Saturday’s game story focused on Dawson Butt, who posted his first multi-point night of his career in a 7-2 rout of Kamloops. His evolution is a welcome one for head coach Dennis Williams, who challenged him to grow as he exited Everett for the offseason.
But now let’s address the power play, as a franchise high was matched with Everett’s five power-play goals on Saturday.
Big night for the power play: Everett struggled mightily with the man advantage entering Saturday. In fact, the Silvertips ranked 16th in the WHL in their first seven games by scoring at 18.9 percent clip on the power play
Saturday’s outburst rocketed them up those rankings. The five-for-six night on the power play increased Everett’s success rate to 27.3 percent in eight games this season, the sixth best in the league.
“I’m definitely happy,” Williams said. “I’m hoping the guys build a little bit of confidence and a little bit more rhythm. We’ve had some inconsistencies with it. … Hopefully this game those guys just build that confidence.”
Three of those power-play goals came during a five-minute major penalty, with Connor Dewar, Ian Walker and Sahvan Khaira potting goals.
The unit Everett’s leaned on the most this season .consists of Dewar up front, Riley Sutter and Wyatte Wylie on the walls, Bryce Kindopp in the middle and Jake Christiansen at the point. It’s stumbled at times and buzzed at others.
Williams was encouraged that group in particular started to heat up.
“It’s nice to see them start to get rewarded a little bit,” Williams said. “It’s important when they’re out there, because I told them that it doesn’t matter who scores the goal, you just wants your unit to score so you keep your group of five. And that’s what they’ve been doing.”
Dustin Wolf proving himself each game: Dustin Wolf’s 1.88 goals allowed average ranks third in the WHL amongst goaltenders with three or more games played. The 17-year-old netminder has handled all the duties this season, with Blake Lyda watching from the bench with a hat on.
He’s looked stout while shouldering the vast majority of the workload. But he’s been kept fairly fresh despite no off-days because Everett’s stingy defense hasn’t relented many chances. Wolf has seen just 23.3 shots per game in eight contests this season.
He’s made some terrific saves this season, including this one on Saturday.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) October 14, 2018
Kamloops’ slide continues: The Blazers swept a thin Kelowna team in a home-and-home set to begin the season, but Kamloops is now riding a seven-game losing streak. On Saturday, the frustration of being on losing end of things appeared to take a toll on the Blazers.
Seventy-two penalty minutes is a good indication of that. Once Ryley Appelt was assessed a five-minute check-to-the-head major penalty in the second period, leading to a trio of goals from Everett on the extended power play, Kamloops’ will was exhausted and several players were just looking to instigate.
Montana Onyebuchi, a former Silvertip traded to Kamloops in the deadline deal that shipped Ondrej Vala and Garrett Pilon to Everett, was assessed 22 of those minutes with an interference minor, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct to boot. He was sent to the dressing room early by officials after the display and as he left the ice, pointed and screamed at
He could be in for a major suspension, as well as Appelt, who popped Jackson Berezowski on a pretty nasty check to the head.
“(We just told them) not to get involved in their antics,” Williams said. “It wasn’t us (being) chippy. We were playing the game of hockey, which is what we came out there to do. You’d have to ask them why it went to that way.”
Everett didn’t shy away. Gianni Fairbrother immediately dropped the gloves with Kyrell Sopotyk after the hit to Berezowski in the second. Several other players mixed it up after penalties.
“I loved it. It’s that pack mindset,” Williams said. “We talked about having team toughness. We don’t want individual undisciplined penalties. To see (Fairbrother) stick up for a young guy taking a cheap shot like that, that’s a hockey play right there by (Fairbrother) and that’s why he’s a good hockey player and why he’ll be a great hockey player. You have to protect your guys out there too.”
- Bronson Sharp left the game after a first-period collision and did not return.
- Luke Ormsby (lower body) didn’t dress on Saturday.
- Richards served the third game of his five-game suspension.
- The 57 shots Everett peppered on Kamloops on Saturday was two away from tying the franchise record set last season.
- The Blazers were without overage forward and captain and Jermaine Loewen, who was sitting out for the third consecutive game after being issued a four-game suspension for a check-to-the-head major.