Known throughout the WHL as a team that gives the opposition little to nothing in the way of offensive breathing room, the Everett Silvertips have continued executing their shutdown style in 2016-17, rattling off wins in six of their last seven while remaining undefeated in regulation over their last nine games.
The Tips have finished inside the top five for lowest goals against in the WHL in all seven seasons that Kevin Constantine has manned the bench in Everett, and this year has been no different as his club has surrendered a league-low 39 goals over 20 contests.
Everett’s latest triumph came in a 6-1 home ice win over the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday, a night where the Tips scored a franchise record-tying five power play goals.
“Our work ethic this year has been amazing,” forward Patrick Bajkov, who had a goal and two assists recently told Jesse Geleynse of the Everett Herald. “We’re finding ways to win games. We’ve got a little bit of a younger team and they’re chipping in great lately.”
Bajkov leads Everett in scoring with 27 points (9-18–27) over 20 games and is aided offensively by the contributions of Austrian winger Dominic Zwerger who has recorded 23 points (10-13–23). Eighteen year-old Calgary Flames prospect Eetu Tuulola also gives the Tips an intriguing look up front, having registered eight points (5-3–8) through 10 contests.
Defence remains Everett’s calling card and the Tips rely heavily on Montreal Canadiens prospect and captain Noah Juulsen who will be sure to get a long look from Hockey Canada in the weeks leading up to the World Junior Hockey Championship. Fourth-year veteran Kevin Davis and overage assistant captain Lukas Skrumenda also help carry the load on the Everett back end.
Another high profile Silvertip, reigning WHL Goaltender of the Year Carter Hart is making a bid for Canada’s National Junior Team this December and leads the league in goals-against average (1.98) and is second in save percentage (.929).
A second round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers last summer, Hart is 11-2-1-0 this season and has wins in six of his last seven starts. He represented the WHL last week in Edmonton, making 33 saves in a 4-1 win over Russia at Rogers Place.
Hart, who hails from nearby Sherwood Park, Alta., had a memorable experience getting the Team WHL win in front of friends and family.
“There was a lot of family and friends here tonight,” he said post-game. “I’m really excited and very grateful to share this experience with my teammates and with my family that came out to see us. We really came together as a group and bought into the plan set in front of us.”
Things are going well for the Silvertips, but they could be poised to get even better as the club enters a stretch of seven straight games on home ice beginning November 19th against Lethbridge. Of Everett’s remaining 13 games before the holiday break, 10 are at home.
The Silvertips continue to find success with the age-old WHL commitment to team defence, grinding down opponents and taking advantage of scoring opportunities when they arise.
With one of the WHL’s best defenders in Juulsen leading the way from the blue line and Hart standing as the last line of defence, the Silvertips are a tough two points on any night. As the season progresses and the games get more meaningful, this is a team with the foundation in place to make some noise in the Western Conference.
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