By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The process remains on track for the Everett Silvertips. But on this night the results didn’t follow suit.
Everett continued its recent string of solid play, but couldn’t overcome the stingy Seattle Thunderbirds as the Tips fell 3-2 Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Comcast Arena.
Connor Honey scored his second goal of the game midway through the third period to snap a 2-2 tie. Then rookie goaltender Justin Myles made some big stops late as Everett pressed for the equalizer. The victory was the first of Myles’ WHL career.
“It’s a tough loss,” Everett captain Ryan Murray said. “I thought we really had a good effort and guys worked really hard tonight. It just didn’t go our way.”
Alexander Delnov also scored for Seattle (7-5-0-0), while Myles finished with 27 saves.
“It was a tough game, but our veteran guys emptied the tank,” Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “Just leave it on the ice, that’s all we ask. You’re not going to win them all, but you’re going to win more if you leave it on the ice every day. The last two games that’s what they’ve done and they’ve been rewarded.”
Tyler Sandhu and Reid Petryk scored for Everett (6-8-0-1). Austin Lotz, making his first start since suffering a groin injury on Oct. 6, finished with 16 saves in net for the Tips.
Everett came into the game on a roll. The Tips, after winning just one of their first seven games, had won five of their previous seven, including four straight going into Saturday.
And the Tips turned in another solid effort Saturday, outshooting the T-birds 29-19 and controlling play for long stretches, particularly during the third period.
However, Seattle found the opportune moments to score goals, and the T-birds withstood most of Everett’s pressure.
“You have to tip your hat to them,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “They played a real good road game. They scored on their opportunities.
“I talk to our group a lot about the process,” Ferner added. “The process is getting there, we’re getting our opportunities. Now we just need to find ways to win games like that.”
Everett seemed to be in business in the third. The Tips trailed 2-1 to start the period, but tied it up at 7 minutes, 59 seconds. The puck squirted free to Murray just as he was coming out of the penalty box, creating a two-on-one. Murray fed Petryk, who made a move around Myles to knot it at 2-2.
However, any momentum the Tips may have gained was blunted less than a minute later. Honey made a quick transition after an Everett turnover, used defender Connor Cox as a screen, then sniped a shot into the top corner to restore Seattle’s lead at 8:58.
After that it was all Everett as the Tips poured on the pressure. However, that’s when Myles did his best work turning aside several Everett scoring chances as the T-birds held on for victory.
“I thought he played pretty well tonight,” Murray said of Myles. “He made some big stops for them and it was tough to get it past him. We had our chances, we just couldn’t bury enough.”
Everett opened the scoring 3:53 into the game when Cole MacDonald’s shot from the point trickled under Myles, and Sandhu got the last touch on the puck behind Myles to stake the Tips to a 1-0 lead. Seattle tied it on the power play at 7:18 when Honey’s one-timer from the left point got through Lotz. Everett had a great chance to regain the lead when presented with a lengthy five-on-three, but the Tips couldn’t convert.
Everett continued to get the power plays in the second period, but it was Seattle that scored a short-hander at 13:26. The Tips got caught changing their defensemen, allowing Delnov to take off on a breakaway. Delnov finished deftly with a move to his backhand to give Seattle a 2-1 lead.
Prior to Friday’s game against Spokane, Tips winger Zach McPhee left the team. McPhee, a 19-year-old who was pointless in 11 games, decided he would rather play junior A in the British Columbia Hockey League. McPhee’s departure left the Tips with just 12 forwards. … Everett played without defenseman Nick Walters. Walters was suspended by the league for a length to be determined under supplemental discipline for a high hit on Spokane leading scorer Mitch Holmberg on Friday. … The Tips were also without leading scorer Joshua Winquist for the second straight night. Winquist is dealing with a minor injury and is expected back for Tuesday’s home game against Kamloops.
Thunderbirds 3, Silvertips 2
First Period—1, Everett, Sandhu 3 (MacDonald, Hayer), 3:53. 2, Seattle, Honey 4 (Theodore, Sheen), 7:18 (pp). Penalties—Bauml, Everett (cross checking), 5:33; Elliot, Seattle (roughing), 7:58; Wardley, Seattle (holding), 9:01.
Second Period—3, Seattle, Delnov 5 (Sanvido), 13:26 (sh). Penalties—Swenson, Seattle (checking from behind), 11:39; Sanvido, Seattle (hooking), 14:45.
Third Period—4, Everett, Petryk 5 (Murray), 7:59. 5, Seattle, Honey 5, 8:58. Penalties—Mueller, Everett (charging), 0:27; Murray, Everett (roughing), 5:47.
Shots on goal—Seattle 4-8-7—19. Everett 8-11-10—29. Power-play opportunities—Seattle 1 of 3. Everett 0 of 4.
Goalies—Seattle, Myles 1-2-0-0 (29 shots, 27 saves). Everett, Lotz 1-4-0-0 (19 shots, 16 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.