every day and wants to work and get better. He wants the net and he lives with these types of moments, with a crowd like that and a 0-0 game, you know it’s one shot that makes it or breaks it. He did his job tonight and was a big reason we had a chance to win.”
The Calgary Flames draft pick registered his second shutout of the year by stopping 35 total shots, many of high difficulty and at key moments of the game to keep the game scoreless.
“It’s always fun,” Wolf said of Saturday’s performance. “So far this season I’m seeing a lot of pucks and I enjoy that sort of stuff. I was able to keep them all out tonight and that was the cherry on top to a good win.”
The Tustin, California, native and Lake Stevens resident has started in between the pipes in seven of Everett’s eight contests this year. His numbers have hardly dipped, even with playing behind a less experienced team, as Wolf boasts a 1.95 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage, while seeing much more rubber this season.
THE ULTIMATE HERO
Both goaltenders stood on their heads, but ultimately forced turnover Goncalves broke a scoreless time at 2:21 in overtime to end it.
The 2001-born forward swiped the puck from a Thunderbirds skater along the right half-wall and snapped a wrist shot past Seattle netminder Roddy Ross to end the game.
“I thought (the Seattle defender) was going to go up with it, but he held on to it, so I gave him a little bump, lifted his stick and then I saw (Ross) didn’t come out to far so I saw high glove open and I hit it,” Goncalves said.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) October 13, 2019
It was the only puck Ross couldn’t save on Saturday out of 26 shots.
The Silvertips bench poured onto the ice to celebrate with Goncalves, who potted his first goal of the season in his first game back after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
“It feels good,” Goncalves said. “I’ve had a couple of chances in the past couple of games, so it’s nice to finally get one tonight.”
Asked if Goncalves makes that play last year, Williams put it bluntly.
“He wouldn’t be out there last year, so definitely no,” Williams said with a chuckle. “What was great with him is when I came to my group this morning, I used him as an example that he studies the game and he understands the systems of the game and he’s one of our more intelligent players. He’s an undrafted kid, he came in last year and wasn’t handed a red carpet. In and out of the lineup and took some growing pains, took a summer to get better and come back and he’s playing like a seasoned veteran right now.”
It was all good feelings after Saturday’s win, but for multiple stretches against the Thunderbirds, Everett looked sloppy and out of sorts.
It’s the growing pains you might expect from a young team.
“It’s not what we want. We’re having a hard time still finding an identity. We can’t get into that type of game. We make a lot of young mistakes and a lot of young turnovers,” Williams said. “We got a pretty inexperienced group on the front and the backend if you really dive into it. You’re going to really have some headaches there, but good on our leadership group … they all do a good job of helping balancing that out. But it’s not easy, they’re playing a lot of minutes. We’ll definitely take it over the otherside of not having those two points.”
POWER-PLAY WOES CONTINUE
Entering Saturday with the 19th-ranked power play out of 22 teams, the Silvertips were ineffective on the man advantage against Seattle, going 0-for-2. Through eight games, Everett’s power play has scored on just 15.3 chances.
“I thought our guys did a good job of not panicking, especially during that last shift in the third period. I thought they had us in there for about 90 seconds, (Matthew) Wedman’s line there. I can’t even describe exactly what was going on, but a lot of turnovers and a lot of commotion there. The crowd was into it. But anything that happened there, Wolfie calmed it down and did a great job,” Williams said.
A shot off the rebound from Max Patterson appeared to cross the goalline after Ross nabbed it on the in-arena replay, but it wasn’t reviewed. Here’s more details.
Re: the no goal on Patterson's shot off the rebound in the 3rd: Silvertips HC Dennis Williams said on-ice officials relayed to him that off-ice officials did not believe it was worthy of a lengthy review.
— Josh Horton (@JoshHortonEDH) October 13, 2019
The Brandon Wheat Kings of the East Division make their bi-annual trip to Everett on for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop Wednesday.
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @joshhortonEDH