PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — For three years a shootout pretty much guaranteed a loss for the Everett Silvertips.
But things have taken a turn for the better for Everett this season, and Friday night their shootout struggles followed suit.
Everett prevailed in its first shootout of the Western Hockey League season as the Tips topped the Prince George Cougars 3-2. Everett won the shootout 2-1 in five rounds.
Everett was an abysmal 4-16 in shootouts the past three seasons. But Joshua Winquist and Carson Stadnyk converted Friday, and Austin Lotz turned aside four of the five Prince George shooters. The Tips needed a little fortune in the shootout as Prince George’s Zach Pochiro scored on the Cougars’ first attempt, only to have it nullified because the goal was off one of its pegs. Lotz stopped Pochiro on the make-up attempt.
Winquist and Mirco Mueller scored in regulation for Everett (6-1-1-0), which remained perfect on its road trip. The Tips can complete a sweep of the four-game trip by beating Prince George in tonight’s rematch.
Lotz had another solid night in goal for the Tips, making 30 saves to pick up the win.
Chase Witala and Pochiro scored for Prince George (4-5-0-0). Ty Edmonds finished with 28 saves in net for the Cougars.
Prince George controlled play in the first period, and the Cougars got their reward in the final minute. Pochiro worked his way around the defense to get a shot on goal, then Witala put home the rebound to give Prince George a 1-0 lead with 35 seconds remaining.
The Tips continued to struggle to get anything going until they found themselves with a short five-on-three power play midway through the second period, and the Tips converted. Ivan Nikolishin threaded a pass to Winquist, who one-timed a shot in off Edmonds to tie the game at 11:21.
Prince George quickly regained the lead with a power-play goal of its own at 13:27, Pochiro’s shot deflecting past Lotz to make it 2-1. But Everett answered 32 seconds later. Matt Fonteyne won a face-off back to Mueller, who one-timed a shot past a screened Edmonds to make it 2-2.
The game remained 2-2 through the third period and overtime, setting up the Tips’ win in the shootout.
Silvertips 3, Cougars 2 (SO)
First Period—1, Prince George, Witala 1 (Pochiro, Forsberg), 19:25. Penalties—Witala, Prince George (goaltender interference), 2:00; Everett bench (too many men, served by Fonteyne), 2:47. Forsberg, Prince George (delay of game), 13:27.
Second Period—2, Everett, Winquist 7 (Nikolishin, Pufahl), 11:21 (pp). 3, Prince George, Pochiro 3 (Forsberg, Carvalho), 13:27 (pp). 4, Everett, Mueller 1 (Fonteyne), 13:59. Penalties—Betker, Everett (hooking), 4:55; McNulty, Prince George (high sticking-high sticking), 7:37; Pochiro, Prince George (tripping), 11:13; Pufahl, Everett (roughing), 12:36.
Third Period—no goals. Penalties—Leedahl, Everett (high sticking), 9:56; Pochiro, Prince George (slashing), 13:33.
Overtime—no goals. Penalties—none.
Shootout—Everett 2 (Winquist G, Nikolishin NG, Leedahl NG, Hayer NG, Stadnyk G); Prince George 1 (Pochiro NG, Witala G, Forsberg NG, Bolduc NG, Harkins NG).
Shots on goal—Everett 5-12-10-3—30. Prince George 13-9-8-2—32. Power-play opportunities—Everett 1 of 6. Prince George 1 of 4.
Goalies—Everett, Lotz 5-1-1-0 (32 shots, 30 saves). Prince George, Edmonds 4-1-0-1 (30 shots, 28 saves).