The Everett Silvertips are halfway home. With their 4-2 win at Victoria Friday night the Tips reclaimed the top spot in the U.S. Division and the Western Conference and hold a one-point lead over the Seattle Thunderbirds with both teams having played 70 games. The Tips could clinch the division and the top seed in the conference with a win Saturday combined with a T-Birds loss in regulation. Everett can also claim both prizes by winning its remaining two games. Seattle plays host to Portland Saturday and last-place Vancouver on Sunday.
It was Matt Fonteyne’s night to shine Friday and he was named the team’s player of the game in the locker room afterward. The first-line center scored twice while his linemates each had a pair of assists.
Matt Fonteyne's 1st goal.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) March 18, 2017
“He had a heck of a game,” Everett assistant coach Mitch Love said on a post-game interview on 1380 KRKO-AM. “It’s nice to see a guy like that, who maybe has been a little bit snake-bitten offensively for some time here, he always seems to get two or three good looks in a hockey game and maybe this will be a little bit of confidence he can gain to help us the next couple of games in the regular season.”
The Tips defensemen also played key roles in the victory. Kevin Davis scored while Noah Juulsen and Wyatte Wylie each earned assists with key breakout passes on other goals. Yes, Juulsen was in the starting lineup with no lasting effects from a late-game slash he reportedly suffered at Kelowna Wednesday.
Carter Hart was solid with 25 saves on 27 shots to earn his 30th win of the season and 80th of his career as the Tips improved to 3-0 against the Royals this year.
Another key was the Tips’ ability to respond. Victoria scored first, but the Tips answered in short order in the opening period. Then the Royals tied it on the first shift of the second only to see the Tips respond with two goals in less than 90 seconds to build a 4-2 lead and that was how it ended.
*Note: Friday was Victoria’s final home game and in that instance it is a tradition to award all three stars to the outgoing overage players. So tonight I picked my own.
1. Everett F Matt Fonteyne: Fonteyne scored twice and finished plus-one on the night.
2. Victoria F Jack Walker: Walker scored both Royals goals.
3. Everett D Kevin Davis: Davis scored Everett’s first goal on the power play as the Tips answered an early deficit.
Honorable mention: Everett F Dominic Zwerger (two assists), Everett F Patrick Bajkov (two assists), Everett G Carter Hart (25 saves on 27 shots), Victoria D Scott Walford (two assists).
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