Tips prevail during light week despite being short-handed due to COVID

Three players tested positive for COVID before Everett’s only game, but the Tips still won 5-3.

Olen Zellweger

Olen Zellweger

The Everett Silvertips thought they were settling in for what was supposed to be a relatively relaxing long weekend on Vancouver Island. Instead the Tips wound up scrambling at the last minute, playing short-handed, and leaving players behind.

Yet despite the wrench that the coronavirus pandemic tossed into Everett’s gears, the Silvertips still managed to emerge victorious in Saturday’s 5-3 triumph against the Victoria Royals.

The pandemic had already created a light weekend for the Tips when the Kelowna Rockets, who were scheduled to play in Everett on Friday, were put on pause because of a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the team. Therefore, the Tips decided to make it a full weekend in Victoria, ferrying over on Friday before coming back home Sunday.

But the virus had other ideas. Following Saturday’s morning skate Everett had three players test positive. Those three players — Tips coach Dennis Williams declined to name them — were forced to quarantine in the hotel, and Everett, which was placed on COVID-19 pause itself just two weeks ago, was forced to face the Royals down one forward and one defenseman.

“You’re kind of at the mercy of it,” said Williams, who estimated about half the team has tested positive during the current surge. “When I woke up Saturday morning I thought nothing more than it was just another pregame morning skate. Then it hits, 1-2-3. Our guys have been really good about masking and staying diligent, I’m really proud of them for that, but at the same time you just can’t be sure. You could wake up tomorrow and not have three or four guys.”

Despite being short-handed, the Tips (27-7-2-2) controlled the first period, outshooting the Royals 13-2 and taking a 2-0 lead. Everett was able to ride that hot start the rest of the way, despite tiring late in the contest.

The grind nearly caught up with the Tips at the end. Everett was leading 4-2 with 10 minutes remaining when the Tips took three consecutive high-sticking penalties, two of which combined to give Victoria nearly a minute of five-on-three time. Fortunately for Everett, the Tips scored a short-handed goal on the second of those. So even though the Royals converted the five-on-three, Everett still had a two-goal cushion that prevented the final minutes from becoming hairy.

“We had a lot of guys get a lot of minutes in different situations,” Williams said. “This was one of those where you tell the guys that the only thing that matters is getting the two points.”

Because of British Columbia’s COVID-19 protocols, the three players who tested positive remain quarantined at the hotel in Victoria. The Tips hope they are cleared to return mid-week and are available to play in this weekend’s games.

Three stars of the week

Third star: Braden Holt. The 18-year-old goaltender’s numbers from the Victoria game may not seem special: 23 saves on 26 shots. However, they look better when one considers that two of the goals came on four-on-three and five-on-three power plays, and the numbers don’t account for the big saves he made at key junctures.

Second star: Niko Huuhtanen. The 18-year-old winger had two goals and an assist against the Royals. He was a big factor on the power play (one goal, one no-look primary assist), and he also provided a physical presence.

First star: Olen Zellweger. The 18-year-old defenseman posted a goal, two assists and was on the ice for all five of Everett’s goals. For an idea of what he’s capable of, check out the solo end-to-end short-handed goal he scored that effectively clinched the victory.

The week ahead

The Tips have a three-in-three weekend scheduled. It begins when Everett travels to Tri-City (12-19-4-0) on Friday, and the Tips return home the following night to host Prince George (17-19-1-1) at Angel of the Winds Arena. Everett is a combined 7-2 against the Americans and Cougars this season.

Then comes the weekend’s biggie. On Sunday Everett welcomes Seattle to town. The Thunderbirds (21-10-4-0) have slipped to fourth in the Western Conference, but that’s due more to Portland’s recent surge than any drop-off in play by Seattle, and the T-birds handed the Tips arguably their worst defeat of the season when Seattle won 5-1 in the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 15 in Kent.

The T-birds feature a balanced offense, with 19-year-old Jared Davidson (15 goals and 24 assists in 35 games) leading a group of five Seattle players scoring more than a point per game. T-birds defenseman Samuel Knazko, 19, has been named to Slovakia’s Olympic team.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Kamiak’s Koll Pehlivanian’s charge is halted by Skyline’s Vishnu Varadhan Saturday afternoon at Goddard Stadium in Everett, Washington on May 21, 2022. The Knights lost 5-2. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Skyline adds on late to oust Kamiak boys soccer from state

The Knights kept it close for the first 60 minutes of a season-ending loss in the state quarterfinals.

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep results for Saturday, May 21

Prep results for Saturday, May 21 (Note for coaches/Scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Lake Washington rallies to eliminate Ed.-Woodway baseball from state

The Kangaroos pull ahead with 3 runs in the 6th and hand the Warriors a season-ending 3-1 loss in a 3A state regional.

Lynnwood baseball’s strong season comes to rough end at state

The district champion Royals suffer an 11-1 mercy-rule loss to Mt. Spokane in a 3A state regional.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox slug past Hillsboro, win 4th straight

Everett mashed seven extra-base hits, including three home runs, in a 9-4 win.

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, centert, celebrates his fifth inning home run with Enrique Hernandez during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Sturggling Mariners can’t hold on to early lead, fall to Boston

Seattle blows a five-run lead and loses for the 18th time in its past 24 games.

Edmonds-Woodway’s Gibby Marshall-Inman, left, and Jacob Gabler make up the Warriors pitching core. Photographed in Edmonds, Washington on May 19, 2022.(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Golden arms: Edmonds-Woodway pitching duo is a lethal one-two punch

Senior aces Gibby Marshall-Inman and Jacob Gabler enter the state regionals having allowed just 7 earned runs over 102 innings.

Jackson’s Allie Thomsen delivers a pitch against Lake Stevens during a 4A matchup Friday, May 20, 2022, at the Phil Johnson Ballfields in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Jackson softball beats Lake Stevens to claim state berth

The Timberwolves qualify for state for the 6th straight time.

Lakeside’s Thiago Ausland stops a shot at goal with Edmonds-Woodway's Isaac Parreno charging with Lakeside’s Joshua Koch, left, and Uriel Lopez Friday afternoon in Seattle, Washington on May 20, 2022. The Warriors lost 4-0. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
E-W soccer’s state run comes to an end with loss to Lakeside

The Warriors finish the season 14-5-2 after a 4-0 defeat in the round of 16.

Most Read