VICTORIA, B.C. — The Everett Silvertips desperately want out of sixth.
The Tips continued their drive toward moving up the WHL’s Western Conference standings, defeating the Victoria Royals 5-3 Friday night for their eighth straight victory.
Everett remained in sixth place in the conference standings, but the Tips are inching ever closer to the two teams ahead of them. Seattle lost to Portland, while Spokane beat Tri-City in a shootout. Therefore, Everett is just a single point behind Seattle and Spokane, which are tied for fourth. Everett and Seattle have two games remaining, Spokane has one.
The Tips had to recover in the third period Friday to extend their winning streak. Victoria tied it it 3-3 after entering the period trailing 3-1.
But Manraj Hayer and Ivan Nikolishin scored 27 seconds apart midway through the third to restore Everett’s two-goal lead.
Noah Juulsen, Matt Pufahl and Zane Jones also scored for Everett (38-23-7-2), while Austin Lotz earned the win in goal for the Tips with 23 saves. Nikolishin and Joshua Winquist each had two assists. Winquist’s assists gave him 91 points, moving him within two of Zach Hamill’s franchise record with two games remaining.
Former Silvertip Mitch Skapski, Steven Hodges and Tyler Soy scored, while Patrik Polivka made 26 saves in net for Victoria (48-19-1-3), which is already locked into the conference’s third seed. The Royals would be Everett’s first-round playoff opponent if the Tips remain in sixth. The same teams play tonight in Everett’s final home game of the regular season.
Everett seemed in control, taking a 3-1 lead into the third. But Victoria rallied to tie it. Skapski scored at 2 minutes, 11 seconds when he put in a rebound during a delayed penalty. Then Soy tied it at 9:07, converting out front following a steal by Axel Blomqvist.
But in an instant the Tips restored their two-goal lead. Hayer converted following a give-and-go with Patrick Bajkov on the rush at 11:42 to make it 4-3. Then on the following shift Nikolishin finished off a nice passing move involving Winquist and Jujhar Khaira to make it a two-goal game again. This time the Tips held it.
Everett scored the game’s first goal at 11:16 of the first period. Juulsen fired a shot from the point, and it deflected off traffic and past Polivka to stake the Tips to a 1-0 lead.
The Tips doubled their lead 2:14 into the second period. On the power play, Pufahl’s one-timer from the point found its way through traffic and into the net, making it 2-0.
Victoria got back within one at 9:26. The Royals had a good stretch of pressure, with Hodges eventually cleaning up out front to get Victoria onto the board.
But Everett regained its two-goal lead at 14:52. Kevin Davis fired a tame shot from the point, but Jones was able to redirect the puck in, giving the Tips a 3-1 lead heading into the third.
Silvertips 5, Royals 3
First Period—1, Everett, Juulsen 2 (Nikolishin, Betker), 11:16. Penalties—Khaira, Everett (fighting), 14:27; Fransoo, Victoria (fighting), 14:27; Jones, Everett (hooking), 16:12; Leedahl, Everett (roughing), 18:17; Carroll, Victoria (roughing), 18:17.
Second Period—2, Everett, Pufahl 14 (Winquist, Nikolishin), 2:14 (pp). 3, Victoria, Hodges 21 (Carroll), 9:26. 4, Everett, Jones 13 (Davis, Sandhu), 14:52. 7, Everett, Hayer 15 (Bajkov), 11:42. 8, Everett, Nikolishin 18 (Winquist, Khaira), 12:09. Penalties—Crunk, Victoria (boarding), 1:01; Hodges, Victoria (interference), 6:20.
Third Period—5, Victoria, Skapski 3 (Soy, Fushimi), 2:11. 6, Victoria, Soy 14 (Blomqvist, Magee), 9:07. 7, Everett, Hayer 15 (Bajkov), 11:42. 8, Everett, Nikolishin 18 (Winquist, Khaira), 12:09. Penalties—Brown, Victoria (cross checking), 3:49; Magee, Victoria (slashing), 15:04.
Shots on goal—Everett 7-13-11—31. Victoria 7-8-11—26. Power-play opportunities—Everett 1 of 4. Victoria 0 of 1.
Goalies—Everett, Lotz 30-18-3-2 (26 shots, 23 saves). Victoria, Polivka 28-12-0-2 (31 shots, 26 saves).