By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — There were no blown kisses by the Everett Silvertips following their game against the Vancouver Giants on Saturday night. Just a salute to the enthusiastic crowd at Comcast Arena that witnessed the Tips take one more step toward another playoff berth.
Everett inched ever closer to playoff position Saturday, defeating the Giants 4-2 in an intense and ill-tempered contest that finished off the teams’ home-and-home weekend set.
The Tips remained in ninth place in the Western Conference, one spot out of playoff position. But Everett is getting hot at the right time. The victory was Everett’s fifth in its past seven games — and the first against a team with a winning record. With Seattle losing to Portland on Saturday and Victoria idle, Everett has now pulled within one point of the T-birds and the Royals in the standings.
And the Tips accomplished that with a feisty effort that brought back memories of the rivalry between Everett and Vancouver from 2005-07, when it seemed an altercation ensued following every whistle.
“We wanted to come out and try to initiate a lot of things,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “We haven’t been at home for a while, and when you play a team back-to-back some of those emotions carry over.
“We bent at times, but we didn’t break,” Ferner added. “Our kids right now are out of gas. That’s four games in five days. I’m very proud of the way they played, no only tonight but even last night. It was a well-deserved victory.”
Kent Simpson played a strong game in goal for Everett (15-32-1-8), finishing with 41 saves. He stopped all 14 shots he faced in the third period, when the Tips were clinging to a 3-2 lead. Cody Fowlie, Jari Erricson, Reid Petryk and Josh Birkholz scored for the Tips.
Neil Manning and David Musil scored for Vancouver (32-21-1-2). Adam Morrison stopped 24 shots in net for the Giants.
There was bad blood between the teams from the start Saturday, stemming from a contentious game played between the teams Friday night in Vancouver, one which the Giants won 3-2. In that game, there was a melee that ensued following the final horn and in the aftermath Vancouver captain Brendan Gallagher was seen blowing kisses toward the Everett bench. That incident appeared to add to Everett’s motivation Saturday.
“If you look at the standings, that’s more of a motivation for us,” Simpson said. “We’re a team that’s desperate to try and get into the playoffs, we just needed the two points. (The incidents from Friday) obviously add a little fuel to the fire, but wins are huge right now.”
The Tips also received a heroic effort from its defensive corps. Everett lost two defensemen in the first period when Evan Morden limped off and Nick Walters had to have 23 stitches in his lip. But those who remained did yeoman’s work, with Ryan Murray and Dominik Bittner in particular logging heavy minutes.
“Coming off four games in five nights, it was a battle,” Simpson said. “We were down on the ‘D’ end, so it was a lot of courage from the guys to battle through the whole 60.”
An angry first period ended with Everett leading 1-0. The Tips took advantage of a Vancouver turnover at the Giants blue line at 5 minutes, 47 seconds, with quick passing from Kohl Bauml and Ryan Harrison setting up Fowlie for a shot into the top corner.
While the teams continued to stare daggers at one another in the second, the Giants rallied to take the lead. Manning finished off a two-on-one feed from Marek Tvrdon at 1:31, and Musil’s one-timer from the point on the power play beat Simpson clean at 7:26, giving the Giants a 2-1 lead.
But the continued chippy play led to penalties, and the Tips capitalized twice later in the second to regain the lead. Erricson tucked a backhander from in close past Morrison at 9:29 just after a five-on-three power play expired, then Petryk shot past Morrison on a scramble just after a five-on-four expired 2:02 later as Everett went ahead 3-2.
The third period was one-way traffic as the Giants controlled play while the Tips played conservatively. But Everett managed to keep the puck out of the net, and Birkholz scored into an empty net with 47.3 seconds remaining to clinch it.
Silvertips 4, Giants 2
First Period—1, Everett, Fowlie 10 (Harrison, Bauml), 5:47. Penalties—Vannieuwenhuizen, Vancouver (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:13; Caron, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:13; Kuvaev, Vancouver (unsportsmanlike conduct), 3:15; Bittner, Everett (hooking), 11:29; Makin, Vancouver (fighting), 17:49; Gallagher, Vancouver (roughing), 17:49; Erricson, Everett (fighting), 17:49; Caron, Everett (roughing), 17:49; Ast, Vancouver (tripping), 18:31.
Second Period—2, Vancouver, Manning 7 (Tvrdon, Gallagher), 1:31. 3, Vancouver, Musil 2 (Gallagher, Tvrdon), 7:26 (pp). 4, Everett, Erricson 5 (Fowlie, Harrison), 9:29 (pp). 5, Everett, Petryk 12 (Erricson, Birkholz), 11:31. Penalties—Houck, Vancouver (fighting), 1:32; Chynoweth, Everett (fighting), 1:32; Fowlie, Everett (roughing), 3:39; Vannieuwenhuizen, Vancouver (10-minute misconduct), 6:33; Harrison, Everett (roughing), 6:33; Caron, Everett (10-minute misconduct), 6:33; Martinook, Vancouver (roughing), 7:26; Musil, Vancouver (high sticking-high sticking), 7:40; Kulak, Vancouver (10-minute misconduct), 11:31; Winquist, Everett (10-minute misconduct), 11:31; Bauml, Everett (holding), 14:48.
Third Period—6, Everett, Birkholz 25 (Caron), 19:12 (en). Penalties—Burns, Vancouver (roughing), 5:08; Grayson, Everett (roughing), 5:08; Lofthouse, Everett (interference), 20:00.
Shots on goal—Vancouver 10-19-14—43. Everett 12-12-4—28. Power-play opportunities—Vancouver 1 of 4. Everett 1 of 5.
Goalies—Vancouver, Morrison 28-12-1-1 (27 shots, 24 saves). Everett, Simpson 13-25-1-5 (43 shots, 41 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.