EVERETT — When the Everett Silvertips have those wakeful moments in bed at night, they’re going to see visions of Eric Williams in their nightmares.
The Spokane Chiefs goaltender continued his reign of terror on the Tips, shutting out Everett 2-0 Sunday evening at Comcast Arena.
Williams stopped all 29 shots he faced Sunday as he once again stymied Everett’s offense.
“The other night when we outshot them 37-22 (in a 5-3 Chiefs victory Wednesday in Spokane), he definitely made the difference for them that night with a couple big saves,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “So he’s kind of got our number right now.
“It was an even game, Constantine added. “Territorially I thought the teams were pretty close, but they found the net.”
Meanwhile, Williams put the clamps on the Chiefs goal. How good has Williams been against Everett this season? He’s started four times against the Tips and won all four, twice posting shutouts. The 20-year-old has allowed just five goals on 116 shots against Everett, which is good for a .957 save percentage.
“I don’t know exactly what it is,” Williams responded when asked about his success against Everett. “They’re a good team, they score a lot of goals for sure. We played well defensively, especially in this building. We played a real good road game. We’ve had some success against these guys and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Tyler King and Mike Aviani scored the goals for Spokane (21-12-0-2), which won its third straight following a rough stretch of five losses in six games. Two of those three victories are against Everett.
Daniel Cotton, starting in Everett’s net for the first time since Nov. 13 as Austin Lotz had started the previous 13 games, finished with 18 saves.
Sunday’s result continued Everett’s slide as the Christmas break approaches. The Tips (21-10-4-0) have dropped four straight and six of their past seven. Everett has one game remaining Tuesday at Portland before heading home for a nine-day break.
Sunday’s game was even territorially, with scoring chances at both ends at a premium. However, the Chiefs found a way to put the puck in the net, while the Tips couldn’t beat Williams. Constantine even employed a fourth forward on a couple third-period shifts in an effort to generate offense, but that still wasn’t enough to find the back of the Spokane goal.
Everett winger Joshua Winquist, who was the victim of Williams’ two best saves, was less impressed with Williams, putting Everett’s failure to score squarely on the Tips’ shoulders.
“I don’t think he was that great,” Everett’s leading scorer said about Williams. “I think he may need a new logo after tonight. We’re not bearing down on our chances and we’re making him look good.
“I guess some guys just don’t have confidence right now,” Winquist added. “They’re panicking and not shooting, or they’re just trying to get it off quick and hitting (the goalie) in the chest or missing the net.”
Spokane was able to get on the board before the Tips could truly test Williams, scoring at 9 minutes, 22 seconds of the first period. King fired a wrist shot from the right point, and the puck deflected off an Everett skate in front and into the far corner, giving the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. Spokane nearly doubled its lead right off the ensuing faceoff as Blair Oneschuk found himself free on goal, but Cotton made the save and the play was whistled dead on the ensuing scramble.
It remained 1-0 through the second period thanks to Williams’ best save of the game. The chance fell to Everett late in the period when Winquist was able to pull a loose puck out from a scrum in front of the Spokane goal. But Williams somehow thrust his leg across the crease to deny Winquist and preserve Spokane’s lead.
Everett picked up the tempo in the third period, outshooting Spokane 11-3, and the Tips had some good chances early to tie it. Carson Stadnyk was able to poke the puck under Williams, but it slid just wide of the post. Then Williams made a good glove save on Winquist when Winquist shot across the grain to wrong-foot Williams.
Then Aviani gave the Chiefs breathing space at 6:17 as his wrister from the top of the right circle eluded Cotton to give Spokane a two-goal advantage. Everett had most of the possession after that, but never truly threatened the Chiefs goal.
Everett defenseman Noah Juulsen did not play in the third period because of what Constantine described as an upper-body injury. The extent of the injury was not known. … Everett was once again with forwards Manraj Hayer (concussion) and Patrick Bajkov (upper body) and defenseman Mirco Mueller (World Junior Hockey Championships). ? Spokane played without top defenseman Reid Gow because of an upper-body injury, while center Liam Stewart is at World Juniors.
Chiefs 2, Silvertips 0
Spokane 1 0 1 — 2
Everett 0 0 0 — 0
First Period—1, Spokane, King 1 (Whittingham), 9:22. Penalties—Whittingam, Spokane (fighting), 2:00; Zipp, Everett (fighting), 2:00; Spokane bench (too many men, served by Whittingham), 12:11.
Second Period—no goals. Penalties—Chartier, Spokane (hooking), 0:45; DeRoose, Everett (roughing), 3:53; Proft, Spokane (embellishment), 5:26; Juulsen, Everett (boarding), 5:26; Bechtold, Spokane (checking to the head), 7:18.
Third Period—2, Spokane, Aviani 26 (Zwerger), 6:17. Penalties—none.
Shots on goal—Spokane 10-7-3—20. Everett 10-8-11—29. Power-play opportunities—Spokane 0 of 1. Everett 0 of 3.
Goalies—Spokane, Williams 18-8-0-1 (29 shots, 29 saves). Everett, Cotton 5-2-3-0 (20 shots, 18 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.