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 will finish what is undoubtedly his final junior hockey season with a 1.60 GAA and a .947 save percentage with seven shutouts. That's 26 career shutouts to finish his career tied with Tyson Sexsmith.
— Jesse Geleynse (@JesseGeleynse) March 18, 2018
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.
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