EVERETT — For the first time all season, the Everett Silvertips left their ice with heads held low and devoid of answers. The frustration was evident, too, as forward Martin Fasko-Rudas feigned breaking his stick over his knee as he skated to the bench.
The Silvertips ended a three-games-in-three-day stretch with a 2-1 loss to Victoria on Sunday, Everett’s third consecutive defeat — its longest losing streak of the season. Even with the struggles, there is a perspective required when analyzing losing streaks in January.
“We’re a long ways to where we really want to go,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “We’ve had a good year and we had a stretch where we ran off (a lot of wins), but it can’t go smooth all year and there are going to be some hurdles. Unfortunately, what happens when you have the type of start that we had, at midseason when you do lose a few games, everyone goes into panic mode.
“If you’re a .500 hockey club, no one thinks anything different of it and doesn’t question it. We won’t question it, we’ll just keep playing our game.”
Tarun Fizer put the Royals up 1-0 with a goal 1:4o into the second period. Fizer broke lose on the rush and buried a cross-ice feed from Phillip Schultz for his 10th goal of the season.
Everett tied the game with a goal from Bryce Kindopp 57 seconds into the third period. The 19-year-old forward tallied his 23rd goal of the season by snapping a one-timer off a feed from behind the net by Max Patterson.
“It was a good forecheck by that line to sustain it and hit Bryce there and finish it off, I thought it gave us a little momentum,” Williams said. “We had some looks and … probably deserve a better fate, but that’s what happens when you play the game.”
Kody McDonald potted the game-winning goal at the 7:54 mark of the final period. The overage center crashed the net and batted in a backdoor goal after a shot from the point courtesy of Scott Walford deflected off a pair of Everett defenders and into a dangerous area.
“It’s not that we’re playing bad hockey,” Williams said, “we’re just not getting those bounces right now. You can see on their game-winning goal, they go ‘D-to-D’ and (Zack) Andrusiak gets a block on it, it hits (Connor) Dewar’s skate, goes on (Gianni Fairbrother’s) stick and to the backdoor guy (McDonald) and in. Sometimes when things aren’t going well and you’re fighting it, everything gets a little tighter.
“I was happy with our effort. I was happy with most of the game (Saturday) night and we had enough opportunities on Friday. It’s not from a lack of compete or effort from our guys right now.”
Everett tilted the ice for most of the second and third periods, out-shooting the Royals 27-13. A tripping penalty called on Dewar with 1:01 remaining put Everett down a skater with the Silvertips frantically searching for the equalizer.
Victoria overage goaltender Griffin Outhouse made 39 saves for the Royals in his 18th win of the season.
Silvertips backup goaltender Max Palaga turned away 20 of 22 shots in the loss.
Dewar said this recent stretch loosely reminded him of a losing skid during his 17-year-old season in 2016-2017 in which Everett dropped seven straight from Jan. 23 to Feb. 3. The Silvertips still won the U.S. Division by two points over Seattle, despite the rough patch.
“I think it just shows we’ll be OK,” Dewar said.
Williams confirmed 18-year-old forward Dawson Butt left for the dressing room in the first period with an injury.
Everett travels to Kennewick on Friday for a 7:05 p.m. game with the Tri-City Americans.