By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Kevin Davis would have had a heck of a time finding a more exciting way to score his first goal in the Western Hockey League.
The Everett Silvertips rookie defenseman scored the game winner in overtime, giving the Tips a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants on Friday night at Comcast Arena.
Davis, Everett’s first-round draft pick in the 2012 bantam draft, has had an excellent rookie campaign on the Tips’ blue line. But the one thing that was missing from the 16-year-old Kamloops, B.C., native’s resume was his first goal.
He ended that wait in dramatic fashion Friday. Everett had to survive a Vancouver power play early in overtime. Then at 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the extra period, the Tips controlled the puck in the Giants’ zone and worked it to the Davis at the left point. Davis ripped a one-timer that beat Vancouver goaltender Jared Rathjen clean to the top corner, sending the Tips into a celebration.
“I was so shocked that went in,” said Davis, who got his first goal in his 56th career game. “I’m just really glad we’re now in sixth place (in the Western Conference), so that’s a big move with 15 games left. That really helps.”
Dawson Leedahl also scored for Everett (28-21-7-1), which caught the Giants for sixth place in the Western Conference at 64 points. The Tips hold the tiebreaker based on total wins, and Everett also has two games in hand on Vancouver.
Austin Lotz played a strong game to earn the win in goal for the Tips. Lotz finished with 26 saves, including a highlight-reel stop in the second period.
“I thought we started off really well,” Davis said. “I think we outplayed them, I really like how we played.”
Joel Hamilton scored the lone goal for Vancouver (27-22-7-3). Rathjen finished with 29 saves.
The third period could have gone either way as there was furious action at both ends. Everett began the period leading 1-0, but Vancouver tied the game 3:48 into the period. Tim Traber got the angle on the defense on the rush, and although he was denied by Lotz, Hamilton out-fought the defense at the far post to put in the rebound and make it 1-1.
Vancouver then thought it had taken the lead at 9:41 when Dominik Volek put in his own rebound on the rush. However, the goal was immediately waived off by the referee, who indicated the puck was kicked in. The game was delayed as a lengthy video review took place, but when it was over, the no-goal call was upheld, and game remained tied.
After that, Everett had multiple chances to win, but Rathjen made nice saves on Jujhar Khaira and Manraj Hayer to keep it tied.
Vancouver had a chance to win it late in regulation when Everett’s Noah Juulsen was called for a hooking penalty with 1:07 remaining. However, the Tips killed off the first 1:07 to get the game into overtime and earn at least a point, then comfortably finished off the 53 seconds of four-on-three in OT to set up Davis’ winner.
There were no goals during a quickly played first period that featured few whistles.
It looked like Vancouver cracked the ice early in the second period when Sward banged a rebound past Lotz, but somehow the puck stayed out. Then Everett opened the scoring at 7:14. Matt Pufahl’s shot from the left point was blocked in the slot, but the puck deflected to the opposite slot, where an onrushing Leedahl was able to sweep it in to give the Tips a 1-0 lead. Leedahl’s goal ended a personal 32-game goal drought.
Then, late in the period, Lotz made an amazing save to maintain Everett’s lead. The Giants broke two-on-one, with Jackson Houck setting up Cain Franson at the far post. But Lotz, spread full eagle and somehow managed to glove Franson’s shot, keeping it 1-0 going into the third.
Everett welcomed Hayer back to the lineup. The overage center hadn’t played since Jan. 25 because of a lower-body injury. … Friday’s game was Everett’s first without the duo of goaltender Daniel Cotton and winger Darcy DeRoose. Cotton and DeRoose were suspended indefinitely by the Tips for violating team rules. … With Cotton unavailable, 15-year-old Carter Hart served as Everett’s back-up goaltender. Hart, an eighth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft who signed with the Tips earlier in the week, suited up for the team for the first time. … Vancouver played without its captain, overage defenseman Dalton Thrower, because of a lower-body injury.
Silvertips 2, Giants 1 (OT)
First Period—no goals. Penalties—Geertsen, Vancouver (boarding), 14:36.
Second Period—1, Everett, Leedahl 5 (Stadnyk, Pufahl), 7:14. Penalties—Baer, Vancouver (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:20; Betker, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 7:20; Franson, Vancouver (slashing), 17:21.
Third Period—2, Vancouver, Hamilton 6 (Traber, Geertsen), 3:48. Penalties—Hamilton, Vancouver (slashing), 5:33; Geertsen, Vancouver (interference), 10:03; Juulsen, Everett (hooking), 18:53.
Overtime—3, Everett, Davis 1 (Hayer, Mueller), 2:22. Penalties—none.
Shots on goal—Vancouver 4-12-9-2—27. Everett 5-10-15-1—31. Power-play opportunities—Vancouver 0 of 1. Everett 0 of 4.
Goalies—Vancouver, Rathjen 11-6-4-1 (31 shots, 29 saves). Everett, Lotz 20-17-3-1 (27 shots, 26 saves).