Winterhawks rout Silvertips

  • By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
  • Sunday, March 27, 2011 7:42pm
  • Sports

PORTLAND — The good news for the Everett Silvertips is that their long scoreless drought is finally over.
The bad news for the Tips is that they’re still playing the Portland Winterhawks.

Portland once again displayed its lethal cutting edge in front of the goal, knocking off Everett 7-2 Sunday night in Game 2 of their first-round WHL playoff series.

Territorially Sunday’s game didn’t feel like a 7-2 contest. Portland only outshot Everett 46-39, and the number of scoring chances each team created was roughly equal.

However, the ultra-skilled Winterhawks are the masters of pouncing on opportunities, while the offensively-challenged Tips have a penchant for spurning theirs. The net result is the type of lopsided final score found Sunday.

“I know we outchanced them, but it doesn’t really mean anything at the end of the night,” Everett coach Craig Hartsburg lamented. “I thought we played a lot better tonight than we did (in Saturday’s 4-0 loss in Game 1). We have to look at the positive things. We had lots of scoring chances, I thought we played a lot harder and a lot more physical tonight. But when you make a mistake against them they make you pay.”

Everett at least ended its prolonged scoreless streak, which spanned 235 minutes, 4 seconds, when Markus McCrea put home a rebound midway through the second period. But it was small consolation for the Tips, who now head home trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. The series resumes Wednesday with Game 3 at Comcast Arena.

“Today was a good step,” McCrea said. “We played well. We just have to keep playing the same way. No more little mistakes, no more stupid penalties. We just have to keep working hard and wear them down, and they’ll crack.”

Nino Niederreiter and Craig Cunningham each scored two goals for Portland, the top seed in the Western Conference. Troy Rutkowski added a goal and two assists, while Brad Ross and Derrick Pouliot also found the net for the Winterhawks. Mac Carruth made 37 saves in goal for Portland.

“I thought Everett played a really good game tonight,” Portland coach Mike Johnston said. “They had a lot of shots and they were really good off the rush. We got those two goals right away, which I think helped take some pressure off us, and we responded with a great third period.

“That was playoff hockey tonight,” Johnston added. “It was a battle both ways, a lot of hits, it was tough hockey. The level of intensity and emotion has really gone up.”

Tyler Maxwell scored the other goal for eighth-seeded Everett.

Everett was again without No. 1 goalie Kent Simpson. Simpson missed his 10th straight game because of a sprained ankle. Luke Siemens started in place of Simpson and wasn’t at his sharpest, finishing with 39 saves.

The Tips played the last half of the game without overage forward Parker Stanfield. Stanfield’s face was bloody and he had to be helped off the ice after being high sticked by Niederreiter midway through the second period.

Niederreiter gave Portland the lead a mere 38 seconds into the game, and the Winterhawks carried a 2-0 lead into the second period following an all-action first that saw scoring chances at both ends.

Everett scored its first goal in nearly four full games 12:20 into the second to get back in it. Chad Suer’s wrister from the point rang off the post, but in the ensuing melee McCrea was able to put a rebound past a downed Carruth to make it a one-goal game.

But just when it seemed like it was a new game, the Winterhawks again showed their ability to score on command. Just 3:24 later Niederreiter restored Portland’s two-goal advantage, diving to push home a loose puck after an odd-man rush.

Then a bad cross-checking penalty by Everett defenseman Rasmus Rissanen extended a Portland power play late in the second. Rutkowski’s slap shot from the point banked off Ross’ skate and under Siemens to make it 4-1 and render the third period academic.

“When you look at turning points in games, I thought the Niederreiter goal on the goal-mouth scramble, when he dove into the net to put the puck away, that’s playoff hockey,” Johnston said. “Then they took a bad penalty. They hadn’t done that until that point, I thought we had taken a couple. They were really disciplined and then Rissanen took a bad penalty and Ross tips it in on the power play. That was a key goal as well.”

The Tips are hoping their fortunes change with the series moving to Everett.

“The kids are trying, but they have to get through their emotions,” Hartsburg said. “They tried right to the end. Now we have to get ready to play our best game on Wednesday.”
Winterhawks 7, Silvertips 2
Everett 0 1 1 — 2
Portland 2 2 3 — 7

First Period—1, Portland, Niederreiter 1 (Johansen), 0:38. 2, Portland, Cunningham 1 (Rattie, Aronson), 8:34. Penalties—Boychuk, Portland (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:57.
Second Period—3, Everett, McCrea 1 (Maxwell, Suer), 12:20. 4, Portland, Niederreiter 2 (Bartschi, Johansen), 15:42. 5, Portland, Ross 2 (Rutkowski, Niederreiter), 19:34 (pp). Penalties—Aronson, Portland (slashing), 1:02; Ross, Portland (tripping), 3:15; Niederreiter, Portland (high sticking-high sticking), 7:33; Elynuik, Everett (roughing), 17:12; Rissanen, Everett (cross checking), 19:05.
Third Period—6, Portland, Cunningham 2 (Rutkowski), 4:25. 7, Portland, Pouliot 1 (Bartschi), 11:32 (pp). 8, Portland, Rutkowski 1 (Eviston), 12:10. 9, Everett, Maxwell 1 (Harrison, Yadlowski), 12:55. Penalties—Pouliot, Portland (holding), 7:48; Ferraro, Everett (roughing-unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:45; Murray, Everett (roughing), 12:34; Boychuk, Portland (checking from behind-roughing), 12:34.
Shots on goal—Everett 13-13-13—39. Portland 18-15-13—46. Power-play opportunities—Everett 1 of 7. Portland 2 of 4.
Goalies—Everett, Siemens 0-2 (46 shots, 39 saves). Portland, Carruth 2-0 (39 shots, 37 saves).
A—6,119.
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.

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