Over these past nine games, records show that the Everett Silvertips have won nine times.
The Silvertips haven’t lost a game in regulation in 25 days. They are currently sitting with a comfortable 13-point lead atop the US Division, aided significantly by the fact that they beat the Portland Winterhawks (2nd place) twice and the Spokane Chiefs (3rd place) three times during the win streak. Beating up on your own division is the only sure-fire way to get out to a big lead in the standings.
The Tips are also still sitting atop the Western Conference, though the surging Vancouver Giants aren’t far behind. Everett holds a 7-point lead at the moment, but they’ve also played four more games than Vancouver. The Giants are riding their own 7-game win streak at the moment and are definitely worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.
Sometimes looking for flaws with a team on the verge of a double digit win streak feels very nit picky, but in the Silvertips’ case, there are some pretty obvious issues. Everett’s power play is an abysmal 3-29 (10.3%) during the streak. On the bright side, they are still generating a decent amount of offense (3.4 goals/game), but the lack of a solid power play could be something that comes back to bite them later. You can’t really say they aren’t trying anything new to get it going though.
During their first power play of Sunday’s game against Spokane, Everett’s second power play unit scoffed at the 4-forward, 1-defenseman (4F1D) unit that’s been taking over the NHL. The forwards clearly weren’t getting it done, so they went with the 2F3D look here. This is highly unusual, but in a way it does play to the strengths of the team. The blue-line is one of the best in the league, so why not get more of them some extra time with the man-advantage? Or you know, maybe it’s just because three of their forwards (including betweenness hero Martin Fasko-Rudas) are injured and a fourth is suspended.
Oh right, the suspension. Sean Richards was given a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding during Saturday’s game against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
We are currently awaiting word from the league on how long his suspension will be. The league announced on Tuesday that Richards has been suspended 8 games, citing the injury to the opponent as well as his history as a repeat offender. This will be the fifth time Richards has been suspended by the league since November of 2017. His previous four suspensions totaled 12 games, the most recent being a 5-game suspension for a check to the head. It’s also worth noting that each successive suspension has been longer than the last (1, 2, 4, 5, and now 8 games).
The Good Stuff
Everett continues to pick at what’s left of a Swift Current Broncos team that has fallen hard since winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup last year. Early last week they made a trade for forward Max Patterson, who immediately slots in at center, a position they are dearly lacking. Patterson has looked good three games into his tenure, getting a point in each game so far. His first goal with his new team also happened to be the game winner on Saturday.
Goaltending continues to be a huge strength for the team. We all know by now that Dustin Wolf is for real. He pitched two shutouts in eight starts during the streak.
Wait, 8 starts? But it’s a 9-game streak, right?
That’s right folks, the first day of December was Max Palaga time! Palaga’s last start with the team didn’t go so well, and he was pulled just halfway through the first period. He got his chance for redemption against the Kootenay Ice, and seized it. Palaga got the first shutout of his WHL career, stopping all 36 shots he faced.
Connor Dewar you’re my hero
The Dewar World Juniors Snub Revenge Tour™ is officially on. Team Canada announced the roster for the World Junior selection camp last week and Dewar, who was expected to compete for a roster spot, was notably left off the invite list. It’s a bit of a disappointment for the star forward, but on the bright side, Everett will get to keep a motivated Dewar all throughout the tournament instead of losing him for 8 games. Dewar leads the team with 5 goals and 6 assists over their last nine.
Each week, I’ll be updating this team shot control chart. The basic idea behind this chart is that the team that controls the shots in a game typically has a better chance to win the game. Teams on the right are shooting a lot, teams up top are allowing a lot of shots. The “adjusted” part of the metric is in there because I’ve also made an adjustment based on each team’s PDO (PDO = team SV% + team SH%). This makes teams with low SV% (ie Calgary) look a bit worse, while teams benefitting from high SH% (ie Red Deer) look a bit better.
The Silvertips will head to Spokane to take on the Chiefs for the fifth time in a calendar month on Wednesday. Spokane has struggled a bit as of late, moving more towards league average in shot control as indicated above. They’ll also be without defenseman Ty Smith and forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan, as they are currently competing for a roster spot on Team Canada for this year’s World Juniors Tournament. Still, this isn’t a team that should be overlooked, seeing as how they were the last team to actually beat the Silvertips.
On Friday, the Tips will go up against the second hottest team in the league in the Vancouver Giants. The Giants are riding a 7-game win streak at the moment, and it’s bumped them up to 7th place in the latest CHL top-10 rankings. The Silvertips are still holding strong at 6th in those same rankings. This should be a fantastic game and could be an early playoff preview.
The Tips come back home to Everett on Saturday for a game against the struggling Seattle Thunderbirds. Everett has won all three games between the two rivals so far this year. Seattle has kept it close for the most part (well, except when they can’t get a shot on net for an entire period), with two of the games being decided by just one goal.