When addressing the media following his teams 5-2 loss to the Spokane Chiefs (36-21-3-2), Everett forward Matt Fonteyne made a veteran move by dismissing fatigue as an excuse.
The Silvertips (41-18-2-3) entered the game coming off a physical win over the Seattle Thunderbirds — as is usually the case — and looked to cap off a stretch of playing three games in three days and seven over the last 10.
Although in the first period the group looked composed and ready to counter the skillful attack of the Chiefs, it was short-lived as they were outplayed in the final two-thirds by almost every aspect of the game.
I don’t believe anyone would have questioned the players if upon their exit, they pointed towards the schedule as a cause for their issues — but they didn’t. In fact, they took a polar opposite approach by dismissing it outright.
“That’s just the way the schedule goes,” said Fonteyne as the assistant captain addressed the media. “They had a three-in-three as well and they had to travel all night to get here- or all day. ”
It was a well composed comment and one that we have come to expect from Fonteyne who is currently in his fifth full season with the team, and first as an assistant captain.
The Silvertips have officially secured their playoff spot and will need to stay sharp in their final eight games if they are to earn home-ice advantage in the first round — potentially against the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The playoffs feature best of seven rounds and, as with today, fatigue cannot be an excuse. When the buzzer sounds, it’s the final tallies on the scoreboard which matter. Any cause for concern is irrelevant.
In a pregame interview with award winning play-by-play announcer Mike Benton, Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams provided some insight into how they can prepare for these tough stretches.
“I think it’s a balance- you know of today’s athletes being in great shape and taking care of themselves,” explained Williams, now 64 games into his first season behind the bench. “I think it’s of our staff being cognitive of when to give them rest days, managing practice times- managing lift times...”
The team will need to rely on veteran players such as Fonteyne to lead the pack through tough moments, and if they do- this team will be very dangerous come playoffs.
The Silvertips next take the ice on March 2nd as they host the Kelowna Rockets (38-18-4-2). The Rockets sit first in the B.C. Division and have a spot secured in the playoffs. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:35 pm at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett.