KENT — A three-goal second period lifted the Everett Silvertips to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in a U.S. Division rivalry game on Saturday night at the ShoWare Center.
“I thought we played really well,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “I thought we dominated the game. I didn’t really like our first (period). I thought we let them hang around too much, shots were pretty even. And then I thought in the second period, we elevated and that’s what I think teams need to do. We strive to get 60 minutes of hockey, you don’t want to play 40, but tonight 40 was good enough to win.”
Silvertips defenseman Jake Christiansen led the way with a two-goal, four-point night and forward Cole Fonstad chipped in a three-point effort, one goal and two assists.
But it was newly-acquired defenseman Kasper Puutio swung the game in Everett’s favor with his first goal being traded from Swift Current to Everett.
Oh, baby 😱😍@PuutioKasper couldn't have scored a nicer goal for his first as a Silvertip 🔥🔥
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) February 9, 2020
Puutio, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Canadian Hockey League import draft, froze the marking defender and snapped a shot past Seattle goaltender Blake Lyda’s blocker side for his second of the season at 5:55 in the second, providing the Silvertips a 2-1 lead.
Fonstad potted a power-play goal at 10:40 to extend the lead to 3-1 and then assisted on Brendan Lee’s goal at 11:48 to put Everett up 4-1.
Seattle’s Conner Roulette cut the deficit to 4-2 with a goal at 15:45.
But an empty-net goal from Christiansen, who flung the puck from the Silvertips’ defensive zone, extended the lead back to three.
With the win, Everett extended its point streak to nine games. The Silvertips are 8-0-1 in their last nine.
It was a choppy game that had 88 total penalty minutes, five of which were 10-minute misconducts.
The nastiness began when Justyn Gurney laid an open-ice hit to Seattle defenseman Cade McNelly, who took exception to it, at 14:05 in the second period. Fourteen of the 23 penalties called on Saturday
“The game was close up to that point,” Williams said. “I don’t know what (Seattle’s) mindset is. Do they not want to play hockey? The game of hockey is skilled. It’s making plays, it’s going up the ice. From the midway to the second on, we knew we had them beat. They were too worried about everyone else on the ice. We just told our guys to keep playing a full 60-minute game. Keep making their ‘D’ turn, keep playing simple hockey and a ‘We’re on the road’ mindset, stay out of the BS after the whistles and that’s what we did.”
Soon after stopping Andrej Kukuca’s penalty shot at 13:59, Dustin Wolf was relieved by backup goaltender Braden Holt.
Wolf stopped 23 of 24 shots in 54:19 of action while Holt saved three of the four shots he faced.
The Silvertips travel to Spokane for a tilt with the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday and will be without two forwards.
Michal Gut was a last-minute scratch on Saturday and Williams confirmed it was an injury. Hunter Campbell did not return after engaging in a first-period fight with McNelly and Williams confirmed he was injured.
Both will not travel with the team to Spokane.
“With (Dawson Butt) out, it’s something that was concerning when you only have 13 forwards to start and (when) you lose some to injury, you’re down pretty quick,” Williams said. “It’s challenging. I thought our guys did a good job of managing it. At least in the third, we were able to spot shift guys like Bryce (Kindopp) and Cole (Fonstad). You have to protect them when you play (Seattle), because they run around and they do whatever they want and they get away with whatever they want.”
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH