With the return of Kevin Constantine behind the club’s bench and a number a key player additions, Western Hockey League opponents are expecting to see a much stronger version of the Everett Silvertips than is past seasons.
Ryan Huska’s Kelowna Rockets will get their first of four looks at the ‘Tips when the clubs square off Wednesday night in Washington.
Everett is out of the gate quickly with a 2-0-0 start, while the Rockets are 2-0-0-1.
“They’re a much-improved team and they’re very well coached,” Huska said of the Silvertips. “With some of their returning players and some of the additions, they’re a fast-skating group that’s playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Huska is hoping for a better effort in Everett from his Rockets than the one that resulted in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Victoria Royals Saturday in Kelowna.
A poor third period, in particular, cost the Rockets’ the game as the Royals overcame a 3-1 deficit to grab the two points.
“We haven’t played a good 60 minutes yet,” Huska said. “We’re not playing up to our capabilities, either with our energy or our skating. You have to bring more to get more, and I think a lot of our guys aren’t working hard enough right now.”
Myles Bell and Damon Severson were back in the lineup Saturday after being returned from the NHL’s New Jersey, with Bell notching his first goal of the season.
The Rockets are still carrying four 20-year-old players and must reduce to the maximum of three by Oct. 15.
The Rockets will return home this weekend for a twin bill against the defending WHL champion Portland Winterhawks. Games go Friday and Saturday nights at Prospera Place with face off at 7:05 p.m.