Tips try to KO Rockets

  • By Nick Patterson / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, April 15, 2006 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – The Everett Silvertips didn’t have much time to dwell on their grueling loss in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series.

Minutes after falling 3-2 in double overtime Friday at Kelowna’s Prospera Place, the Tips were on the bus headed for home.

Perhaps it was for the best that Everett had little time to reflect afterward. Losses like the one the Tips suffered in Game 5 can be difficult to take.

“It is tough mentally,” Everett captain Torrie Wheat said following the game. “Guys are pretty upset right now, but come (Saturday) we’re back at the rink and we’ll realize we’re the ones up 3-2 in the series. We’re still in the driver’s seat here, and it’s just a matter of us bouncing back and putting forth a good effort.”

Everett had a chance to finish the series off with a win Friday, and the Tips seemed to have victory on their stick on several occasions during the two overtimes. But the puck stayed out of the net until Kelowna’s Troy Bodie scored on a breakaway midway through the second overtime.

Bodie’s goal gave the Rockets new life. Kelowna, the defending WHL champion, was in a big hole, trailing 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. However, Friday’s victory could be just the springboard the Rockets need.

“It’s a start,” Bodie said. “We’d be lying if we said it was going to be easy from here on. That’s one of three.”

Meanwhile, Everett must regroup. The Tips need to overcome the feeling of being so close to clinching the series, then having it taken away.

However, Everett coach Kevin Constantine isn’t worried about a letdown.

“We live by, ‘What do you have to do next to be successful?’” Constantine said. “It’s one game. The first to four wins.”

Perhaps more important than being able to bounce back mentally is the ability to bounce back physically. Friday’s game lasted 87 minutes, 50 seconds, the longest game in Everett franchise history.

“You’re pretty exhausted,” Wheat said about the Game 5 experience. “You’ve got to try and get as much fluid in you as you can because guys were starting to cramp up. You get some protein bars in you to try and give you a little boost. But three periods are tiring enough, without another period-and-a-half.”

Those extra 28 minutes can take their toll, especially when there’s only one day between games at sites nearly 300 miles apart.

Kelowna has the same problem. However, the Rockets can also draw upon the energy created from their Game 5 victory.

“For the winning team I guess it’s a little easier,” Bodie said. “You’ve got that momentum, you’ve got that jump and confidence. You’ve just got to take care of yourself the best you can.”

Everett’s advantage from a recuperation standpoint comes from its depth. Throughout Game 5 Everett used all four of its lines on a regular basis. In contrast, Kelowna stuck with three lines, and right wing Blake Comeau seemed to be on the ice every other shift. Therefore, Everett’s players suffered a little less wear than Kelowna’s did.

“It’s not too bad,” Wheat said. “You do it all year. You play three in three, five games in six nights, throughout the year. The guys do a pretty good job of taking care of their bodies, getting the right amount of rest, and usually you get back pretty quickly.”

On the other hand, Kelowna has a significantly older team than Everett and is that much more physically mature.

“They’re in such great shape and they work so hard that it’s hard to gain a conditioning advantage on them,” Constantine said. “They’re just in too good a shape.”

It remains to be seen what kind of effect the residue from Game 5 has on tonight’s contest.

Speed demon: Bodie’s style of play has never been associated with speed. At 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, Bodie is the prototypical power forward. Throughout his career he’s given Everett fits because of his bruising work in front of net and in the corners.

So it was a bit of a surprise when it was his speed that was the decisive factor in Game 5. After Bodie deflected a pass into the neutral zone, he outraced the Everett defense to the loose puck and sped away on a breakaway, eventually beating Everett goaltender Leland Irving.

What made it even more impressive was that the speed came in the second overtime.

“It was really tough,” Bodie said about getting his legs moving that fast at that point in the game. “That’s five periods of hockey, almost two games, and you’re pretty tired. But when you see an opportunity like that, you find the speed.”

Ticket info: The Everett Events Center box office will open at 2 p.m. today for ticket sales to Game 6. The Silvertips office opens at 10 a.m. for ticket purchases.

Tickets can also be purchased by calling 866-332-8499 or online at

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