By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — During his five seasons with the Everett Silvertips, Joshua Winquist has been on the wrong side of many a disappointing contest against the Kelowna Rockets.
Therefore, no one relished Tuesday night’s result more.
Winquist score twice and had an assist as the Tips upset the top-ranked team in the entire Canadian Hockey League, running the Rockets out of Comcast Arena to the tune of 5-1.
Everett completely bossed the game’s first two periods, building an impregnable 5-0 lead. This was against a Kelowna team that had lost just nine times in regulation all season, and was 14-1 against Everett since the Rockets upset the Tips in the first round of the 2010 playoffs.
“When I was 16 we were supposed to walk out of the conference, and they upset us in the first round, so every time we beat these guys it feels good,” said Winquist, who scored two goals to surpass the 40-goal threshold.
“That’s one of the best games we’ve played all year,” Winquist added. “It’s not often you beat the best team in Canada 5-1. It shows we worked and competed for a full 60.”
Jujhar Khaira added a goal and two assists, while Ben Betker and Carson Stadnyk also scored during a dominating first 40 minutes for Everett. Then when the Tips got a little casual in the third period, goaltender Austin Lotz made the best of his 23 saves to keep the game from getting interesting.
The victory was the fourth in a row and sixth in the past seven for Everett (34-23-7-2), with the only defeat during that stretch being a shootout loss to a Portland team in the midst of a 21-game winning streak.
“Tonight there was a little extra motivation because (Kelowna) is the king of the whole CHL in terms of their record,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “They’re a good team that’s been good since I’ve been around. It’s fun to go against that, knowing they’re a good team and finding a way to get a win. We couldn’t quite get it done against Portland the other night, so this was another kick at the can, and we were able to get it done tonight.”
The victory also pulled Everett within one point of Spokane for fifth place in the Western Conference with six games remaining. Five of those six games are on the road, and the Chiefs have one game in hand.
Justin Kirkland scored the lone goal for Kelowna (52-10-0-4), which had won four straight and nine of its past 10. It was the first time this season the Rockets lost by more than three goals. Jackson Whistle stopped 22 of the 27 shots he faced during the first two periods, Jordon Cooke stopped all 11 he faced in the third.
“They played real hard and were ready to play, and the other team wasn’t,” Kelowna coach Ryan Huska said.
“It was just one of those nights where you think you’re better than you actually are and you play that way,” Huska added. “Everett was a very determined team tonight, I thought they dictated the play from the beginning and deserved to win.”
After an initial feeling out stretch, the Tips were all over the Rockets in the first period, and Everett took the lead with two goals in 22 seconds.
First, at 11:07, Everett created a turnover in the neutral zone and quickly entered the Kelowna zone. Ivan Nikolishin’s shot was blocked, but the puck deflected right into the path of Khaira crashing the far post, and Khaira put it away to give Everett a 1-0 lead.
Then while the goal was being announced over the public address system, the Tips scored again. Stadnyk skated the puck in deep down the right and fed a pass to the far post where Betker, charging hard from his defensive position, redirected it past Whistle to make to 2-0. Everett had more chances to score, but Whistle made some key saves to keep it 2-0.
However, the Tips kept coming in the second period and piled on. Winquist hit the 40-goal mark at 12:23 when, while playing four-on-four, Khaira batted the puck into his path for a breakaway, and he slipped it under Whistle. Stadnyk made it 4-0 at 16:33 when the Tips kept the puck in the zone, allowing Stadnyk to juke his way through the slot and backhand a shot just under the crossbar. Then Winquist got his second at 17:55, batting in the rebound when Whistle couldn’t handle Betker’s shot from the point.
Winquist’s 41 goals puts him one short of the franchise record (42) for goals in a season, set by Shane Harper in 2009-10.
“One of my goals going into the year was to have a chance to beat the franchise record for goals in a season,” Winquist said. “It felt good to get (to get the 40th), and hopefully I can keep going.”
Kelowna got a rebound goal from Kirkland on a two-on-one 4:49 into the third, and the Rockets had other chances to get a little closer and make the Tips sweat, but Lotz made several good saves to keep it from getting close.
The one black mark for Everett was an injury to center Kohl Bauml. Bauml went hard into the boards early in the first period and had to be helped off the ice with what appeared to be a leg injury. He did not return. Constantine said he didn’t know the extent of the injury, but that Bauml would be out “probably for a long time.”
Silvertips 5, Rockets 1
Kelowna 0 0 1 — 1
Everett 2 3 0 — 5
First Period—1, Everett, Khaira 16 (Nikolishin, Winquist), 11:07. 2, Everett, Betker 6 (Stadnyk, Fonteyne), 11:29. Penalties—Severson, Kelowna (tripping), 4:25; Gatenby, Kelowna (interference), 15:28.
Second Period—3, Everett, Winquist 40 (Khaira), 12:23. 4, Everett, Stadnyk 20 (Leedahl), 16:33. 5, Everett, Winquist 41 (Betker, Khaira), 17:55. Penalties—Yorke, Kelowna (instigator-fighting-game misconduct), 2:05; Jones, Everett (fighting), 2:05; Bajkov, Everett (high sticking), 5:45; Heffley, Kelowna (boarding), 8:55; Martin, Kelowna (hooking), 11:32; Jones, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:32; Severson, Kelowna (hooking), 13:32; Stadnyk, Everett (elbowing), 18:02; Pufahl, Everett (cross checking), 19:40.
Third Period—6, Kelowna, Kirkland 15 (Bell), 4:49. Penalties—Goulbourne, Kelowna (roughing), 19:08; Stadel, Kelowna (roughing), 19:08; Jones, Everett (roughing), 19:08; Low, Everett (roughing), 19:08.
Shots on goal—Kelowna 7-6-11—24. Everett 14-13-11—38. Power-play opportunities—Kelowna 0 of 3. Everett 0 of 5.
Goalies—Kelowna, Whistle 16-4-0-0 (27 shots, 22 saves), Cooke (11 shots, 11 saves). Everett, Lotz 26-18-3-2 (24 shots, 23 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.