Everett Silvertips 7, Portland Winterhawks 2

I am a big hockey fan even though all we have in Portland is bad junior league hockey. Actually, saying it is "bad" is only partially accurate...we did have the Hossa brothers pass through and before that, Adam Deadmarsh...I have seen some pretty decent players but the real level is probably better than high school, worse than major college.

A couple years ago during the "Jail Blazer" years I was known to turn down Blazer tickets in favor of Winter Hawk ducats. A couple nights ago when the Jazz were in town a few of us, went to watch some hockey.

The game started badly. Just a couple of shifts in the Silvertips were putting pressure on the offensive zone for a sustained stretch. Portland had a chance to get the puck out of their end. But someone made a key error. One of the first things you learn in hockey is to push the puck to the side of the rink. Under no circumstances do you make a clearing pass from behind the net to the center of the rink when there are fore checkers.

The young Portland team did worse. A defense man centered the puck from behind his net during a goal mouth scramble. Everett was up 1-0.

A couple minutes later a power play led to a second goal. Portland killed a couple power plays, then on yet another Silvertip power play Portland had a guy escape their zone, get a break-away and score a short-handed goal. It was pretty exciting. Momentum was swinging. The smallish crowd was into it.

And then someone centered the puck from behind the net again. 3-1, Everett. They scored again to make it 4-1.

Portland finally got their first power play in the second period. Everett got SIX in the first period to none for Portland. Hmm. There was one play in particular that blew me away where a Silvertip, unimpeded and pushed by any Winterhawk, took out Mucha the goaltender on a play. No call.

Anyhow, on their power play they got sloppy which is dangerous against a team as aggressive on the penalty kill as the Silvertips. Everett jumped out but there was a Portland defender back...sort of. Our man was between the Tip and the goal...but he never closed on him. Instead, he skated back down the center of the ice as if defending against a pass to a non-existent wing, leaving the slot wide open to the Tip, effectively turning the one-on-one into a break-away. Those favor the offense and it was 5-1. When Portland scored on their next power play it did not matter.

They did manage to give Everett 2 more goals on unbelievable passes from behind the net where they centered them. One in particular was such a perfectly draw up pass to move the goalie and leave him out of position for a shot that you almost forgot the passer was a Winterhawk and the shooter was a Silvertip. It was a great pass...just a terrible puck-clearing.

And that was the evening. The Hawks essentially beat themselves. They gave up 3 - 4 goals on defense where they made horrific turnovers on routine clear-outs where instead of kicking it to the boards and working the puck out of the zone they tried going out the middle to disastrous results, 1 goal where they turned a tough opportunity into a break-away, and gave up 6 power plays in the first period alone...poor Mucha really had no chance on probably 4 or 5 of the goals.

They are a pretty bad team this year. But hey...they are inexpensive and still fun to watch, so there you go.

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