By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips got the defensive side of the ice sorted out Friday night.
The offensive side remains a work in progress.
Everett continued to struggle offensively, but a solid effort in their own zone salvaged a point as the Silvertips fell 2-1 in a shootout to the Tri-City Americans at Comcast Arena.
Everett had been badly outshot 48-20 in its previous four games. Friday night the Tips dramatically cut down on the shots against, limiting the Americans to 25 over 65 minutes.
But while Everett limited Tri-City’s offensive opportunities, the Tips weren’t able to generate many of their own. The Tips still struggled to put shots on goal, managing just 22, and Everett went 0-for-6 on the power play. It was the fourth consecutive game in which the Tips failed to convert any of their advantages.
“I saw a lot of positive things,” Everett interim coach Garry Davidson said. “I think the work ethic was pretty good, our penalty killing was real good, our goaltending was good. I think we tried to get more pucks to the net, but I think we still have to continue working at that. I don’t know that there were a whole lot of quality chances overall, so that’s something we’ve got to keep working at.”
Malte Stromwall scored on the first shift of the game for Tri-City (30-19-1-2), while Luke Lee-Knight had a solid effort in goal with 21 saves for the Americans.
Logan Aasman scored for Everett (21-28-1-3), which dropped its third straight. Daniel Cotton played a strong game in goal for the Tips, making 24 saves.
By earning a point Everett moved four points ahead of Seattle for seventh place in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference. The Thunderbirds lost 5-3 to Portland. Meanwhile, Prince George pulled within eight points of the Tips by beating Victoria 6-2.
It was a particularly important point for Everett given the caliber of competition the Tips face over the next two weeks, when points are likely to be scarce.
“It’s a really big point,” Davidson said. “It would have been nice to have stolen the second one in the shootout.”
The fans hadn’t even had a chance to settle into their seats when the Tips found themselves behind. On the game’s first shift, the Americans created pressure and Justin Feser played a nice drop pass while cutting across the slot for Stromwall to one-time into the top corner. The shot gave Tri-City a 1-0 lead just 23 seconds into the game.
Everett was stunned and remained on the back heel, but the Tips gradually came into the game, and Aasman nearly tied it up late in the period when his drive rang off the post.
Both teams had scoring chances in the second period, but Lee-Knight made several good stops during one sequence midway through the period, Americans defenseman Michal Plutnar saw a shot hit the post, and it remained 1-0 going into the third.
Everett finally found its breakthrough 4:25 into the third. The Tips won a faceoff in the Tri-City zone, and Landon Oslanski’s low wrister from the point was tipped under Lee-Knight by Aasman to knot it at 1-1.
The score remained tied through the rest of the third period and overtime, with Cotton required to make several good saves in the third to ensure the Tips got a point. Then in the shootout, Davidson went unconventional, tabbing rookie defenseman Cole MacDonald and Aasman to shoot. MacDonald had Lee-Knight beat, but lost control, while Aasman had a goal overruled by a video review. Feser and Stromwall converted with nice moves to earn Tri-City the victory.
Everett prospect goaltender Nik Amundrud dressed for the first time in the WHL. The 15-year-old, who was a third-round pick in last year’s bantam draft, was called up to fill in while No. 1 Austin Lotz is out with an ankle sprain. … Both teams were without their No. 1 goalies as Tri-City’s Eric Comrie is out for the season because of a hip injury. … Tri-City gave WHL debuts to a pair of call-up forwards in 16-year-old Justin Marreck and 15-year-old Parker Wotherspoon.
Americans 2, Silvertips 1 (SO)
Tri-City 1 0 0 0 1—2
Everett 0 0 1 0 0—1
Americans won shootout 2-0
First Period—1, Tri-City, Stromwall 15 (Feser, Dow), 0:23. Penalties—Sandhu, Everett (hooking), 10:54; Gutierrez, Tri-City (checking from behind-fighting), 16:26; Zipp, Everett (instigator-fighting-10-minute misconduct), 16:26.
Second Period—no goals. Penalties—Plutnar, Tri-City (tripping), 0:35; Mueller, Everett (cross checking), 5:11; Bowles, Tri-City (hold stick), 6:33; Feser, Tri-City (slashing), 8:32; Skapski, Everett (hooking), 11:38; Rankin, Tri-City (roughing), 15:47; Feser, Tri-City (tripping), 19:28.
Third Period—2, Everett, Aasman 2 (Oslanski, Hayer), 4:25. Penalties—Mychan, Tri-City (interference), 2:12; Oslanski, Everett (interference), 8:18.
Overtime—no goals. Penalties—none.
Shootout—Everett 0 (MacDonald NG, Aasman NG); Tri-City 2 (Feser, Stromwall).
Shots on goal—Tri-City 6-7-10-2—25. Everett 6-11-4-1—22. Power-play opportunities—Tri-City 0 of 4. Everett 0 of 6.
Goalies—Tri-City, Lee-Knight 9-5-0-0 (22 shots, 21 saves). Everett, Cotton 9-11-0-1 (25 shots, 24 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.