Road Tippin’ (Nov. 15-22)

Cutting to the chase: life is short and a schedule is tight when handling six games in nine days, wrapped around the family holidays.

So, the game of catch-up has finally been conquered in this blog spot. Here’s the recap:

We’ll start with this: in Cranbrook, B.C., did you know you can walk into a hotel bathroom, find a TV and still watch the Canucks game?

MONDAY: Spokane to Cranbrook.  Practice in Coeur d’Alene, ID.
DISTANCE TRAVELED: 483 miles (starting Sunday in Everett, to Cranbrook)

DID YOU KNOW? Coeur d’Alene, ID is the home to Frontier Arena, a venue built originally with a thin frame in 1999, its roof crushed by snow and rain, and rebuilt in 2009 under fundraising which called for $800,000. That’s a huge chunk of change.

It now hosts an annual summer hockey event with some guys you may have heard of (who make their summer residence in the town): Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, Adam Deadmarsh. Tyler Johnson’s youth hockey jersey (he played there before obviously moving onto bigger and better things) hangs in the venue. The summer tournament drives youth hockey fundraising, providing mite hockey opportunities only costing $50/child – equipment included. Yep, life is now good.

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From there, what remains is a five hour drive to Cranbrook, B.C., home of the Kootenay Ice and the brothers-Niedermayer (yeah, those guys).

More photos up on the Silvertips mobile app (if you’ve got a smartphone, get it via the snazzy iTunes App Store and the Android Market).

TUESDAY: Cranbrook. Game day.

Cranbrook

Within the tiny 4,000+ seat venue that is Western Financial Place, the Silvertips kept it low-scoring, simple, and methodical. Nothing too much out of the ordinary as far as the “slice of life” factor becoming unique, though the experience of walking into a piece of hockey heritage and see a pair of Niedermayer jerseys was a fascinating stop.

Of note, Carter Hart is still unreal, and Dario Winkler picked a fine time to break a six-game goal-scoring drought. GWG and an assist for his first multi-point game.

Postgame: you ever had Schnitzel? There’s a first time for everything (and it involves this postgame meal on the bus). What a way to expand the taste buds (just eat light during the day, to save room).

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WEDNESDAY: Lethbridge. Today, 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a tad moist outside.
DISTANCE TRAVELED: 304 miles

Quick stop and we’re outta here after the game tonight. Or, that was the plan.

The bus broke down. Or so we thought. At about 3am, just 30 minutes away from Lethbridge, we pulled over to the side of the highway in the throes of freezing rain and snow. We thought the bus had a flat tire. Instead, it was hard snow that accumulated inside the wheel.

Whew.

For the Silvertips, the return home gets sweeter (Riley Sutter’s home in the Calgary grounds is just 90 minutes away – Connor Dewar’s family has made the trip from Manitoba, a 12 hour drive, to visit on game day). No morning skate after maneuvering the icy highways and getting into the hotel at 3:00am.

It’s best to save the legs for game night.

With the only meeting of the season between the Tips and Canes around the corner, the battle of wills takes center stage. Defensively, there’s no one better than the Tips now (1.9 goals against). Offensively, there’s almost no one better than Lethbridge (2nd at 3.9 goals for, and only Kelowna’s better at four even per game). Pace versus structure: it’s a fascinating battle.

Remi Laurencelle was an acquisition from Lethbridge, so motivation won’t be too hard for one of the Silvertips overagers.

On the Hurricanes, looking to end a six-year playoff drought (and two years removed from a 50+  loss season), Brayden Burke is flat-out killing it with 31 points in 20 games. Andrew Nielsen has 22 points in 20 games on the blue line and is drawing the microscope, positively, now as a Toronto Maple Leafs draftee.

No dice on this night, and the Silvertips third period comeback falls short. Gotta work on those last-minute goals. They were also cracked for their first shorthanded goal all season. Mario Petit wasn’t too shabby in his first career start with 25 saves. One backdoor save he made in the first period, requiring athleticism, was a good indication that he settled in.

Lethbridge to Medicine Hat was a little bit more of a serene trip. No problem there.

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THURSDAY and FRIDAY: Medicine Hat, Alberta
DISTANCE TRAVELED: 98 miles

… Home of the Tigers. The world’s largest teepee. And a living broadcast legend.

Two days in town meant not just a light practice at the glistening new Canalta Centre (a swift departure from the familiarity and intimacy of Medicine Hat Arena – but an entertainment destination designed to deliver upgraded amenities). I’ve seen more tattered buildings in the American Hockey League. For one, I’m a big fan of the press box. There’s enough space for you to lay materials out appropriately, the “office space” is clean and wired appropriately, and the executive office chairs are a nice touch. The Bob Ridley Broadcast Centre delivers.

Speaking of Bob, it was my first experience having a conversation with the gentleman, and it was everything I hoped for. Bob delivers authenticity, joy, is extremely articulate and a grounded individual. It’s no wonder he’s got the press box named after him and is widely regarded as a “living legend,” when you combine those traits with his years of service.

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The night before the Silvertips took on the Tigers, the team, coaches and staff enjoyed a wonderful rendezvous and dinner with owner Bill Yuill, Chairman and CEO of the Monarch Corporation (their offices are in Medicine Hat).

What you can chalk up to a 2-1 loss: a second period that got away from the Silvertips. A mistake at the blueline led to Chad Butcher’s shorthanded goal. The Tips fell short in the special teams battle. That’ll lead to an undesirable result on the scoreboard.

On the side, family matters brought several related to Silvertips players. Notably, Riley Sutter had his own cheering section (Ron Sutter said later, “no one was louder than Riley’s mom”) for his first career WHL goal. Save Calgary, it couldn’t have come in a better place – his hometown province of Alberta. Quite fitting his Dad, Mom and Sister could take it in.

I said before the season that “I live to unfold a story each night,” and these are the storylines that drive my broadcast engine. They’re awesome.

Onto Calgary. Postgame meal: caesar salad, roasted potatoes, pork medallions.

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SATURDAY: Calgary
DISTANCE TRAVELED: 183 miles

The names of MacDonald, Fleury, Nieuwendyk, Iginla and “Johnny Hockey” permeate this longtime NHL home of the Flames.

Scotiabank Saddledome –  where we pulled in at 1:00 a.m. – is obviously not just another road trip stop. For players who grew up with the Flames, or have been exposed to this venue with rooting interests for another team facing the Flames, the stop means enjoying the same playground that names like Fleury, Gretzky, Lemieux, Crosby, Ovechkin, Iginla, etc. have used. The dressing rooms are meticulously manicured. The benches offer extra wide walking space, not to mention, a 28-inch flat screen video monitor buried in the floor of coaches platform. It’s an engineering marvel worthy of an NHL stamp.

It’s my first visit to the Saddledome (and second NHL building on a broadcast work night – during the last NHL lockout, I once called a game at San Jose in December for the Stockton Thunder), so naturally, the experience exceeds the expectations. The sightlines are majestic, yet steep. The “Peter Maher Press Box” hangs in the rafters of the Saddledome, offering spectacular bird’s eye views of the action which enable a broadcast call to inject more detail with breakouts. But the view is  extremely high, and not for the individual quivering at heights.

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Back to Sutter: it’s official ground zero for his “old stomping grounds.” I’ve rarely seen someone beam so brightly to play in the city he grew up in. Ron shared a spectacular story with us later that night, on how a five-year old Riley kept the Calgary Flames loose in the dressing room during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, after he took a rip on the Saddledome ice.

Just three minutes into the call with Doug Sinclair, a familiar NHL executive and hall-of-famer take a seat five feet away in the adjacent booth. They can hear our call.

Brian Burke and Joe Nieuwendyk.

No pressure.

It’s a marvel at how the Silvertips have become so good – borderline automatic – at scoring the first goal. Saturday night brings no exception. Dawson Leedahl and Carson Stadnyk engineered a textbook rush up ice, finished with Laurencelle slamming Stadnyk’s ricochet at the left post for a 1-0 lead.

Things looked bright all the way until the halfway point of the third, after Matt Fonteyne hammered a power play goal off a one-timer at the right circle. But two goals that uncharacteristically fooled Hart – one from the side of the right circle by Jordy Stallard after a fanned point attempt and a short-side goal from Hitmen captain Colby Harmsworth following a defensive zone turnover. Ouch.

Radel Fazleev – Philadelphia Flyers property – scored the only goal in the shootout, and the bus ride home began a tad quieter than what many associated with the Silvertips envisioned two hours prior.

Road trips aren’t easy, and the Tips gaining three points indicated a small speed bump. No problem. The record at the end: 11-7-0-2 (4-5-0-1 on the road). It’s apparently a good lesson to be learned about playing in hostile territory.

I’ll think about that, over the Tim Hortons coffee that made its way back home.

NOW LISTENING: Let it Die (Foo Fighters) 

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More photos that are not included in this blog, but are pretty fun to look at, are available on the Tips Mobile App. Get it on the App Store (iPhone) or the Android Market. 

 

 

Everything You Know About the Silvertips Offense is Wrong.

At 10-5-0-1, the Everett Silvertips aren’t just gaining attention for an NHL experienced head coach and a couple of blue chippers.

They have conversation, and it goes something like this:

  • “They play the right way.”
  • “They are tough to play against.”
  • “They work hard.”

So it comes to no surprise that by allowing a little over two goals per game, second lowest in the league, the task of getting puck into high-grade scoring territory (let alone one past Carter Hart) seems as easy as continuously attempting to paddle board through a tidal wave.

It will flush you, eventually, and it will frustrate you.

Ask the WHL’s leading goal scorer, Jon Martin, about tonight (bye bye, six-game road scoring streak).

But now, they can score too.

Nine goals in the last two games: pinned on Spokane and Swift Current. And it’s not like one line (or player) teed off with a hot streak. Remi Laurencelle had 3 goals. Devon Skoleski had a multi point game tonight. Carson Stadnyk and Dawson Leedahl (one night after being a “good team player” and spotting in a defenseman role) had multi point games tonight. Jake Christiansen had his first career WHL goal (while he and Tristen Pfeifer have noticeably become more comfortable as a pair).

It’s as spread around as it gets.

Not to get too far ahead – but now, the Tips are developing with elements necessary for postseason success. Case in point:

  • Winning tight games (7-2-0-1 combined in 1-goal, and 2-goal games)
  • Goaltending (do we need to rehash Hart’s unconscious numbers?)
  • Special teams (6th in WHL power play – 21.8 percent)

“Buy in” is not a problem. Just listen to what Kevin Constantine said, Mark Lamb said, and what we (postgame replay) said after Saturday night.

LISTEN: Postgame audio vs Swift Current (Silvertips website) 
WATCH: Game highlights 

The Silvertips Did So Many Things Right and Then Some, Friday Night.

By the numbers last night, where the Silvertips exorcised a few demons:

  • 5 goals: most since Oct. 11 vs. Prince Albert (9 of the last 10 games they had less than 3 goals)
  • Lead after one period: first time since Nov. 1 at Portland (just the third time this season – now 2-0-1 in that dept.)
  • Remi Laurencelle goal: his first since Oct. 10 – broke a nine game goal-scoring drought
  • Dario Winkler assist (a rocket feed to Kevin Davis, stationed at the point): broke a five-game scoring drought

Of course, we can’t leave out other important facts, like limiting shots (second time this season, under 20), scoring the first goal of the game (thanks Graham Millar – that’s now 7 of the last 9 games for the Tips), and a dash of Carter Hart. Two goals allowed isn’t exactly invincible status, but both were scored on the power play (one on a two-man advantage). His numbers since Oct. 23: 5-3-1, 1.43 GAA, .946 save percentage.

Last night’s audio below.

LISTEN: Prospect Nick Henry – 1st intermission 

LISTEN: Kevin Constantine pregame 

LISTEN: Silvertips Replay 

TONIGHT: Jon Martin and the Swift Current Broncos, for the first and only meeting of the season. We would be drumming the humongous prospect battle between Noah Juulsen and Jake DeBrusk for many Habs/Bruins rivalry games to come, but DeBrusk didn’t suit up last night, and has been ruled out indefinitely after suffering a lower body injury whilst blocking a shot, Nov. 4. He just had surgery.

Martin will still command plenty of attention. He exploded after a trade from Kootenay to emerge tied for second in league scoring with 35 points in 19 games. That’ll draw some pro scout eyeballs.

ON AIR: 6:30pm

LISTEN LIVE: Fox Sports 1380 

GUESTS: Kevin Constantine (pregame), Jake Christiansen (pregame), Remi Laurencelle (pregame), Noah Juulsen (1st intermission) 

UPDATE: Cole MacDonald is in (6:26PM)!

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP

The Silvertips end a stretch of back-to-back games at home tonight, hosting the Swift Current Broncos in the only meeting of the season between the two teams. Fans in attendance can participate in the “Movemberfest” promotion, offering opportunities to support the Silvertips in their fundraising for men’s health during the month of November, associated with moustache growth. The Silvertips carry an all-time record of 8-4-0 against Swift Current, last meeting on Jan. 10, 2015 in a 3-1 victory. The Silvertips are playing in their third game this season against an East Division opponent (1-0-0-1 record).

HEAD-TO-HEAD: HOLD YOUR HORSES

Saturday’s game is the first meeting between the Silvertips and Broncos at XFINITY Arena since Oct. 20, 2013 (the Silvertips defeated Swift Current, 4-1), the 13th meeting since the series began in 2003-04. The Silvertips are 8-4-0 in the series but have won eight of the last 10 head-to-head meetings, outscoring the Broncos 34-21 in the series. Swift Current reached the postseason last year with a record of 34-33-1-4 and returning forward Jake DeBrusk (missing since Nov. 4 due to injury) – a first round selection (14th overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft – was signed by Boston this week to an entry level contract. Broncos general manager and head coach Mark Lamb skated in 403 career NHL games as a defenseman, won a Stanley Cup with Edmonton in 1990, and has seven seasons with assistant coach experience in the NHL.

SILVERTIPS HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD: 8-4-0-0 (overall), 2-3-0-0 (home)  

LAST SILVERTIPS HOME WIN: 10/20/13, 4-1 victory (Josh Winquist, 1g-2a; Ivan Nikolishin, GWG)  

LAST MEETING: 1/10/15, 3-1 victory (Noah Juulsen, GWG; Carter Hart, 28 saves)

LAST 3 GAMES:

EVT 5 – SPO 2 (11/13/15): Linemates Matt Fonteyne and Patrick Bajkov each collected a pair of points while goaltender Carter Hart turned in 15 saves, helping the Everett Silvertips cruise past the Spokane Chiefs in a 5-2 victory before 4,022 fans at XFINITY Arena on Friday night. The Silvertips, exacting revenge on Wednesday’s 3-0 defeat, improved to 2-1-0-0 in the series and 6-2-0-1 on the home schedule, welcoming assistant coach Mitch Love (gold medal at the Under-17 challenge), defenseman Noah Juulsen and goaltender Carter Hart (Canada-Russia series) back for their first home game from success with Hockey Canada. The Silvertips never trailed in the game and ran away with three unanswered goals in the final period.

 

SPO 3 – EVT 0 (11/11/15): Lasse Petersen earned a 24-save shutout in his debut, helping the Spokane Chiefs get by the Everett Silvertips, 3-0 at Spokane Arena on Wednesday night. The Silvertips (8-5-1-1) had their three-game win streak come to an end, backed by Carter Hart’s 29 saves after his return at 5:00 p.m. to Spokane Arena from the Canada vs. Russia Series. The Silvertips, without Noah Juulsen in the lineup (rest), were shut out for the second time this season and fell to 1-1-0-0 in the series.

 

EVT 3 – VAN 2 (11/7/15): Patrick Bajkov scored a goal, added a pair of assists and the Everett Silvertips pounded the Vancouver Giants for three goals in the second period for a 3-2 victory before 5,208 fans at XFINITY Arena on Saturday. By winning their third in a row, the Silvertips (8-4-0-1, 17 points) kept pace behind the Seattle Thunderbirds, four points off the U.S. Division leads (Everett has four games in hand). The Silvertips busted a power play drought of three games, scoring on both chsances while limiting Vancouver’s man advantage to an 0-of-2 clip. Matt Fonteyne added a goal and an assist, while Carter Hart turned in a 31 save effort.

 

LOVE CONQUERS ALL, AND WITH TEAM CANADA

Silvertips assistant coach Mitch Love returned to the Everett bench this week after helping capture the gold medal for Hockey Canada as assistant coach for the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Oct. 30-Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. Love worked with high-ranked players born in 1999 or later, eligible to compete for Canada with the National Men’s U-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.

MORE TIPS, MORE TEAM CANADA

Goaltender Carter Hart (draft eligible in 2016) and defenseman Noah Juulsen (first round selection of Montreal, 2015) represented the Tips and the WHL for Hockey Canada in the 2015 CHL Canada Russia Series, which got underway Monday in Kelowna with Juulsen (goal) and Hart (six saves) contributing in a 7-3 victory over Russia. Hart and Juulsen (+3 in Tuesday’s game at Kamloops) competed along with seven additional first round selections of the NHL Entry Draft.

MILESTONE TRACKER

  • Dawson Leedahl is 11 games away from 100 in his WHL and Silvertips career
  • Patrick Bajkov is 25 points away from 100 in his WHL career

STUCKY CELEBRATES A MILESTONE:

Silvertips equipment manager James Stucky worked the 1,500th game in his career on Oct. 28 vs. Brandon. The native of Burien, Wash. has served the Silvertips in his capacity since the inception of the franchise in 2003, having previously worked in the American Hockey League with Cincinnati, in the IHL with Indianapolis and in the CHL with Memphis from 1995-2003. He was honored last Friday night with a pre-game ceremonial puck drop.

UNDER LOCK AND KEY

The Silvertips defense ranks second in the WHL with 2.2 goals allowed per game … Everett has allowed two goals or less in 11 of the first 15 games … the Silvertips are the only team to earn a shutout against Seattle this season … the Silvertips have allowed just five goals in the first period, fewest in the WHL … Everett’s 29.0 shots allowed per game are fifth in the WHL … the Silvertips are 7-2-0-0 when tied after one period

 

HART OF STONE

Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart, entering his second full season of play in the WHL, ranks among the league’s leader in several goaltending categories since beginning his career with the Silvertips. Entering tonight, Hart is the leader in WHL goals-against-average for the last two seasons.

WHL GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE LEADERS*, SINCE START OF 2014-15 SEASON:

RANK PLAYER TEAM GAA SV W L OTL SOL
1 Carter Hart EVT 2.29 1642 34 15 0 5
2 Jake Morrissey VAN 2.45 398 8 4 0 0
3 Taran Kozun SEA 2.50 1847 35 21 0 5
4 Jackson Whistle KEL 2.53 2342 58 15 0 6
Logan Flodell SEA 2.53 576 11 7 0 1

* Minimum 500 minutes played

Aftermath: Has the levee broken?

We certainly hope so.

They hadn’t scored more than two per game since Oct. 11 vs Prince Albert.

The more this went on, it seemed the likelier scenario than a 3-4 goal Silvertips game would be:

a. The Seahawks trading Russell Wilson
b. The frequent visit of Halley’s Comet
c. Elvis returns alive

Thank goodness for that second period, beginning on Josh Thrower’s penalty. Three goals in 10:55. Hey, it’s progress from two in a span of the final 23 minutes, Friday.

As Kevin Constantine said, the effort was there. The battle level was there. You had to imagine: the results would soon be there. Tonight, it was enough.

LISTEN: Kevin Constantine pregame 
LISTEN: Silvertips Replay segment, postgame (Fox Sports 1380) 

Takeaways:

  1. Use your timeout wisely. With 53.1 seconds left and the Silvertips nursing a one-goal lead, Kevin Constantine manufactured a lengthy break for five players on the verge of fatigue with a timeout following an icing call, and a face-off in their own zone. Why not use it? The strategy worked to perfection. The Tips, rested enough for the ensuing face-off, got the puck down ice at the opportune time (Dawson Leedahl barely missed on an empty netter from center ice). They sealed victory. It was a smart decision befitting a coach who’s been through plenty of these battles, all the way to the NHL level. Great call.
  2. If there was ever an “honorable mention” star, Noah Juulsen deserved it. Because Carter Hart, Patrick Bajkov and Matt Fonteyne were outstanding. But Juulsen engineered the Silvertips power play, who connected on their only two opportunities, and “introduced” himself to a few Giants tonight with hits along the boards. If it moved, Juulsen hit it.
  3. This space reserved for the incredible feats of Carter Hart. Getting to that point where we start running out of supleratives. Hart had 31 saves, a garden variety point-blank stop on Ben Thomas’ hat trick bid (hello, diving stick-side save) and turned in a win boosting his total to 4-2-1 in seven games: .953 save percentage and 1.27 GAA. #nbd

PRESS ROOM MEAL: Beef stroganoff (the certified “clubhouse leader” of Al Kinisky this season), sautéed veggies, dinner roll and brownie platter.

LASTING IMAGE: Let’s hug it out.

Bridging the Gap: Ugly, Bounces, and the Giants

Kevin Davis’ OT winner, a bouncer off the paraphernalia of Brad Morrison, represents back-to-back wins, Davis’ first goal since January, and the continuous criteria needed for breaking out of a funk:

Get pucks to the net, and good things will happen.

There was some residue from the nightmarish battles with Adin Hill, and like the previous few games against the Winterhawks, a haunting narrative continued to cloud Friday’s game: battle level high, shots high, results low. The Silvertips couldn’t do much more than outshooting Prince George, 38-24. But maybe they needed a dress rehearsal (see: Leedahl’s overturned 2nd period goal) to finally get things going in the right direction.

LISTEN: Game audio vs. Prince George

Takeaways:
1. Some guy named Hart. Not much more you can ask for out of a guy playing at a level of “incredible.” The totals, last 6 games: 3-2-1, 1.15 GAA, .956 save percentage.

2. At first of you don’t succeed … go back to your original blueprint. The Leedahl-Fonteyne-Stadnyk experiment lasted for about 35 minutes, whereupon #17 and #13 returned to their original top-six pivot battle stations. After that: Leedahl nets a 1-0 lead, and Laurencelle turns in an assist on the game-winning goal.

3. Uglier than pond scum … if you can connect three consecutive passes in one shift tonight, call it a win. The Tips had to grind this thing out, rely on Carter Hart and lean on opportunity. Things went the right way. It’s needed tonic for the offensively-starved.

Onto the Vancouver Giants. Quick turnaround for all of us, so we’ll let you rely on this post to follow along. Al Kinisky and I have the call beginning at 6:30pm. You can listen below (FOX Sports 1380). It’ll be the first meeting of the season against the Giants, who have obviously seen better days, and are still struggling after a flurry of trades. The Tips won all 3 games at XFINITY Arena in the series last year, outscoring the Giants 14-1.

LISTEN LIVE: Saturday’s broadcast (FOX Sports 1380) 

Pressroom meal: Chicken cordon bleu, garlic bread, steamed vegetables, dessert platter (I plead the fifth).

Lasting image: have you hugged your goaltender today?

We May Use This On The Air! (11/6 vs Prince George)

Al Kinisky’s back this evening, we’ve missed his presence. He and I have the Everett Bone & Joint Pregame Show at 7pm. Face-off at 7:30.

LISTEN LIVE (KKXA Tonight): Click here

There will be a couple interesting lineup changes to note. We can’t reveal them now for the purpose of keeping value in pregame show content (you gotta listen). But one thing’s for sure: the Silvertips get a visitor that while doesn’t exactly employ a goaltender as tough to climb as Mount Kilimanjaro (looking at you, Adin Hill), collectively they aren’t exactly a pushover.

The Prince George Cougars are playing with a considerable amount of confidence: they’ve won seven of ten games. They have a group of forwards who present a clear and present danger as anybody in the league (Harkins, Morrison, Gabrielle, etc). The Silvertips defense will be tested throughout tonight.

The good news: trends show keeping the puck out of their own net aren’t exactly a chore. The Tips are second in the WHL with 2.2 goals allowed per game (Carter Hart’s got a lot to do with that, carrying a save percentage over .950 since Oct. 23). They’re a hope and life squeezing machine once in contention: 5-1 when tied after one period, and 5-1-1 when leading after two.

Talk with you soon.

1st INTERMISSION GUEST: Rod Egan, Silvertips Scout (Alberta region) 

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP
A two game homestand launches this evening with the third meeting of the season between the Everett Silvertips and Prince George Cougars, also marking the first time both clubs will meet at XFINITY Arena this season. The Silvertips are 1-1-0-0 in the series and split a two-game series in the last set, Sept. 25-27 at CN Centre to open the regular season. At home, the Silvertips are 3-2-0-1 at home this season. The Silvertips have only faced teams from the B.C. Division twice this season – both matchups have come against the Cougars.

TONIGHT’S GUEST
The Silvertips welcome Jordyn Wieber, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in 2012 (London) to XFINITY Arena for tonight’s game. Wieber will participate in the pregame ceremonial puck drop.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: LOOK WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN
The Prince George Cougars went 31-36-2-3 (67 points) last season, finishing seventh in the Western Conference while compiling a home record of 16-17-1-2. Center Jansen Harkins led the Cougars in scoring last season, collecting 79 points (20g-59a) in 70 games and was selected in the second round (47th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. His father, Todd, skated over the course of three seasons in the NHL with Calgary and Hartford and currently serves as general manager for the Cougars. Overage forward Chase Witala led the Cougars last season with 38 goals.

The Silvertips are 3-3-0-0 in the last six matchups with Prince George, last facing the Cougars at XFINITY Arena on Feb. 28 (5-1 defeat).

SILVERTIPS HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD: 30-16-3-2 (overall), 13-10-0-2 (rhome)
LAST SILVERTIPS HOME WIN: 9/21/13, 8-3 (Manraj Hayer, GWG)
LAST MEETING: 9/27/15 at Prince George, 5-1 loss

LAST 3 GAMES:
EVT 2 – POR 1 (11/1/15): Cole MacDonald scored a dramatic, game-winning goal with 53.1 seconds left in regulation and Carter Hart registered 23 saves to lift the Everett Silvertips to a 2-1 victory over the host Portland Winterhawks, before 6,166 fans at Moda Center on Sunday. The Silvertips shattered the Winterhawks’ five game win streak, led in shots at 30-24, and kept red-hot Dominic Turgeon off the scoreboard for the second straight night (Turgeon had a six-game goal-scoring streak entering Friday, which the Tips broke). Brian King, a scratch on Friday against Portland, came through in the first period with his first career WHL goal. 

POR 2 – EVT 1 (10/30/15): Rodrigo Abols’ power play goal with 1:51 left in regulation snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted the Portland Winterhawks over the Everett Silvertips, 2-1 at XFINITY Arena on Friday. The Silvertips held a 30-8 shots advantage in the first two periods, and Devon Skoleski netted the Silvertips’ only goal, in the second period to break Adin Hill’s shutout streak in the head-to-head series of over five consecutive periods. Counterpart Carter Hart registered 11 saves.

BDN 3 – EVT 2 (SO) (10/28/15): Carter Hart’s 38 saves helped the Everett Silvertips force overtime against the defending Eastern Conference champions, settling for a 3-2 shootout loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings before a crowd of 3,408 at XFINITY Arena on Wednesday. The Silvertips, buoyed by a two-goal outburst to begin the game, were aided by former Wheat King Dario Winkler’s first career WHL goal in his Silvertips debut. Hart’s counterpart, Logan Thompson, made 20 saves while Braylon Shmyr’s third period goal helped force overtime.

LOVE CONQUERS ALL, AND WITH TEAM CANADA

Silvertips assistant coach Mitch Love, absent from the team this week, is currently serving Hockey Canada as assistant coach for the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Oct. 30-Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. Love is working with high-ranked players born in 1999 or later, eligible to compete for Canada with the National Men’s U-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.

MILESTONE TRACKER

  • Dawson Leedahl is 15 games away from 100 in his WHL and Silvertips career
  • Patrick Bajkov is 30 points away from 100 in his WHL career

UNDER LOCK AND KEY
The Silvertips defense ranks second in the WHL with 2.2 goals allowed per game … Everett has allowed two goals or less in 8 of the first 11 games, including two games against Prince Albert (#6) and Seattle (#9), both ranked in the CHL Top 10 rankings this week … the Silvertips are the only team to earn a shutout against Seattle this season … the Silvertips have allowed just five goals in the first period, fewest in the WHL … Everett’s 30 shots allowed per game are eighth in the WHL … the Silvertips are 5-1-0-0 when tied after one period and 5-1-1 when leading after two periods.

HART OF STONE
Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart, entering his second full season of play in the WHL, ranks among the league’s leader in several goaltending categories since beginning his career with the Silvertips. Entering Friday, Hart is the leader in WHL goals-against-average for the last two seasons.

WHL GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE LEADERS*, SINCE START OF 2014-15 SEASON:

RANK PLAYER TEAM GAA SV W L OTL SOL
1 Carter Hart EVT 2.33 1537 31 14 0 5
2 Jake Morrissey VAN 2.45 398 8 4 0 0
3 Logan Flodell SEA 2.49 517 9 6 0 1
4 Taran Kozun SEA 2.50 1847 35 21 0 5
5 Jackson Whistle KEL 2.53 2257 55 15 0 6

* Minimum 500 minutes played

POSTGAME: 11/1 at Portland (2-1 win)

When it comes to hockey, there’s almost nothing like drama, and the sheer willpower to own it in the last minute of regulation.

Cole MacDonald owned that tonight like Ari Gold overtaking a boardroom in a scene from “Entourage.”

LISTEN: Postgame | Silvertips 2 – Portland 1 (11-1-15) 

Three takeaways:

  1. Carter Hart set the table (23 saves). He had to be good, again. He provided every reason for the Tips to be mentally perseverant with Adin Hill appearing to not give an inch, again. One diving save in the first period, and another nifty stop on Paul Bittner’s forceful move to the net were among the highlights. Despite a 2-2-1 record in four games, Hart’s got a 1.20 GAA and .956 save percentage. Goodness. Hill’s numbers were similar in a staggering manner. The last nine days, including three matchups with these guys, provided authentic, keeping-it-real, “knockdown/drag-out” style goaltending duels. NHL teams, take note. What a spectacle.
  2. When it rains, it pours. The offense is coming. It’s one thing to say you can’t score goals, but it’s another thing to not score goals and exert any effort. The Tips have pumped 68 shots on net in the last two games, but have just 3 goals to show against a guy who only took CHL Goaltender of the Week honors and has three shutouts this year. Oh, and he’s 6-foot-4, playing with a semi-truck load of confidence. The Adin Hill workout is done with until Dec. 9. Should the effort continue, the offense will turn the corner.
  3. Turning point of the season? For teams struggling or treading water to begin the season, along come wins that define a “new beginning.” Consider tonight: up 1-0 after two periods (like Friday). Allowing a 1-1 in the third period (like Friday). Drawing a late penalty kill (like Friday). This time, the puck goes in for them in the time of high drama (53.1 seconds left, unlike Friday). Tonight, the tables were turned, and the Tips deserved a jovial bus ride home, up I-5.

LASTING IMAGE: Everyone helps take care of the job.

We May Use This On The Air! (11/1 vs. Portland)

Hey, we haven’t seen these guys in awhile.

Fifth time in the first 11 regular season games (8 in 16 if you count preseason) that the Silvertips see the Portland Winterhawks. Last time out, the Tips threw the kitchen sink at Adin Hill, who apparently was equipped to stop a barge if thrown at him (38 saves).

Next time the Tips see the Winterhawks (1-3-0 in the series): Dec. 9 at Everett.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Opening face-off at 5:00 p.m. and on-air at 4:30 from Rip City.

The trend has seen Carter vs Adin, and we’re due to see it again tonight. Both have been lights out. Hart’s played every minute in the last four games (well, really all but 28 minutes this whole season), and carries a .955 save percentage and 1.24 GAA in that stretch. Hill, the reigning CHL goaltender of the week, is significantly responsible for the Winterhawks surge in the last five games (5-0-0): 1.40 GAA and .966 save percentage.

Needless to say, the Tips have to find a way to solve him.

LISTEN: Tonight’s broadcast on Fox Sports 1380

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP
The Silvertips return to the road against the Portland Winterhawks in the fifth meeting of the season. The Silvertips are 2-3-0-0 this season on the road and last visited Moda Center on Oct. 3, a 3-1 victory over Portland. All-time, the Silvertips are 60-55-13 in the series and will next meet the Winterhawks on Dec. 9 in Everett. Devon Skoleski leads the Silvertips with three points and goals in the series. Portland is led Rodrigo Abols, who has four points (2g-2a) in the series.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:
The Portland Winterhawks, led by head coach Jamie Kompon (in his second season as head coach), finished second in the U.S. Division last season at 43-23-2-4 and were eliminated in six games by the Kelowna Rockets, the eventual league champion, in the Western Conference Final. The Winterhawks began the season returning a pair of 20-year old forwards, defenseman Blake Heinrich and right winger Alex Schoenborn. Forward Paul Bittner is the returning leading scorer with 71 points in 66 games last season, and forward Olivier Bjorkstrand, who led the league with 118 points in 59 games, is currently in the American Hockey League with the Lake Erie Monsters. Portland has won a season-high five consecutive games and is scheduled soon to debut Rihards Bukarts, acquired in a trade with Brandon on Thursday.

SILVERTIPS HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD: 60-55-13 (overall), 27-32-7 (road)
LAST SILVERTIPS ROAD WIN: 10/3/15, 3-1 (Noah Juulsen, GWG)
LAST MEETING: 10/30/15 at Everett, 2-1 loss

LAST 3 GAMES:
POR 2 – EVT 1 (10/30/15): Rodrigo Abols’ power play goal with 1:51 left in regulation snapped a 1-1 tie and lifted the Portland Winterhawks over the Everett Silvertips, 2-1 at XFINITY Arena on Friday. The Silvertips held a 30-8 shots advantage in the first two periods, and Devon Skoleski netted the Silvertips’ only goal, in the second period to break Adin Hill’s shutout streak in the head-to-head series of over five consecutive periods. Counterpart Carter Hart registered 11 saves.

BDN 3 – EVT 2 (SO) (10/28/15): Carter Hart’s 38 saves helped the Everett Silvertips force overtime against the defending Eastern Conference champions, settling for a 3-2 shootout loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings before a crowd of 3,408 at XFINITY Arena on Wednesday. The Silvertips, buoyed by a two-goal outburst to begin the game, were aided by former Wheat King Dario Winkler’s first career WHL goal in his Silvertips debut. Hart’s counterpart, Logan Thompson, made 20 saves while Braylon Shmyr’s third period goal helped force overtime.

EVT 2 – SEA 0 (10/24/15): Carter Hart made 32 saves for his sixth career shutout and Connor Dewar added a goal and an assist to lead the Everett Silvertips (5-3-0-0, 10 points) to a 2-0 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds before a crowd of 7,311 at XFINITY Arena on Saturday. The Silvertips earned their third win in four home games, and snapped Seattle’s six-game winning streak. Lucas Skrumeda added a second period goal, while Hart’s shutout was his second of the season, following up a 25-save effort last night against Portland. He improved to 3-0 in three lifetime appearances against the Thunderbirds.

LOVE CONQUERS ALL, AND WITH TEAM CANADA
Silvertips assistant coach Mitch Love, absent from the team this week, is currently serving Hockey Canada as assistant coach for the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Oct. 30-Nov. 7 in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C. Love is working with high-ranked players born in 1999 or later, eligible to compete for Canada with the National Men’s U-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.

MILESTONE TRACKER

  • Remi Laurencelle played in his 200th career WHL game on Wednesday
  • Dawson Leedahl is 16 games away from 100 in his WHL and Silvertips career
  • Patrick Bajkov is 30 points away from 100 in his WHL career

STUCKY CELEBRATES A MILESTONE:
Silvertips equipment manager James Stucky worked the 1,500th game in his career on Wednesday. The native of Burien, Wash. has served the Silvertips in his capacity since the inception of the franchise in 2003, having previously worked in the American Hockey League with Cincinnati, in the IHL with Indianapolis and in the CHL with Memphis from 1995-2003. He was honored Friday night with a pre-game ceremonial puck drop.

ABSOLUTE POWER (PLAY)
Through Friday – the Silvertips power play ranks seventh in the ECHL at 24.3 percent (9-of-37) and went 0-of-6 on Friday against the Portland Winterhawks … Everett’s power play at home is fifth in the WHL at 30.4 percent … Carson Stadnyk’s power play goal (2nd) gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead over Brandon on Oct. 28 …  Patrick Bajkov and Noah Juulsen lead the Silvertips power play with four points each … a total of 12 Silvertips players, including goaltender Carter Hart, have registered at least one power play point this season.

HART OF STONE
Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart, entering his second full season of play in the WHL, ranks among the league’s leaders in several goaltending categories since beginning his career with the Silvertips. Through Friday, Hart is the leader in WHL goals-against-average for the last two seasons.

WHL GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE LEADERS*, SINCE START OF 2014-15 SEASON:

RANK PLAYER TEAM GAA SV W L OTL SOL
1 Carter Hart EVT 2.36 1390 30 14 5 4
2 Jake Morrissey VAN 2.45 366 8 4 0 1
3 Logan Flodell SEA 2.48 427 8 5 1 1
4 Taran Kozun SEA 2.5 1687 35 21 5 4
5 Michael Herringer KEL 2.54 604 19 4 0 0

* Minimum 500 minutes played

PROSPECT UPDATE
BRETT KEMP (F): selected by the Silvertips in the second round (41st overall) in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. Kemp, 15, was selected to Team Saskatchewan for the 2015 Western Conference U16 Challenge Cup, which started Wednesday (Kemp had an assist in the opener vs. Manitoba)  in Calgary. Kemp was selected among the highest-rated players in the Under-16 category representing the four Western Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Kemp was third in his league’s scoring last season with the Yorkton Terriers (Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League) with 79 points (37g-42a) in 30 games.