After five straight seasons hovering around the 40-win mark, the Everett Silvertips have emerged as one of the CHL’s consistently competitive franchises. The only thing they lack is a WHL Championship.
Last year’s league finalists and back-to-back defending U.S. Division champions, the 25-7-1-0 Silvertips are back in the driver’s seat as they ride a nine-game winning streak into mid-December.
Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week Dustin Wolf has picked up where three-time WHL Goaltender of the Year Carter Hart left off, holding the league’s third-lowest goals-against average of 1.84 while recording a .928 save percentage, 23 wins and three shutouts over 31 games.
Wolf turned in a 21-save shutout on Sunday in what was a high watermark for the club this season. Head coach Dennis Williams praised the effort that led to a 2-0 blanking of the visiting Spokane Chiefs.
“That was the proudest, from a coaching standpoint, win we’ve had all year,” Williams told Joshua Horton of the Everett Daily Herald. “I thought we competed hard and dictated play. I thought a lot of guys stepped up and played different roles and did a really good job, and when we had any breakdowns, Wolfie was solid in net.”
While Wolf has given the ‘Tips stability from the net out, team captain and leading scorer Connor Dewar has provided consistent offensive production, recording points in seven of the last eight games. The Minnesota Wild prospect represented the WHL in the CIBC Canada Russia Series earlier this season and has 43 points (23-20–43) over 29 contests.
Unfortunately for Dewar, he wasn’t invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp getting underway in Victoria, BC this week, something he’s put behind him as he continues to lead one of the hottest teams in the CHL.
“I was a little bit disappointed,” said Dewar of the news. “I thought I put a really good foot forward from the start of the season. I had a really good start and we’ve been playing well, so I thought I had a chance. But they made their decision and I wasn’t a part of it. So, it’s whatever.”
While Washington Capitals prospect Riley Sutter (11-23–34), 19-year-old Bryce Kindopp (13-16–29) and overage winger Sean Richards (10-8–18) have joined forces with Dewar up front, the Silvertips have benefitted from a pair of recent additions in reigning WHL champions Artyom Minulin (0-9–9) and Max Patterson (9-12–21) from the Swift Current Broncos.
Minulin, who joined the Silvertips in early November, has helped round out a defence corps led by Philadelphia Flyers prospect Wyatte Wylie (6-21–27), fourth-year veteran Jake Christensen (7-13–20) and former Broncos teammate Sahvan Khaira (3-11–14).
The 6-foot-2, 200Ib. defender was recently praised by Silvertips coach Dennis Williams, who has employed him against the best the opposition has to offer.
“He’s a really solid player out there and I think with the amount of minutes he plays and the players he has to play against, I think that says a lot about how he’s been playing, because he always gets the opportunity to play against the other team’s best. Obviously that’s a compliment for a player … that says that the coaching staff has that trust in you, and he’s earned that quickly.”
Everett currently leads the U.S. Division by a 13-point margin ahead of second-place Portland. In 16 games against divisional opponents this season, the Silvertips are 13-3-1-0.
Having played five of their last six at home, the club heads out on the road Wednesday and Friday with visits to Spokane and Vancouver before returning to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds Saturday night.
The KIA CHL Top 10 Spotlight takes a closer look at one team from the weekly KIA CHL Top 10 Rankings.
Past KIA CHL Top 10 Spotlight editions:
Sept. 26, 2018 – Halifax Mooseheads
Oct. 4, 2018 – London Knights
Oct. 11, 2018 – Victoria Royals
Oct. 18, 2018 – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Oct. 25, 2018 – Prince Albert Raiders
Nov. 1, 2018 – Ottawa 67’s
Nov. 8, 2018 – Moncton Wildcats
Nov. 15, 2018 – Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Nov. 22, 2018 – Red Deer Rebels
Nov. 29, 2018 – Drummondville Voltigeurs
Dec. 6, 2018 – Vancouver Giants