EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips capped their four-game regular-season series with B.C. division foe Kamloops by thumping the Blazers, 5-1, Sunday at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Now, here are the three takeaways:
Andrusiak fitting in nicely
Zack Andrusiak’s tenure in Everett is off to a fine start.
“(He’s fitting in) real good, real good,” head coach Dennis Williams said.
The overage forward, acquired by Everett from Seattle on New Year’s Day, scored Everett’s first goal on Sunday, his second goal as a Silvertip.
The real question is where he’ll fit in terms of Everett’s forward group.
“I’m not sure yet,” Williams said. “We’ll have to keep experimenting, I guess.”
Andrusiak started on a line with Connor Dewar and Bryce Kindopp for his Everett debut Friday at Tri-City and potted a goal. He played mostly with Martin Fasko-Rudas and Max Patterson on Saturday and Sunday, but played a couple shifts alongside Dewar in the third period.
Splitting up two elite goal scorers — Andrusiak boasts 29 and Dewar has 28 this season — is likely going to continue.
“It’s tough when you try and balance out some depth,” Williams said. “Missing Suttsy (Riley Sutter) up there really puts a hole in two lines as the first line centerman that he is. I thought breaking up Dewey (Dewar) and Zack would give a couple good goal scorers on each line. When two guys both want the puck, it’s pretty hard to play together and they’re two shooters.
“(I) tried to see if there was any chemistry there (in the third), but it was tough to get things going.”
Mitchell’s first goal
Players usually get pretty excited whenever they score a goal. But the release of emotion following someone’s first WHL goal is hard to top.
Conrad Mitchell, a 17-year-old rookie, let out a roar in the corner after tapping in Jalen Price’s centering pass in the second period.
“It was a big wait up, so it was good to get it off my chest,” Mitchell said. “Nice pass by Pricer to get it going.”
Mitchell added it’s a big confidence boost.
“In the locker room, (the other rookies) were saying, ‘It’s nice to join the club finally, hey?’” Mitchell said. “That was funny.”
“It’s exciting,” Williams added. “The bench was obviously excited. It’s always nice when they can get that one, it’s been a long time coming for him. I guess the talk was how he was going to celebrate and he wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but you could see how excited our bench was for him. He’s well-liked, he’s a great teammate and it’s great to get that one off his back.”
Cleaning up penalties
After averaging five penalties over their past five games entering Friday, the Silvertips took just seven penalties over the three-game weekend and just two Sunday against Kamloops.
“It’s something we talked about,” Williams said of taking undisciplined penalties. “But I don’t think it’s let up our physicality. We took a couple there last night I didn’t like.”
Everett possesses an elite penalty kill, with the Silvertips killing off penalties at an 83.3 percent clip this season. Still, Williams emphasized that committing untimely penalties will land you in the doghouse.
“I told those guys if you take stick penalties like that, you’re not going to play …,” Williams said. “That’s been a big emphasis for us, we have to stay out of the box. Those hard-hitting penalties you always kill off, but we took some undisciplined ones there and we need to clean those up.”
Horton’s three stars:
1. Max Palaga: The backup netminder finished with 37 saves against his former team.
2. Wyatte Wylie: The 19-year-old defenseman scored for the first time since Nov. 18 and chipped in an assist along with playing a sound game defensively.
3. Connor Dewar: The Silvertips captain potted a goal and dished out an assist to push his team-leading point total to 52.