Betker sparks Silvertips to 3-2 win over Kootenay

CRANBROOK, B.C. — It was a happy homecoming for Ben Betker.

Everett’s defenseman had two assists and was named the game’s first star as the Silvertips knocked off the Kootenay Ice 3-2 Tuesday night.

Betker, who hails from Cranbrook, B.C., and had a large cheering contingent in the stands, had the primary assists on Everett’s first two goals, helping the Tips build a 3-1 lead. Kootenay got back within one in the third period, but Everett held on for victory.

“I couldn’t have drawn it up much better than that,” Betker, who estimated he had about 150 supporters in attendance, said via cell phone following the game. “To receive (the first star) in front of friends and family was really cool.”

Dawson Leedahl, Joshua Winquist and Kohl Bauml scored the goals for Everett (16-4-4-0), which began its four-games-in-five-nights road trip through the WHL’s Central Division on a winning note.

Winquist’s goal extended his streak of consecutive games with a point to 13. That’s the second-longest points streak in franchise history. Zach Hamill holds the record with a 15-game streak from Sept. 23-Nov. 7 in 2006.

Austin Lotz earned the win in goal with 31 saves.

Everett was outshot 33-22. It was the first time the Tips were outshot in a game since being outshot 32-27 in a 6-5 victory at Vancouver on Oct. 25, a stretch of 10 games. Nevertheless, Betker said the Tips executed their gameplan.

“I thought we played a great road game,” Betker said. “We kept things simple all game. Obviously we were disappointed in the Prince George game (when Everett lost 3-1 at home Saturday before departing on the road trip), so it was a great rebound game. It was nothing too fancy, just get the two points.”

Austin Vetterl and Luke Philp scored for Kootenay (12-11-2-0). Wyatt Holfin made 19 saves in net for the Ice.

It was great starts to the first and second periods that propelled Everett to victory.

Everett needed just 58 seconds to get on the scoreboard. Betker’s shot from the point was saved, but Leedahl was on hand to put home the rebound to give the Tips a quick 1-0 lead.

Kootenay tied it up at 12:41 of the first. A shot from the point was blocked before it reached the net, and Vetterl was there to just get the loose puck past Lotz and make it 1-1.

Everett quickly regained the lead, taking even less time at the start of the second period than it did to start the first to score. Just 12 seconds in, Betker’s shot from the point was redirected by Winquist into the net to make it 2-1.

“We talk a lot about good starts,” Betker said. “We kind of got end zone pressure and we were working the points well. Getting those early goals was key, especially against Kootenay, which is not a bad team. They work hard and thrive off momentum, and we were able to take that away in both the first and second periods, which was nice.”

The Tips extended their lead late in the second. On the power play, Bauml got around Kootenay’s defense down low, then fired past Hoflin to make it 3-1 with 1:09 remaining.

Kootenay made it a game again with 9:00 remaining in regulation. Philp drove the net and managed to get the puck past Lotz, putting the Ice back within one.

Kootenay pressed for the tying goal, and Lotz had to make a big glove save on Sam Reinhart with 1:31 remaining. The Ice had one final chance off a faceoff with 2.4 seconds to play, but the shot was blocked and the Tips came away with the victory.

Silvertips 3, Ice 2

Everett 1 2 0 — 3

Kootenay 1 0 1 — 2

First Period—1, Everett, Leedahl 4 (Betker, Aasman), 0:58. 2, Kootenay, Vetterl 5 (Cable, Philp), 12:41. Penalties—Hayer, Everett (tripping), 3:41; Martin, Kootenay (slashing), 17:11.

Second Period—3, Everett, Winquist 18 (Betker, Davis), 0:12. 4, Everett, Bauml 6 (Hayer, Pufahl), 18:51 (pp). Penalties—Leedhal, Everett (instigator-fighting-10-minute misconduct), 1:55; Hubic, Kootenay (fighting), 1:55; Murray, Kootenay (tripping), 11:23; Philp, Kootenay (goaltender interference), 17:16.

Third Period—5, Kootenay, Philp 7 (Reinhart), 11:00. Penalties—Everett, Zipp (tripping), 2:47; Hayer, Everett (cross checking), 19:57.

Shots on goal—Everett 10-6-6—22. Kootenay 13-6-14—33. Power-play opportunities—Everett 1 of 3. Kootenay 0 of 4.

Goalies—Everett, Lotz 11-3-1-0 (33 shots, 31 saves). Kootenay, Hoflin 6-6-0-0 (22 shots, 19 saves).

A—2,019.

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