It was a must-win game. Even head coach Kevin Constantine admitted as much following the Everett Silvertips’ 4-2 win over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds Saturday night at Xfinity Arena.
A loss would have dropped the the Tips to three points back of the T-Birds in the U.S. Division standings and, despite having two games in hand, Everett would have faced a difficult uphill battle to claim that coveted division title. Instead the Tips scored three times in a span of two minutes, 39 seconds in the opening period and never trailed in a decisive 4-2 win and chase Seattle starting goalie Rylan Toth.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) March 5, 2017
Everett’s defense was at its stifling best as it held the T-Birds to just seven shots over the final two periods. More importantly it showed the Tips have the capability to beat Seattle even if Carter Hart isn’t having his best night – something they hadn’t previously shown.
Bryce Kindopp returned to the lineup tonight after missing two games with a sore shoulder. He started all three periods alongside Connor Dewar and Devon Skoleski as has become the custom in recent months. It paid off as the top-line winger Patrick Bajkov scored on his first shift of the third period to put Everett up 4-1. It was reminiscent of how the top line came off the bench to score on its first shifts in last week’s wins over Kamloops and Portland.
The Silvertips continue to control their own division destiny as they still have two games in hand of Seattle. If my math is correct Everett could still win the even if it loses Friday in Kent as long as the Tips win their other seven remaining games. With eight games to go Everett can record a maximum of 105 points while a loss at ShoWare Center drops that to 103. Seattle has just six games to play and can gain a maximum of 12 points for 100 possible regular-season tally. Of course it will be a tall order as Everett plays seven of its final eight games on the road.
The view from the other side by colleague Andy Eide.
The Turning Point
Everett scored three times in less than three minutes to open up a 3-0 lead in the first period and held on.
1. Everett D Kevin Davis: The fourth-year blueliner had two assists and tallied his 100th WHL career point.
2. Everett F Connor Dewar: The second-year winger had the game’s first goal.
3. Everett F Devon Skoleski: The second-year center put Everett up 2-0.
Honorable mention: Seattle Thunderbirds G Carl Stankowski (33 saves on 34 shots off the bench).
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