Silvertips’ offense comes to life in 6-3 victory

EVERETT — It was a long time coming for the Everett Silvertips.

Everett finally breached the dam during the third period of Friday night’s game against the Tri-City Americans, scoring four times as the Tips topped the Americans 6-3 at Comcast Arena.

Everett’s offense, despite regularly outshooting its opponents, has been running dry of late, with the Tips scoring just five times during the four-game skid that led into Friday.

But inspired by a dominating performance from Jujhar Khaira, the Tips finally made the breakthrough in the third period. Khaira, providing the textbook definition of a scoring power forward, had two goals and an assist in the third as Everett busted open a 2-2 tie.

“I feel like we’ve been getting shots all these games,” said Everett leading scorer Joshua Winquist, who also had a dynamic game with a goal and an assist. “Tonight, they were finally bouncing in instead of bouncing out.”

Patrick Bajkov, Kohl Bauml and Carson Stadnyk also scored for Everett (24-13-5-1), which dominated play, outshooting Tri-City 40-15. Only struggles by Everett’s goaltenders — starter Daniel Cotton was yanked after allowing two goals on nine shots, while Austin Lotz stopped five of six in relief — kept it from being a blowout.

The victory also ended Everett’s six-game losing streak at home. The last time the Tips were able to celebrate following a game at Comcast Arena was a 5-1 win over Saskatoon on Nov. 30.

Travis Hamonic, Devon McAndrews and Lucas Nickles scored for Tri-City (19-20-2-2). Evan Sarthou made 34 saves in net for the Americans.

Despite Everett’s domination of the puck, the score was tied 2-2 going into the third period. But strikes from Khaira and Winquist less than three minutes apart gave Everett control. Khaira scored during a power play at 4 minutes, 15 seconds, converting a nice centering feed off the rush by Ivan Nikolishin. Then at 7:04 Winquist made a nifty stickhandling move to avoid a defender in the slot, then wired a shot over Sarthou’s glove to make it 4-2.

Tri-City got one back before Winquist’s goal was even announced over the public address system, as Nickles’ harmless-looking wraparound attempt rolled up Lotz’s arm and into the goal just 17 seconds later.

But Everett’s offense continued to churn. Kharia put in a Herculean effort as he won the puck behind the Tri-City net and whipped a pass out front for Stadnyk to put past Sarthou at 14:17. Then Khaira scored again at 16:01, roofing a one-timer from Dawson Leedhal’s feed at 16:01.

Everett controlled the first period and took the lead at 10:16. Winquist raced into the fray, won a battle for a loose puck, then backhanded a pass across the crease for Bajkov to put away. But Tri-City answered at 17:56 as Hamonic’s slap shot from the right point got through Cotton, and despite controlling the period the Tips could only come away with a tie score.

The Tips continued to control play in the second period, with Bauml restoring Everett’s lead at 7:00 when he tipped Ben Betker’s shot from the point out of the air and past Sarthou. But again Tri-City tied it, this time McAndrews beating Cotton clean with a slap shot from the point on the rush at 10:48, making it 2-2. The goal sent Cotton to the bench in favor of Lotz.

Slap shots

Everett’s newest addition, winger Zane Jones who was acquired from Calgary on Thursday, arrived during Friday’s game. Jones was trying to make it in time to play, but got held up at the border. … Everett played without center Brayden Low. Low received a two-game suspension for his checking-to-the-head major penalty Wednesday against Portland. He’ll also sit out tonight’s rematch in Kennewick. … Tri-City’s two trade deadline acquisitions, defenseman Josh Thrower and winger Jackson Playfair, arrived in time to play Friday.

Silvertips 6, Americans 3

Tri-City111—3

Everett114—6

First Period—1, Everett, Bajkov 2 (Winquist, Khaira), 10:16. 2, Tri-City, Hamonic 2 (Wotherspoon, McCue), 17:56. Penalties—Thrower, Tri-City (cross checking), 4:09; Gutierrez, Tri-City (delay of game), 12:28.

Second Period—3, Everett, Bauml 9 (Betker, Juulsen), 7:00. 4, Tri-City, McAndrews 2 (Wotherspoon), 10:48. Penalties—T. Comrie, Tri-City (fighting), 15:56; Juulsen, Everett (fighting), 15:56; McCue, Tri-City (boarding), 19:11.

Third Period—5, Everett, Khaira 11 (Nikolishin, MacDonald), 4:15 (pp). 6, Everett, Winquist 27 (Nikolishin, Sandhu), 7:04. 7, Tri-City, Nickles 14 (Wotherspoon, Tot), 7:21. 8, Everett, Stadnyk 17 (Khaira, Mueller), 14:17. 9, Everett, Khaira 12 (Leedahl), 16:01. Penalties—Williams, Tri-City (hooking), 2:58.

Shots on goal—Tri-City 7-6-2—15. Everett 13-12-15—40. Power-play opportunities—Tri-City 0 of 0. Everett 1 of 4.

Goalies—Tri-City, Sarthou 3-4-0-0 (40 shots, 34 saves). Everett, Cotton (9 shots, 7 saves), Lotz 17-11-2-1 (6 shots, 5 saves).

A—5,289.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.

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