To say the start of Luke Ormsby’s season was snakebitten might be understatement.
It began with the 19-year-old forward landing on the injury report with a lower-body injury sustained in pregame warmups of Everett’s home opener against Vancouver. He returned not a week after — too quickly, by his own admission, and he landed on the injury report again with the same nagging injury just games later.
It’s taken awhile for Ormsby to find his stride, but he’s riding a four-game point streak after potting Everett’s first goal on Saturday.
“He’s a good skater. There’s a lot of guys like him that are starting to get rewarded for just how tenacious they are,” Silvertips forward Connor Dewar said.
Not only did Ormsby score, but he slid over to the middle of the ice and centered Everett’s third line with Reece Vitelli and Martin Fasko-Rudas. Everett coach Dennis Williams has been bullish on how that line has performed in the last couple games.
“They’ve been playing well because they’ve been hunting pucks and playing hard,” Williams said. “They’ve been rewarded ever since we played down in Portland (on Nov. 25). That line has a lot of speed and a lot of skill and tenacity. When they play with their speed and tenacity, they’ll always have opportunities. It’s good to see (Ormsby) doing well (as well as) his complementing linemates.”
Ormsby’s linemates were pointless Saturday, but Fasko-Rudas owns five points in his last four games and Vitelli boasts three in his last four.
The depth scoring is a welcome occurrence for the Silvertips.
“It’s a big burden off the top-line guys,” Dewar said. “It’s hard to score when you’re playing against the other top lines, too. Sometimes you have to be in that shutdown role; for example, against Portland and playing against (forward Cody) Glass, you’re not too worried about scoring. It’s nice to have it from some guys further down the depth chart.”
Power-play trending up
Bryce Kindopp’s power-play goal to end the second period was Everett’s second goal with the man advantage in two games. That might not seem like much of a deal, but the Silvertips’ power play was 0-for-16 in their previous four games entering Friday’s tilt with Spokane and is showing signs of life.
“They aren’t necessarily pretty goals, but those are goals you need to get out of slumps,” Dewar said. “To be good you have to be lucky sometimes, and it’s good to get those bounces.”
“Power-play goals aren’t supposed to be pretty,” Williams said. “They’re just supposed to go right in the net. If they are (pretty), it’s just a little added bonus.”
Williams once again employed the first unit of Dewar, Kindopp, Riley Sutter, Wyatte Wylie and Jake Christiansen on Saturday despite some recent struggles. On Thursday, Williams said sometimes the best solution is to just let the players work through their struggles rather than tweaking personnel, and that approach appears to have paid off.
Penalty kill rebounds
The Silvertips put themselves in a quick 2-0 first-period deficit to Spokane on Friday with two power-play daggers.
“We’ve been kind of notorious for having bad starts recently, and that kind of showed in the first period last night and they took advantage of that,” Dewar said.
Saturday was a redemption game for Everett’s other special teams unit as the Silvertips shut out the Ice in Kootenay’s four man-advantage chances.
“I don’t think (our penalty kill) was off,” Williams said. “They have a good power-play unit, too, with (Ty) Smith and (Luc) Smith, who they just picked up and (Riley) Woods. Every team usually has one for-sure unit.
“But it was good tonight to kill all four and get the power-play goal to win the special teams battle, and that was the difference tonight. Our penalty kill came through, and our goaltending, too.”
That it did.
Dewar on Palaga’s shutout: “Max is an awesome guy. Anytime he’s in net we want to play hard for him and give him the chance to win, and he did that tonight.”
Williams on greasy goals: “You have to play in the paint. If you don’t play in the paint, you aren’t going to score a lot of goals. If you look at Fasko and the way he’s been scoring his goals and the power-play goals with Sutter’s yesterday and Bryce Kindopp’s today, it shows if you hang around those areas, good things happen. I tell our guys (they) don’t want to be a one-hit wonder with those fly-bys. Pucks are coming from the point, and we still have too many guys looking for tips and going into the corner instead of stopping (in the paint) and making their presence. It’s something we have to continue to work on.”