VICTORIA, B.C. — It was a good news, bad news night for the Everett Silvertips on Saturday.
The bad news: the Tips were toothless in a 4-1 loss to the Victoria Royals.
The good news: Everett clinched a playoff berth anyway.
Everett was handed the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference thanks to Prince George’s 5-2 loss at Kamloops. By clinching the postseason, the Silvertips extended their streak to 10 consecutive playoff appearances. They have never missed making the postseason in franchise history.
The Tips came into the night knowing Prince George could do no better than tie them for eighth place. Everett was unable to clinch the playoffs itself as the Tips managed just 20 shots on goal against the Royals. However, Prince George fell behind 5-0 in the second period at Kamloops to send Everett into the postseason.
Jordan Fransoo and Joe Hicketts both scored twice to lead the Royals (34-30-2-5), who had lost 14 of their previous 15 games and were playing short-handed because of injuries. Coleman Vollrath made 19 saves to earn the win in goal.
Joshua Winquist scored the lone goal for Everett (24-40-2-4). Austin Lotz made 28 saves in net for the Tips.
The same teams play tonight in Everett.
Everett is still in the hunt for seventh place. Seattle lost 8-4 at Portland, meaning the Tips remained three points behind the seventh-place Thunderbirds. Everett has two games remaining, at home against Victoria and Tri-City tonight and Sunday, respectively. Seattle has one game remaining, tonight at home against Portland. The team that finishes seventh faces Kelowna in the first round of the playoffs, the team that finishes eighth faces powerhouse Portland.
There was no score through one period Friday night. The best scoring chance came during an Everett power play when Vollrath robbed Winquist with a glove save. Then the Royals applied pressure late, but Everett survived.
Victoria dominated the second period, taking a 2-0 lead. Fransoo opened the scoring on the power play at 8 minutes, 4 seconds, putting in a rebound off the back boards after a dangerous rush up ice. Hicketts made it 2-0 at 19:23, scoring on a nice back-door feed by Steven Hodges on the rush.
The Royals made it 3-0 6:32 into the third period, Fransoo beating Lotz off the rush. Everett broke the shutout at 13:05 when Winquist scored on a rebound. But Victoria ended it with 1:11 remaining when Hickett’s length-of-the-ice clearance during a penalty kill found the empty net.
Royals 4, Silvertips 1
First Period—no goals. Penalties—Kanzig, Victoria (interference), 6:27; B. Walker, Victoria (boarding), 15:40.
Second period—1, Victoria, Fransoo 7 (Hodges, Cote), 8:04 (pp). 2, Victoria, Hicketts 4 (Hodges, B. Walker), 19:23. Penalties—Winquist, Everett (tripping), 6:57; Soumelidis, Everett (interference), 8:49; Carroll, Victoria (goaltender interference), 10:53; Betker, Everett (fighting), 18:30; Carroll, Victoria (fighting), 18:30; Cox, Everett (roughing), 19:57.
Third Period—3, Victoria, Fransoo 8 (Hodges, Crunk), 6:32. 4, Everett, Winquist 24 (Petryk, Bauml), 13:05. 5, Victoria, Hicketts 5, 18:49 (sh-en). Penalties—Adam, Everett (high sticking), 10:00; Deacon, Victoria (roughing), 17:25.
Shots on goal—Everett 11-3-6—20. Victoria 14-12-6—32. Power-play opportunities—Everett 0 of 4. Victoria 1 of 4.
Goalies—Everett, Lotz 15-19-2-1 (31 shots, 28 saves). Victoria, Vollrath 4-12-0-2 (20 shots, 19 saves).