It was Everett’s fourth game in five days and the Silvertips looked tired and sloppy at times, especially in the opening period.
Here are the three takeaways:
Penalty kill woes: Everett’s penalty kill has been rock solid this season, killing off 86.4 percent of man-advantages entering Sunday’s contest, the second best clip in the Western Hockey League.
The Chiefs weren’t intimidated by the Silvertips stout penalty kill and potted a pair of power-play goals in the first period.
Everett simply looked tired in those situations, leaving players like Riley Woods open in lethal offensive areas. It proved costly, as if the Silvertips are able to weather the storm, then Everett can work through its tired legs. But it could be a moot point, as Everett appeared to start playing harder out of desperation because of the 2-0 hole.
Everett pulled goaltender Max Palaga, who made his second start for the Silvertips on Sunday, after just 8:42 when the Chiefs went up . When asked if it was to give his team a spark, head coach Dennis Williams simply responded, “Yes.”
It worked well, as the Silvertips rallied back from the two-goal deficit with No. 1 goaltender Dustin Wolf between the pipes. And although Wolf made some big saves, perhaps some that Palaga couldn’t make, the opening period struggles don’t fall solely on Palaga’s shoulders.
“Coming into today, I didn’t know if I was going to play today or not,” Wolf said. “With the third game in three games, you think it might be a day of rest or whatever it may be, but that ended up not being the case. I thought our team didn’t get the job done early on and it’s kind of hard to see Max in that situation because it’s not his fault. I think I just tried to do my best and step in, give my team a chance to win.”
A defensive laden power play
Wyatte Wylie tallied his fifth goal of the season in the first period on Sunday.
Wyatte Wylie leads all of Everett’s defenseman with five goals and has been a fixture on Everett’s first power-play unit, which features him and Jake Christiansen.
“When he’s on the power play in the middle, that’s the goal for those guys,” Williams said. “He battled home. We don’t really have any setspots on our power play, we want guys to fill holes and be creative out there. We’re OK with our ‘D’ being down there like we saw tonight.”
Everett’s second power-play unit has featured anywhere from two to three defenseman, with Gianni Fairbrother, Artyom Minulin and Sahvan Khaira logging plenty of minutes with the man advantage. Some of its a testament to Everett’s shortage of dynamic forward, but mostly the Silvertips’ blueliners are more than capable offensive contributors. They’ve done so while still maintaining defensive responsibilities, which Williams attributes as the strength of the team.
“I think honestly I want them to focus on the defensive side always and the offensive side will come to them naturally,” Williams said.“Sometimes we catch ourselves in hot water when we cheat up ice and think to ourselves always, ‘goals, goals, goals.’ But those guys have done a really good job back there and they’re defending hard and Wylie gets rewarded on the power play.”