Ryan Murray never thought the Everett Silvertips were far off from putting wins together, and it turns out he was right on the money.
They stumbled out of the gate and couldn't really get any part of their game going on a consistent basis. One night, their goaltending was poor. The next night, the Silvertips were unable to generate anything in the offensive zone and goal-scoring become worrisome.
Apparently, all it took was the season's longest road trip to get Everett back on track.
In closing out their six-game, two-week trek through the plains of western Canada, the Silvertips won three straight to leap frog the Seattle Thunderbirds and climb out of the cellar in the WHL's U.S. Division.
After an impressive 3-1 win over the Swift Current Broncos last Wednesday, the Silvertips moved on to Prince Albert to begin the weekend on Friday. The Art Hauser Centre is never an easy place to play, and with the Raiders off to a good start, the Silvertips needed one of their most complete games to maintain their winning ways.
Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring for Prince Albert just five minutes into the first period, but to their credit, the Silvertips didn't get back on their heels or wade into the game.
Everett scored the next three goals of the hockey game and Josh Winquist had a hand in all three. The Everett center scored the lead goal at 1:48 of the second period, and assisted on both other tallies as the Silvertips took control.
With their second consecutive win in their back pocket, the Silvertips were off to Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon to face the talented Blades, who (despite a sluggish start to the year) are considered one of the better clubs in the WHL.
And once again, Everett had to claw its way back.
Darren Dietz got the Blades on the board early with a power-play goal at 10:21 of the opening period, but the Silvertips didn't blink. Manraj Hayer tied the game with about six minutes left in the second period, and two Winquist goals later, they were leading once again.
Murray picked up a pair of assists -- including a dandy on the go-ahead goal with under five minutes left -- as Everett left Saskatoon with a much-needed 3-2 win.
GENERALS DROP TWO ON THE WEEKEND
If it wasn't clear beforehand, the Oshawa Generals found out quickly that they were walking into a bee's nest at the Kitchener Auditorium on Friday night. The Aud has been revamped, with 1,000 seats added, giving it a new look and life and the home crowd was raring to go.
The Rangers stormed to a 6-2 win in front of a thundering crowd of 7,639, but Oshawa would rebound less than 24 hours later. A timely 2-1 win over Owen Sound steadied the Generals' ship and kept pace with the rest of the division, but they weren't at their best in a 4-2 loss at home to Plymouth on Sunday afternoon.
Blue Jackets prospect Boone Jenner has fallen out of the OHL's scoring lead for the time being, but he is the Generals' top point-getter with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in his first 13 games.
Oshawa travels to Ottawa on Wednesday to face the 67s before returning home for weekend games vs. Saginaw (Friday) and Peterborough (Sunday) at the General Motors Centre.