BLOG: The Everett Silvertips ended the regular season in convincing fashion

The Everett Silvertips will again lift a U.S. Division banner after routing Victoria 8-1 in their regular-season finale Saturday on Vancouver Island. The Tips also take the top seed into the next week’s playoffs where they will face nemesis and eighth-seeded Seattle.

Everett’s 47 wins are the second-most in franchise history – trailing only the 54 victories of the Scotty Munro Trophy-winning 2006-07 squad. Everett has won six division titles in its 15-year history while claiming three in the past four seasons.

Everett’s record stood 4-9-1 following a 4-3 home loss to Seattle on Oct. 22. But Dustin Wolf debuted Oct. 27 at Kamloops while Carter Hart returned two games later.

The Tips went 43-11-1-3 after Wolf debuted.

“Even when we were 4-9-1, I didn’t think we were playing bad hockey,” head coach Dennis Williams said in a phone interview Saturday night. “We were able to get (both goalies) back to help us out in the back end, and I think that also continued to build confidence in our group.

“I go back to our group of players, and the buy-in to the process and the systems, and the buy-in to each other and the belief in each other, and it just was incredible,” Williams continued.

That buy-in starts with the captains:

Patrick Bajkov rewrote the franchise offensive record book. He recorded a hat trick and added an assist Saturday. The assist set a new franchise career record of 176 and also made him the first single-season 100-point man in franchise history. Bajkov broke the career points and career goals records earlier this season.

– Matt Fonteyne recorded a goal and four assists Saturday. Fonteyne finished with 35 goals and 53 assists. He was Everett’s second-leading goal-scorer and second-leading point-producer. Fonteyne was named the WHL Player of the Month in January.

– Defenseman Kevin Davis finished with 10 goals and 65 pointts as Everett’s fifth-leading scorer. His vision, skating and consistency solidifies Everett’s blue line.

Connor Dewar has played himself into an overage draft candidate. ‘The Pitbull’ had two goals and two assists in the regular-season finale. He led the team with 38 goals and finished with 68 points in 68 games.

The Silvertips finished with four 30-goal scorers (Bajkov, Fonteyne, Dewar and midseason pickup Garrett Pilon), and three 20-goal scorers (Bryce Kindopp, Sean Richards and Riley Sutter). Everett hadn’t had a 30-goal scorer since Kohl Bauml in 2014-15.

We also need to discuss the historic season turned in by Hart. The two-time defending WHL Goaltender of the Year finished 31-6-1-3 with a 1.60 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage.

Hart’s GAA set a new franchise record, but didn’t break Kelly Guard’s WHL record of 1.56 set in 2003-04. Guard set the mark in a time when far fewer goals were scored. The WHL doesn’t keep an official save percentage record. The league’s online archives go back to 1997-98 and Hart’s percentage is .010 higher than the previous mark of .937 turned in twice during that span.

Hart never managed the elusive 27th shutout that would have set a new WHL career mark, and thus he will forever be tied with Tyson Sexsmith.

I doubt he cares.

For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.

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