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Mistakes costly as Tips fall

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EVERETT -- The Portland Winterhawks are not a team one can afford to make mistakes against. The Everett Silvertips made one too many Friday night, and the Winterhawks schooled the Tips on how to take advantage.
Portland turned those mistakes into goals as the Winterhawks defeated the Tips 4-1 in a Western Hockey League game at Comcast Arena.
Everett goaltender Kent Simpson, who made a series of last-ditch saves, and the Tips' defense, which blocked a multitude of shots, did everything they could to stymie Portland's explosive offense.
But twice the Tips made crucial mistakes that Portland turned into goals, with Oliver Gabriel and Sven Bartschi setting one another up for breakaways at critical junctures of the game.
Taylor Leier also scored and Ty Rattie added a late empty-netter for Portland (39-15-2-1), which remained tied with Tri-City for first place in the U.S. Division. Mac Carruth played a strong game in goal for the Winterhawks, making 26 saves.
Jordyn Boyd scored the lone goal for Everett (15-33-1-8), which is now three points out of a playoff position following Victoria's 4-2 victory over Prince George on Friday. Victoria and Seattle are tied for seventh.
"All in all we're certainly disappointed" Everett coach Mark Ferner said. "(Simpson) gave us an opportunity, kept us in the game. We didn't create a whole lot for two periods, but we did get a couple opportunities. The effort at times was good with certain guys, but we need everybody, and tonight we didn't have that consistently for 60 minutes."
Although Portland held a 47-27 shot advantage, including 37-11 over the final two periods, the Tips were always in the game, with it being a one-goal contest with less than four minutes remaining. In the third period, with the Winterhawks leading 2-1, Carruth made a huge glove save to deny Ryan Harrison on a breakaway, and moments later Everett's Josh Winquist hit a post.
But it was one of those classic Portland transition goals that put the game away. With 3 minutes, 13 seconds remaining, the Tips had a chance at one end, but missed the net. The Winterhawks quickly transitioned the other direction, with Gabriel springing Bartschi on a breakaway. Bartschi put his shot under Simpson to give Portland a 3-1 lead.
It was a similar situation that gave Portland its first two-goal advantage. The Tips, and Simpson in particular, pulled off some heroic penalty killing at the beginning of the second period, killing off 3:33 of Portland power-play time, including 1:26 of five-on-three. However, just when it seemed the Tips would build some momentum off the big kill, Everett squandered it at 4:45. A misplaced pass gave Bartschi the chance to dispossess Josh Caron and send Gabriel in free on goal. Gabriel deked around Simpson to give the Winterhawks a 2-0 lead.
"Give them credit, they're a good hockey team," Ferner said. "They just keep coming. That's what they do, they capitalize on their opportunities. We have a turnover and it's in the back of our net."
The good news for Everett was the continued strong play from Simpson. Simpson, a four-year veteran and a second-round NHL draft pick, struggled to live up to those standards through the season's first four months. But over the past three weeks Simpson has looked like the goaltender who was so strong for the Tips during the second half of last season before he was derailed by an ankle injury.
"He's been very good," Ferner said of Simpson. "Over the last month he might be one of our best players, if not our best. We're going to need him down the stretch."
Portland took the lead just 2:15 into the game. Marcel Noebels' shot off the rush was kicked straight out by Simpson, and Leier was able to bang home the rebound through traffic to make it 1-0. Both teams had good scoring chances during the remainder of the first period, but neither team found the net as it remained 1-0 into the second.
After Gabriel's goal, Portland continued to dominate play, at one point holding a 14-0 shot advantage in the second period. However, the Tips pulled within one at 16:19. This time it was the Winterhawks who turned the puck over in their own zone, and Boyd ripped a shot from the right circle into the top corner to bring the Tips within one.
Winterhawks 4, Silvertips 1
Portland 1 1 2--4
Everett 0 1 0--1
First Period--1, Portland, Leier 10 (Noebels, Pouliot), 2:15. Penalties--Grayson, Everett (roughing), 8:34; Ross, Portland (roughing), 15:12; Morrow, Portland (fighting), 19:25; Harrison, Everett (roughing-fighting), 19:25; Caron, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:25.
Second Period--2, Portland, Gabriel 12 (Bartschi), 4:45; 3, Everett, Boyd 4, 16:19. Penalties--Murray, Everett (slashing), 1:33; Pouliot, Portland (high sticking), 9:24; Leipsic, Portland (fighting), 13:28; Chynoweth, Everett (fighting), 13:28.
Third Period--4, Portland, Bartschi 22 (Gabriel), 16:47. 5, Portland, Rattie 45 (Noebels, Leier), 19:28 (en). Penalties--Wotherspoon, Portland (interference), 7:51; Birkholz, Everett (embellishment), 7:51; Birkholz, Everett (goaltender interference), 12:43; Bartschi, Portland (roughing), 13:15.
Shots on goal--Portland 10-21-16--47. Everett 16-5-6--27. Power-play opportunities--Portland 0 of 5. Everett 0 of 3.
Goalies--Portland, Burke (0 shots, 0 saves), Carruth 35-13-1-0 (27 shots, 26 saves). Everett, Simpson 13-25-1-5 (46 shots, 43 saves).
A--5,509.
Story tags » Silvertips

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