This was the type of game the Everett Silvertips needed to have. They needed to come out and establish themselves against a Seattle Thunderbirds team that has long been a playoff nemesis.
The Silvertips controlled the game from the opening puck drop and turned in a performance more decisive than any of the 10 regular-season match-ups between the two teams.
Everett put a ton of pressure on Seattle goalie Liam Hughes (who actually played very well) as the Tips outshot the T-Birds 46-26. Carter Hart saved 25 of the 26 shots he saw, Seattle’s lone goal coming on a tipped point shot.
Getting bodies in front of Hughes has been a struggle all season for the Tips against the bigger T-Birds. On Friday they got traffic they needed and capitalized. Patrick Bajkov’s first goal came shorthanded thanks to traffic early in the second period and gave Everett a 2-0 lead.
“(Matt Fonteyne) made a great pass to kick it out and they both drove the net really hard,” Bajkov said. “That made it a little easier to make a lane for me to get the shot through and a great job by (Kevin) Davis and Fonteyne there to go to the net hard.”
Soon after, Fonteyne won a faceoff in the Seattle zone and immediately played the puck to Bajkov, who used net-front traffic to rifle a wrister past Hughes for a 3-0 lead.
Then there was Bryce Kindopp’s goal to restore the three-goal lead after Seattle’s lone tally. It was a pure effort goal and vintage Kindopp.
— Paul KOMO sports (@Paul4KOMOsports) March 24, 2018
Everett finished 0-for-4 on the power play so it will certainly look to address that heading into Game 2. The Tips scored 31 percent of their regular-season goals on the man advantage. While the fact they came up empty four times Friday is atypical, they have to pleased with three even-strength goals and a shorthanded tally.
T-Birds forward Nolan Volcan leveled former teammate and Tips forward Luke Ormsby along the boards late in the second period and Ormsby did not return. Everett head coach Dennis Williams had no update after the game, but if Ormsby cannot go Saturday either Dawson Butt or Bronson Sharp would play. Both were healthy scratches Friday.
There was plenty of additional media attention focused on Friday’s game. You can read colleague Andy Eide’s take here as my ThunderTips hockey podcast co-host was back at Angel of the Winds Arena for the second time this week. You can also check out Jim Riley’s piece in the Seattle Times. Jim freelances for the Times and has covered the Tips since their inception.
It all means nothing in about 18 hours when the puck drops for Game 2.
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