EVERETT—Connor Dewar exploded with a four-goal, six-point night to lead Everett over archrival Seattle, 7-2, on Saturday. The game story is attached here.
Here are the three takeaways:
Christiansen responds to being put in doghouse
When Jake Christiansen walked into the Silvertips’ dressing room on Saturday, he noticed his name was written on the board and he was to have a meeting with his head coach, Dennis Williams.
“I challenged him right before the game. I didn’t think he played well yesterday,” Williams said. “I took him off the power play yesterday because of that.”
The 19-year-old defenseman responded in a significant way, posting a career-high four points (one goal and three assists) in the blowout.
“I thought our power play had success tonight because of (Christiansen),” Williams said. “He got back to doing what needed to be done in that position on that flank over there and he was rewarded for it.”
Christiansen is an important player for Everett, as he’s a skilled defenseman that can help take some of the scoring load off of the forward’s shoulders from time-to-time. Williams said he was pleased with how Christiansen was able to generate offense on Saturday night.
“It’s so hard to just depend on your forwards, it’s too tight on your defense,” Williams said. “You have to be able to work the puck low-to-high and it’s a skill and a craft to be able to get shots through the first layer and into the net. I think (Christiansen) and all our ‘D’ have done a good job of that.”
Christiansen added it was a great feeling to respond to his head coaches’ test.
“You just go into the game with a chip on your shoulder,” Christiansen said. “You want to prove to him that you can do it. I know he believes in us, but when he challenges us you want to really show it. I just prepared really strong and was really focused before the game and it helped me for sure.”
Chippiness is almost expected in the second night of a home-and-home weekend double-header between two rivals, but things got out of hand quickly with about 10 minutes left in the third period.
An open-ice hit courtesy of Connor Dewar on Thunderbirds forward Matthew Wedman sparked it, as Seattle’s bench thought it was kneeing and rushed to Wedman’s defense as he was slow to get up. A large scrum broke out near the team’s benches, with Gianni Fairbrother and Seattle’s Jarret Tyszka eventually dropping the gloves as the main bout.
“It was bit of scrum down on their end on me and I threw a hit and I got jumped sort of,” Dewar said. “Everyone came in in my defense to the guy that came after me. … I saw Richie (Sean Richards) had Gage (Goncalves) and I just grabbed on to Richie. Probably saved Gage’s life a little bit.”
“I was just proud of our guys sticking up for each other,” Williams added. “We took a cross-check to the face and guys do what they got to do to protect themselves.”
After a list of penalties, Everett ended up with a power play chance, and eventually a 5-on-3 opportunity after Cade McNelly was called for a cross-check. The Silvertips’ first power-play unit skated out on the ice and buried a pair of goals to bring the score to 7-1.
“I put our power play out there when I think teams take liberties,” Williams said. “So, that’s why I put them out there.”
Goncalves’ career night
Gage Goncalves recorded the first multi-point game of his career, assisting on three of Everett’s seven goals.
“I thought Gage did a nice job,” Williams said. “You still get some inconsistencies with those younger players, but you can see the more he’s played here and the more comfortable he’s getting and more used to the league he’s getting, the more plays he’s making. The game is slowing down for him and he’s got a high skillset that we’re able to move up-and-down our lineup. We’re very comfortable with that.
Goncalves has shown flashes of being an above-average passer during his young career, and a feed that led to Everett’s fifth goal impressed Williams.
“He hit (Gianni Fairborther) with the one coming in and that was a really nice vision and heads up play. You have two guys going to the net and to be able to lay that back there right on his forehand to one-time it. It’s really easy to throw pucks into areas, but high-end players put it right in the wheelhouse so they can hit it.”
Goncalves now has double-digit points with one goal and 11 assists. He’s earned more ice time with just doing the simple things, Goncalves said.
“It’s a big confidence boost,” Goncavles said. “Obviously it takes awhile to join the coaches’ trust, but I’m just trying to work on my details, just the little things.”
Horton’s three stars:
1. Connor Dewar: His six-point night was a career-high and one off Everett’s franchise record.
2. Jake Christiansen: Christiansen’s one-goal, three-assist effort was also a career-high.
3. Gage Goncalves: Goncalves’ three assists, you guessed it, was a career-high.