By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Like a Mount St. Helens ash plume from the 1980s, the Everett Silvertips’ offensive eruption of September 2013 just keeps going.
Everett billowed out five more goals Saturday night as the Tips defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-4 in a preseason contest at Comcast Arena.
Everett was the lowest-scoring team in the WHL last season, but it’s been a different story this preseason. The Tips have scored a league-high 31 goals in the preseason to build a perfect 6-0 record. In its past four games Everett found the net 27 times. The five goals Everett scored Saturday were the fewest the Tips scored during that four-game span.
The Tips did almost all their damage during the second half of the second period, scoring four goals during eight minutes of pure domination, turning a 2-1 deficit onto a 5-2 lead. Everett ended up outshooting Seattle 45-25.
“That was good,” said Brayden Low, who led the way for the Tips with a goal and two assists. “It felt like a real regular season game, we absolutely hate each other out there. The intensity and the tempo was up for 60 minutes and it felt great to get the win.
“Everybody’s really clicking,” Low added. “We’re just putting a lot of shots to the net and we’re getting rewarded for it. Hopefully it will continue into the regular season, we’re pretty excited about our start here.”
Manraj Hayer and Micheal Zipp each added a goal and an assist, while Tyler Sandhu and Ivan Nikolishin also scored for Everett. Hayer and Low are now 1-2 in the league in preseason scoring as Hayer has 11 points in five games and Low, who totaled just six points in 43 games last season, has nine.
In keeping with the scoring theme, Everett’s also given up its share of goals this preseason, and Saturday was no different. Seattle scored twice in the third period, pulling within one with 1:25 remaining. But Austin Lotz made a pair of desperation saves on Connor Honey late to preserve the victory. Lotz finished with 21 saves.
Mathew Barzal, Alexander Delnov, Roberts Lipsbergs and Honey scored for Seattle (4-2). Danny Mumaugh made 40 saves in net for the T-birds.
Everett and Seattle play again tonight in Kent in the final preseason game for both teams.
Everett trailed 2-1 as the game neared its midpoint, but the Tips turned the game dramatically in the final 11 minutes of the second period. It began at 9 minutes, 13 seconds when, while short-handed, Hayer undressed the Seattle defense and put the puck under Mumaugh to tie the score.
Once the Seattle power play ended, the Tips kept the puck almost exclusively in the T-birds end the remainder of the period, cashing in three times to take a 5-2 lead. Zipp gave Everett the lead at 13:07 when he put a shot from the top of the circle in off the post. Sandhu made it 4-2 it 15:29, making a nice move to his forehand after the Tips caught Seattle in a line change. Nikolishin finished off the four-goal outburst at 16:44 finally batting the puck in after a long scramble in front.
“I think we have played like that, but not to that level of intensity,” Low said about Everett’s stretch of domination. “I think the fans really got behind us there and it was pretty cool to just hold them into their end and not let them really create anything offensively either.”
After Lipsbergs scored 6:43 into the third to make it a two-goal game, the Tips had several good scoring chances, but the puck somehow stayed out of the net. Then, with Mumaugh pulled for an extra attacker, Seattle got within one with 1:25 remaining, Honey converting a feed from Branden Troock from behind the net.
But the Tips held on, and now they’re one game away from a perfect preseason.
Both teams were missing players who are still at NHL training camps. Everett was without forwards Reid Petryk and Jujhar Khaira and defenseman Ben Betker, who are with the Edmonton Oilers, and defenseman Mirco Mueller, who’s with the San Jose Sharks. Seattle was without winger Mitch Elliot (Vancouver), defensemen Shea Theodore (Anaheim) and Jared Hauf (Philadelphia). … Everett was also without center Ty Mappin, who is home for the weekend to attend a wedding.
Silvertips 5, Thunderbirds 4
First Period—1, Everett, Low 2 (Hayer, Pufahl), 9:17 (pp). 2, Seattle, Barzal 4 (Hickman), 17:24. 3, Seattle, Delnov 4 (Honey, Troock), 18:54. Penalties—Hickman, Seattle (closing hand on puck), 8:23; Pufahl, Everett (interference), 11:23.
Second Period—4, Everett, Hayer 5 (Low, Pufahl), 9:13 (sh). 5, Everett, Zipp 1 (Adam, Bauml), 13:07. 6, Everett, Sandhu 2 (Winquist, Zipp), 15:29. 7, Everett, Nikolishin 3 (Low, Skrumeda), 16:44. Penalties—Low, Everett (interference), 3:05; Holub, Seattle (checking from behind), 6:53; Wardley, Seattle (roughing), 6:53; Penner, Everett (roughing), 6:53; Everett bench (too many men, served by Penner), 9:03; Folk, Seattle (fighting-game misconduct), 13:03; Aasman, Everett (fighting-game misconduct), 13:03.
Third Period—8, Seattle, Lipsbergs1 (Barzal), 6:43. 9, Seattle, Honey 3 (Troock, Lipsbergs), 18:35. Penalties—none.
Shots on goal—Seattle 9-5-11—25. Everett 14-18-13—45. Power-play opportunities—Seattle 0 of 3. Everett 1 of 2.
Goalies—Seattle, Mumaugh 0-1-0-0 (45 shots, 40 saves). Everett, Lotz 3-0-0-0 (25 shots, 21 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.