KENNEWICK — The Everett Silvertips have just been trying to hold onto second place in the U.S. Division.
Low and behold, the Tips now have a view of first.
Everett closed within five points of the U.S. Division lead when the Tips defeated the Tri-City Americans 3-2 Friday night.
Kellan Tochkin scored twice, including the game-winner early in the third period as Everett crept closer to the Americans. Everett has 11 games to try and make up the gap, with Tri-City having a game in hand.
Spokane also won Friday, winning 6-4 at Kootenay, meaning the Chiefs are still just two points behind the Tips for second place. Portland, which was idle, fell three back in the race for second.
Alex Theriau also scored for Everett (38-19-3-1), which led 2-0 in the first period before the Americans came back to tie it. Thomas Heemskerk was strong in goal for the Tips, making 34 saves.
Brooks Macek and Neal Prokop scored for Tri-City (41-16-1-2), which has hit a bit of a lull. The Americans have won just two of their past six games.
Drew Owsley made 24 saves in goal for Tri-City.
Everett controlled the first half of the game and led 2-0, but Tri-City scored on both sides of the second intermission to tie it. Macek scored on a scramble in front with 3 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the first intermission to make it a one-goal game, then Prokop cleaned up a rebound after a bad turnover by Everett defenseman Radko Gudas 55 seconds into the third period to tie it.
The Americans appeared to have momentum, but The Tips quickly regained the lead. On a rush that was close to being offside, Tochkin reached out and dragged in a rebound from Tyler Maxwell’s shot, restoring Everett’s lead at 3:58.
Tri-City turned up the pressure in the closing minutes, but Heemskerk made several key stops to preserve the victory.
Everett came out strong in the first period and grabbed a 2-0 lead. The Tips opened the scoring 8:58 into the game when Tochkin was able to squeeze a shot past Owsley from a tight angle. Everett went ahead 2-0 at 17:34 on the power play, Shane Harper picking out Theriau pinching in from the point, and Theriau one-timing a shot past Owsley to make it a two-goal game.
Silvertips 3, Americans 2
First Period—1, Everett, Tochkin 22 (Froese, Theriau), 8:58. 2, Everett, Theriau 4 (Harper, de la Lande), 17:34 (pp). Penalties—Plouffe, Tri-City (hooking), 5:14; Shinnimin, Tri-City (tripping), 15:48.
Second Period—3, Tri-City, Macek 17 (Messier, Drozd), 16:27. Penalties—Murray, Everett (tripping), 3:05; Sutherland, Tri-City (high sticking), 5:42; Tochkin, Everett (hooking), 10:21.
Third Period—4, Tri-City, Prokop 16 (Feser), 0:55. 5, Everett, Tochkin 23 (Maxwell, Froese), 3:58. Penalties—Iwanski, Everett (fighting), 5:41; Shinnimin, Tri-City (fighting), 5:41; de la Lande, Everett (interference), 15:28.
Shots on goal—Everett 7-11-9—27. Tri-City 8-12-16—36. Power-play opportunities—Everett 1 of 3. Tri-City 0 of 3.
Goalies—Everett, Heemskerk 20-10-2-1 (36 shots, 34 saves). Tri-City, Owsley 33-10-1-1 (27 shots, 24 saves).