EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips were hammered by the Medicine Hat Tigers on Sunday night everywhere except where it mattered most.
Goaltender Daniel Cotton produced a stellar effort just when the Tips needed it most, and Everett came away with an unlikely 2-1 victory over Medicine Hat at Comcast Arena.
Everett was on the back heel throughout Sunday’s game, getting outshot 41-18. But Carson Stadnyk scored twice, including the game winner with less than eight minutes remaining, and the Tips somehow made the lead stand up.
“Well, let’s just say there’s no pictures on the scoresheet,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “We probably didn’t have a lot of business winning that game, but the kids found a way, and that’s an important thing. And our goaltending was real good tonight.”
The Tips (9-14-0-2) owe a big debt of gratitude to Cotton. Everett looked like a team gassed from playing its third game in three days nights, getting outskated and out worked by the Tigers. But Cotton, starting for the first time in 11 days, was there to pick up the slack. Cotton didn’t have many spectacular highlight-reel stops among his 40, but he was always in the right position to make the save.
“I was feeling comfortable,” said Cotton, who also credited his teammates for clearing rebounds and blocking shots. “The more you play the more comfortable you get. I hadn’t started in a few games so I just focused a lot and did my best to keep things simple.”
Curtis Valk scored the lone goal for Medicine Hat (11-13-1-0), which dropped its fourth straight. Cam Lanigan stopped 16 shots in net for the Tigers.
Sunday’s victory completed a dramatic turnaround for the Tips in their three-in-three weekend. Everett’s weekend seemed doomed for disaster following Friday night’s 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Victoria, a game that saw the Tips lose captain Ryan Murray to a dislocated shoulder. But the Tips ended up taking four points away from the weekend, and Everett finds itself back in playoff position in eighth place in the WHL’s Western Conference.
“Victoria was a tough trip for our group,” Ferner said. “Then we came back and responded with a good effort against Vancouver (winning 6-5 Saturday), and in this situation we were outplayed pretty bad but found a way to win. Good teams find ways to win and hopefully that will turn a corner for us. We need to shore up some areas, no question. Hopefully a lot of it was sheer exhaustion from the travel. But I’m happy for the kids, they found a way to win two real important games for us.”
Everett was holding on for dear life throughout the first two periods, despite Stadnyk giving the Tips the lead midway through the second. When the Tips began parading to the penalty box in the third, with Valk converting on a one-timer from the slot at 7 minutes, 34 seconds, it seemed Everett’s luck was about to run out.
But the Tips somehow found a way to put the puck in the net one more time. Landon Oslanski won a puck battle in the corner and fed it out front, where a cutting Stadnyk redirected it under Lanigan to restore Everett’s lead.
“It feels good to finally help out the team goal-wise,” said Stadnyk, who came into the game with one goal in 24 outings. “I couldn’t have done it without my linemates, though. They fed me the puck and I just had to put it in the back of the net.”
Everett played its best stretch following its second goal, but Medicine Hat received a golden opportunity with 1:27 remaining when Everett’s Manraj Hayer put the puck over the glass from the defensive zone for a delay-of-game penalty. The Tigers thought they’d put the puck in the net on Tyler Lewington’s shot with 54.3 seconds remaining, but a video review upheld the no-goal call, and the Tips held out the rest of the way.
The first period was all Medicine Hat as the Tigers outworked the Tips and outshot Everett 14-3. However, Cotton was solid in net and it remained scoreless going into the second.
Everett remained on the defensive in the second period, but the Tigers lacked the cutting edge in front of goal, and the Tips took an unlikely lead at 13:17. On the rare foray into Medicine Hat’s zone, Austin Adam’s wrister from the right point was deflected past Lanigan by Stadnyk to put the Tips ahead 1-0.
Everett continued to play without three key players as Murray, along with wingers Ryan Harrison (knee) and Joshua Winquist (mononucleosis), remain out because of physical ailments. … Medicine Hat was without star winger Hunter Shinkaruk. The 18-year-old Shinkaruk, who has 35 points in 24 games and is projected as a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL draft, suffered a 14-stitch gash in his knee during Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Portland. Also missing was winger Miles Koules. The 18-year-old Koules, a former Everett property who has 16 points in 24 games, suffered an ankle injury against Portland.
Silvertips 2, Tigers 1
First Period—no goals. Penalties—Labelle, Medicine Hat (holding), 8:52; Everett bench (too many men, served by Low), 11:21.
Second Period—1, Everett, Stadnyk 2 (Adam, Cox), 13:17. Penalties—Pearce, Medicine Hat (cross checking), 14:13; Stadnyk, Everett (slashing), 16:59; Cox, Everett (roughing), 18:50.
Third Period—2, Medicine Hat, Valk 16 (Pearce, Cox), 7:34 (pp). 3, Everett, Stadnyk 3 (Oslanski, Mappin), 12:43. Penalties—Lofthouse, Everett (tripping), 3:12; Cox, Medicine Hat (tripping), 5:22; Cox, Everett (holding), 7:12; Foulk, Everett (tripping), 9:47; Hayer, Everett (delay of game), 18:33.
Shots on goal—Medicine Hat 14-14-13—41. Everett 3-8-7—18. Power-play opportunities—Medicine Hat 1 of 7. Everett 0 of 3.
Goalies—Medicine Hat, Lanigan 9-5-0-0 (18 shots, 16 saves). Everett, Cotton 6-4-0-0 (41 shots, 40 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.