And the Everett Silvertips are back in the hunt for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
Everett ended its excruciating losing streak at Spokane Arena on Wednesday night, defeating the Spokane Chiefs 4-2.
The Tips had gone more than four years since winning at Spokane Arena. Everett had lost 18 consecutive road games to the Chiefs, dating back to Feb. 24, 2010. Only one player on the roster, overager Joshua Winquist, had ever experienced victory in Spokane.
And Winquist played a big part of the Tips ending the curse, finishing with two goals and an assist to lead Everett. His two goals extended his single-season franchise record for goals to 45.
Carson Stadnyk also scored twice and Ivan Nikolishin had two assists for Everett (37-23-7-2), which set up a thrilling final weekend to the season. Three teams are racing for fourth place in the WHL’s Western Conference. Seattle has the pole position with 86 points, Spokane is in fifth with 84, and Everett is in sixth with 83. Everett and Seattle each have three games remaining, Spokane has two. The team that finishes fourth receives home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs against the team that finishes fifth. The team that finishes sixth faces Victoria in the first round.
Austin Lotz made 27 saves in goal for Everett, which won its seventh consecutive game.
Mike Aviani and Mitch Holmberg scored for Spokane (39-25-3-3). Eric Williams finished with 20 saves in net for the Chiefs.
Both teams scored on their first power play of the game. Spokane struck first at 5 minutes, 26 seconds as Aviani converted a backdoor feed from Holmberg. Then Everett answered at 8:28, Stadnyk backhanding a rebound over Williams.
Spokane then received a full two-minute five-on-three power play late in the period, and Holmberg converted with 14 seconds remaining to give the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.
But Winquist led the Tips into the lead in the second period. He tied it up at 12:27 on a breakout play that involved the whole team, Winquist finishing it off on a give-and-go with Jujhar Khaira. Then Winquist gave Everett the lead in the dying seconds of the period. With the Tips on the power play, Nikolishin slipped Winquist in behind the defense, and Winquist scored past Williams with 5 seconds remaining to give Everett a 3-2 lead.
Stadnyk gave Everett the all-important insurance goal with 3:56 remaining, powering to the front of the net and scoring around Williams to complete the scoring.
Silvertips 4, Chiefs 2
Everett 1 2 1 — 4
Spokane 2 0 0 — 2
First Period—1, Spokane, Aviani 38 (Holmberg, Gow), 5:26 (pp). 2, Everett, Stadnyk 21 (Jones, Hayer), 8:28 (pp). 3, Spokane, Holmberg 61 (Gow, Fram), 19:46 (pp). Penalties—Everett bench (too many men), 5:02; Fiala, Spokane (holding), 7:07; Khaira, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:17; Gow, Spokane (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:17; Jones, Everett (boarding), 18:17; Everett bench (bench minor, served by Nikolishin), 18:17.
Second Period—4, Everett, Winquist 44 (Khaira, Nikolishin), 12:27. 5, Everett, Winquist 45 (Nikolishin, Pufahl), 19:55 (pp). Penalties—Chartier, Spokane (goaltender interference), 1:13; Gow, Spokane (hooking), 19:23.
Third Period—6, Everett, Stadnyk 22 (Winquist), 16:04. Penalties—Holmberg, Spokane (slashing), 18:55.
Shots on goal—Everett 10-11-3—24. Spokane 14-8-7—29. Power-play opportunities—Everett 2 of 4. Spokane 2 of 3.
Goalies—Everett, Lotz 29-18-3-2 (29 shots, 27 saves). Spokane, Williams 32-18-2-2 (24 shots, 20 saves).
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