Thursday, February 3, 2011

Everett defenceman Brennan Yadlowski chases Kamloops winger
Ryan Hanes behind the Silvetips net on Wednesday night.
(Photo by Murray Mitchell/Kamloops Daily News)
 By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Ouch! That one hurt!!
“Yes, it did,” confirmed Kamloops Blazers defenceman Austin Madaisky. “Especially against a team we’re battling with for the eighth spot right now.”
The Blazers, needing points the way the Kardashians need attention, dropped a 3-2 WHL decision to the Everett Silvertips before 4,428 fans at Interior Savings Centre on Wednesday night.
While the Silvertips (22-23-7) won for the fourth straight game and pulled into a tie for sixth place in the 10-team Western Conference, the Blazers (22-29-3) have lost six of seven and remain in eighth, four points behind Everett and one in front of the Chilliwack Bruins.
The Blazers and Chilliwack (21-25-4) go home-and-home this weekend, playing here Friday and there on Saturday.
Intentionally or not, the offensively challenged Silvertips played rope-a-dope in this one, relying on goaltender Kent Simpson to keep them close while they awaited scoring chances.
In the end, it was centre Tyler Maxwell, with 35 of his club’s 133 goals, who won it with his second goal of the game. He broke a 2-2 tie at 16:29 of the third period, taking advantage of a perfect screen set up by linemate Parker Stanfield and whipping a wrist shot past goaltender Jeff Bosch, off a post and in.
“They do a good job of that,” Madaisky said. “They send two guys to the net on their power play and try to walk a guy across the slot. It was a tough one for Bosch.”
Maxwell’s WHL-leading 11th game-winning goal came on Everett’s fourth power-play opportunity of the game.
Strangely, Maxwell, who had given Everett a 2-1 lead at 1:16 of the third, didn’t feel he played very well over the first two periods.
“The first two periods didn’t go as well as I wanted them to,” said the 19-year-old from Manhattan Beach, Calif., who has nine two-goal games and a four-goal effort this season. “I had a little talk with myself between the second and third periods.”
The Blazers pretty much dominated the first two periods, outshooting the visitors 29-15, including 21-6 over the first 20 minutes. But they couldn’t solve Simpson, 18, who is from Edmonton.
“He’s a good goaltender, for sure,” Kamloops forward Dylan Willick said. “We needed to get a few more bodies in front. There were a lot of rebound chances we just couldn’t get our sticks on.”
Madaisky added: “(Simpson) played great for them. I don’t know how many shots we had . . . we had some good power plays. We were getting the chances but he was there to shut the door.
“It would have been nice to get more traffic in front of him . . . or something.”
Despite being outshot badly, Everett got out of the first period with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal by wunderkind Ryan Murray, the defenceman from White City, Sask., who will be an early, early selection in the NHL’s 2012 draft.
It wasn’t until 15:46 of the second period that Kamloops was able to pull even, Dalibor Bortnak getting Simpson out of position and then feeding defenceman Corey Fienhage for the empty-net score.
After Maxwell restored Everett’s lead, Kamloops centre Colin Smith wristed a shot through traffic and past Simpson at 7:50 of the third.
All that did, though, was set the stage, again, for Maxwell.
Willick, for one, was quick to give Everett some credit.
“They battled hard,” he said. “There was adversity there, too. They’re on a four-game winning streak. They’re stringing something together right now. Give them a lot of credit. We need to take a page out of their book.”
At the same time, he liked what he saw from his teammates.
“I applaud the effort the guys put out tonight,” he said. “There isn’t a guy in there who I don’t think worked hard.”
Despite the fact the Blazers have just three victories to show for their last 14 games, Madaisky said the confidence is still there. But, with only 18 games remaining in the regular season, he knows time is running out.
“We feel good in practice,” he said. “Even the effort tonight, I thought it was a good effort. The guys battled . . . that’s really all you can ask for.
“But it gets to a point where you can’t keep saying, ‘Aww, we just didn’t get the bounces,’ or ‘Aww, we played well but, you know what, it just didn’t go our way tonight.’ ”
JUST NOTES: Referees Trevor Hanson and Jeff Ingram gave Everett five of nine minors. . . . The Blazers were 0-for-5 on the PP. . . . The Silvertips won the season series, 3-1. . . . Everett has won four in a row for the first time since opening the season with four straight victories. . . . Everett’s Craig Hartsburg now has worked 493 OHL and WHL games as a head coach. He has spent 491 games as an NHL head coach. . . . Everett F Landon Ferraro didn’t play in either of the Silvertips’ games in Kamloops this season. He had hernia surgery Friday in Detroit, so didn’t play last night. On Nov. 14, he missed the Blazers’ 3-1 victory due to an upper body injury. . . . With Ferraro out and F Ryan Harrison serving a one-game WHL suspension, the Silvertips brought in F Zach McPhee, 17, from the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. . . . The Daily News’ three stars: 1. Simpson — Gave his guys a chance; 2. Murray — Best 17-year-old defenceman in CHL; 3. Fienhage — a goal and kept it simple.
gdrinnan@kamloopsnews.ca
     
gdrinnan.blogspot.com
     
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