VICTORIA, British Columbia–The Everett Silvertips blanked the Royals, 3-0, in Victoria. The game story focused on Dustin Wolf earning his fourth shutout of the season.
Here are the three takeaways.
Everett’s lines were a jumbled mess once again — like they’ve been all year. Some of it is due to tinkering, and some of it is out of necessity.
“Our lines are all juggled up without that constant four-line center,” Williams said. “When Riley (Sutter) comes back it should be better, but I thought all of our guys are good in the D-zone. And we were 42 percent on faceoffs. So you’re chasing the game right off the hop 58 percent of the time. We have to work on that moving forward.
“It’s tough without centerman again,” Williams added. “We had a line with Berezowski, Gurney and Mitchell and no one plays center … so what happens you start mixing and matching at times. We had (Gage) Goncalves played center. We have Patty (Max Patterson), who I thought struggled with the speed and tempo. He still made some great plays, but I needed and expected more from him and I think he did too.”
Make yourself at Holmes
No one could fault Robbie Holmes for being a bit rusty in his first game with Everett on Friday. The 19-year-old forward, who the Silvertips acquired at the Western Hockey League’s trade deadline on Thursday, flew into Abbotsford, British Columbia on Friday, where Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson was there to pick him up to bring him to Everett.
There was no pregame skate and little time to adjust to a new dressing room. It was a dress-up and go play situation.
Williams initially declined to comment about Holmes when asked on Friday, but felt more comfortable talking about Holmes on Saturday, with the left winger having a second game under his belt with his new team.
“I thought he looked good,” Williams said of his performance on Saturday. “I thought he did a really good job last night, I didn’t really expect a lot with that day of travel and I thought he played much better tonight.
Williams added he liked what he observed from Holmes’ line, centered by Reece Vitelli and Martin Fasko-Rudas on the other wall.
Seeley rewarded with simple game, physicality
Ronan Seeley has struggled at times with the speed and physicality, not an uncommon occurance for rookies in the Western Hockey League. But his performance against the Royals on Saturday indicated he’s starting to adjust.
“I got on him today, and the same thing happened against Kamloops, is he likes to the get the puck and fake and try and step out,” Williams said. “Well, he’s not strong or fast enough right now and he gets knocked off. I told him, ‘OK, when you get it you have two options: Hit it and put it on net or put it behind the net and let our forwards go to work.’
“I think he started simplifying that game and his confidence is growing bigger and bigger.”
Williams added he was impressed with a display of physicality toward the end when the play started to turn chippy in the waning moments of the third period.
“(The coaches) and I were talking there on the bench about a play in the last 20 seconds, he’s on the ice and there is a pile in the corner and was crosschecking guys. I haven’t seen that all year,” Williams said. “When you want to play minutes this time of year, you have to play big, strong and physical … he’s never had to do that. He’s never had to push guys in piles and get into right positions on pucks and piles. … I think he’s starting to learn that and get more comfortable with that.”
Jr. Silvertips product makes WHL debut against Everett
Alex Bolshakov, a 16-year-old affiliate player for Victoria, made his Western Hockey League debut on Saturday night against a team he’s plenty familiar with. Bolshakov was called up from the Everett Jr. Silvertips 16U program, where he’s played for the last two seasons.
The Seattle native was drafted by the Royals in the fourth round of the 2017 bantam draft after tallying 52 points (36 goals and 16 assists) for Sno Kings Bantam A1 team in 2016-2017. He boasts eight points in 12 games for the Jr. Silvertips this season.
Horton’s three stars:
1. Dustin Wolf: The obvious choice, as the 17-year-old netminder recorded a 29-save shutout.
2. Zack Andrusiak: The 20-year-old forward potted the game-winning goal in the second period and was all over the puck, especially late in the game.
3. Bryce Kindopp: Made a wonderful play leading to Everett’s third goal, maneuvering well along the wall and dishing a perfect pass to Reece Vitelli to extend his point streak to 12 games.