Neck-and-neck with the Vancouver Giants atop the WHL’s Western Conference, the Everett Silvertips are featured in this week’s Kia CHL Top 10 Spotlight.
As has been their custom over the years, the 45-14-2-2 Silvertips are once again the CHL’s defensive stalwart, surrendering just 120 goals this season as reigning Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week Dustin Wolf has picked up where three-time Goaltender of the Year Carter Hart left off.
On Sunday, the Sivertips clinched the U.S. Division for the third straight season as Wolf stopped all 32 shots he faced and Bryce Kindopp scored an overtime buzzer-beater for a 1-0 triumph over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds.
“That was probably the loudest I’ve heard (the crowd) in my two years here with that 0.4 seconds left,” head coach Dennis Williams told the Everett Herald’s Joshua Horton describing the atmosphere. “Great for them for coming to cheer us on and give us that extra boost.”
“I’m very proud and pleased with the effort of our staff and players to win our third consecutive (division title),” added general manager Garry Davidson of the accomplishment.
“I thought Mr. Wolf would come in and give us good goaltending, and he’s done probably better than that, he’s been very good.”
The Silvertips followed things up with a 3-1 road win over the Spokane Chiefs on Tuesday as rookie defenceman Ronan Seeley (1-8–9) scored his first WHL goal and Wolf turned aside 24 of 25.
As it stands today, Wolf is a frontrunner to claim Everett’s fourth straight Del Wilson Trophy as WHL Goaltender of the Year, earning a single season franchise record 40 wins while registering a 1.71 goals-against average and .936 save percentage with a league-leading seven shutouts.
In front of him, the Silvertips have thrived of late despite an injury to Washington Capitals prospect Riley Sutter (14-27–41) that’s sidelined him since December 29th. Veteran captain and newly signed Minnesota Wild prospect Connor Dewar (34-42–76) has filled in nicely at centre and joins Kindopp (38-32–70) and midseason addition Zack Andrusiak (38-25–63) in forming the club’s offensive nucleus up front.
An experienced defence corps is built around Philadelphia Flyers prospect Wyatte Wylie (10-35–45), 19-year-old Jake Christiansen (12-31–43) and defending WHL champions Sahvan Khaira (3-22–25) and Artyom Minulin (1-16–17) brought in from the Swift Current Broncos.
The Silvertips have won four straight, recently setting a new franchise record with 62 shots on goal in a March 1st 2-1 victory over the Tri-City Americans. The way forward won’t be easy though as they play four of their final five games away from home with visits to Tri-City, Seattle, Portland and Victoria.
If defence wins championships, Everett Silvertips fans should be on the edge of their seats in the weeks ahead as their team eyes a return to the WHL Championship Series after coming within two wins of hoisting the Ed Chynoweth Cup last spring.
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
Dec. 12, 2018 – Everett Silvertips
Dec. 20, 2018 – Niagara IceDogs
Jan. 3, 2019 – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Jan. 10, 2019 – Saginaw Spirit
Jan. 17, 2019 – Portland Winterhawks
Jan. 25, 2019 – Rimouski Océanic
Jan. 31, 2019 – Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Feb. 6, 2019 – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Feb. 13, 2019 – Ottawa 67’s
Feb. 21, 2019 – Saskatoon Blades
Feb. 28, 2019 – Drummondville Voltigeurs