Everett Silvertips Claim 2020-21 WHL U.S. Division Championship Trophy
May 8, 2021 - Western Hockey League (WHL) News Release
Calgary, Alta. - For the fourth time in five seasons, the Everett Silvertips are WHL U.S. Division Champions.
The presentation of the WHL U.S. Division Championship Trophy represents an unprecedented campaign in the U.S. Division, which included rigorous protocols to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials involved. Ongoing testing for COVID-19 was conducted with a total of 4,103 tests for COVID-19 revealing only two positive cases in the WHL's U.S. Division from March 9 through May 7.
"The 2020-21 WHL Season will enter the history books unlike any season prior," commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. "The WHL commends all players, staff, and officials, who sacrificed so much in complying full with our protocols to participate in the WHL U.S. Division Regular Season and play with the same fierce competitiveness that is renowned with the Western Hockey League.
"In such a unique and challenging season as this, it is important to recognize the accomplishments of our teams and we are pleased to present the Everett Silvertips with the WHL U.S. Division Championship Trophy."
With a record of 18-4-0-0 and 36 points through 22 games, the Everett Silvertips have clinched the WHL U.S. Division heading into the final week of the schedule. As of Friday, no U.S. Division team has scored more than the Silvertips, who collected 87 goals for in 22 games (3.95 goals per game). On the defensive side, the ever-stingy Silvertips maintained that reputation in 2020-21, allowing a mere 44 goals against in 22 games (2.00 goals against per game).
This represents the eighth U.S. Division title in franchise history for the Silvertips. From 2016 through 2019, the Silvertips strung together three consecutive Division crowns. In 2016-17, the Silvertips finished with a record of 44-16-9-3, hitting the 100-point mark for the first time since 2006-07. The 2017-18 season saw Everett go 47-20-2-3 before advancing all the way to Game 6 of the 2018 WHL Championship Series, coming up short against the Swift Current Broncos. In 2018-19, the Silvertips went 47-16-2-3 to claim the U.S. Division once again. Everett's first division title came in 2003-04 on the strength of a record of 35-27-8-2.
The Silvertips defeated every other team in the U.S. Division at least once throughout the 2020-21 campaign. The renowned stingy team defense once again benefited from the backbone provided by Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf, who earned a record of 17-3-0-0 with a 1.84 goals-against average, .939 save percentage, and four shutouts. Up front, veteran forward Cole Fonstad and his 34 points (16G-18A) leads the team in scoring, with Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Gage Goncalves hot on his heels with 31 points (12G-19A).
Wolf, a 20-year-old product of Tustin, Calif., was selected by the Flames in the seventh round (214th overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft. He has been at the top of the class for WHL goaltenders in recent years, having taken home the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Memorial Trophy for WHL Scholastic Player of the Year (2018-19) and the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy for WHL Goaltender of the Year (2019-20). He was also named to the WHL Western Conference First All-Star Team in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.
As the strength of grassroots hockey continues to grow in the Pacific Northwest, the Silvertips enjoyed key contributions from regionally-developed players, including Everett-born forward Hunter Campbell and Seattle-born forward Brendan Lee. Montana product Braden Holt has emerged between the pipes, evidenced by his calling to represent USA Hockey at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship in Texas.
Goncalves, a 20-year-old product of Mission, B.C., proved that his 2019-20 breakout wasn't a fluke, as he followed up with 31 points (12G-19A) in 22 games to sit second in Silvertips scoring. Selected by the Lightning in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft, Goncalves has registered 102 points (45G-57A) in 82 games over the past two WHL seasons.
Aside from Wolf and Goncalves, the Silvertips were boosted by a strong contingency of NHL prospects, including defencemen Ronan Seeley (Carolina Hurricanes, 2020 - 7-208) and co-captain Gianni Fairbrother (Montreal Canadiens - 2019 - 3-77), along with defenceman Olen Zellweger, who is eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Behind the bench, Dennis Williams enjoyed a fourth consecutive successful campaign, while General Manager Garry Davidson constructed a quality roster once again.
Images from this story
Everett Silvertips celebrate the 2020-21 WHL U.S. Division Championship Trophy
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