EVERETT — It’s been a whirlwind of a week for Martin Fasko-Rudas.
In the span of six days, Fasko-Rudas took two intercontinental flights, penned high-school exams in his home country of Slovakia, hopped on the Seattle-Victoria clipper by himself to meet the team on Friday morning on Vancouver Island to take on the Royals.
Best yet, he capped it off with a four-goal weekend, including his first career hat trick against the Royals on Saturday.
In Everett’s final tuneup before the Western Hockey League playoffs begin Friday, the import forward potted a trio of goals to propel the Silvertips over the Victoria Royals, 5-1, at Angel of the Winds Arena in the regular-season finale.
“We’re going to have to send him home every Monday. Tell Garry Davidson to get his credit card ready,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams joked. “But that was unbelievable what he was able to do. I thought he definitely would have taken a step down tonight being the second day back. That’s normally what happens when you fly so much, that’s when it hits you. … But what a great game from him, to go out and get a hat trick.
“It’s great to see him play with that confidence as we move into Friday.”
The Silvertips (47-16-2-3) rested some of their top players, as forwards Bryce Kindopp, Zack Andrusiak, Connor Dewar and defenseman Wyatte Wylie were all scratched Saturday with their playoff position secured. Everett will play Tri-City, the first wild card in the Western Conference, in the first round.
“Maybe I’d just have to keep them out,” Williams quipped while commenting on how well the team played with its top players out. “It gave other guys opportunity to step up. Those guys play a lot of minute and they’re tired and banged up, so it was a good opportunity for us to play guys in other roles, penalty kill, power play. And I thought we played well. I thought we had a lot of jump because of it and showcase one more game before we have a good week of practice and (Tri-City) on Friday.”
Fasko-Rudas, still sleep deprived and jet lagged, pounced at that opportunity.
The Blanska Bystrica, Slovakia native, who missed Tuesday’s loss at Portland, opened the scoring with a power-play goal, knocking in a rebound after Gianni Fairbrother hammered a shot on net from the point at the 9:06 mark of the first period.
Thirty seconds into the second period, the 18-year-old winger struck again, tapping in his second goal of the night after a feed from Reece Vitelli set him up with plenty of open net to work with.
Fasko-Rudas then sent hats flying at the 7:54 mark of the second, racing down the ice for a shorthanded breakaway, which he slid in to notch his first career hat trick.
“I was excited after the third goal so I didn’t even hear (the crowd),” Fasko-Rudas said. “I was just waiting for hats.”
Fasko-Rudas is the fifth Silvertips player to score a hat trick this season, joining Dewar, Kindopp, Andrusiak and Jake Christiansen.
None of the aforementioned four players accomplished the feat after a hellish week of travel like Fasko-Rudas.
Fasko-Rudas flew out of Seattle-Tacoma airport for a connection in Amsterdam, which routed him to Vienna, where his father was there to pick him up and take him to school in Trencin, Slovakia. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was packed with school work and final exams — Fasko-Rudas said he passed— before a quick two hours with friends and family in his hometown of Banksa Bystrica before departing on Thursday morning.
He drove to Vienna, where flew to Paris for his connecting flight to Seattle and arrived in Everett on Thursday night. After that, he said he fell asleep at his billet’s house at 7:30 p.m. and woke up at 3:30 a.m. on Friday to catch the clipper to Victoria to meet the team.
“I was exhausted before the game,” Fasko-Rudas said.
Fasko-Rudas didn’t demonstrated any sluggishness in his first game back, chipping in a goal and an assist in Everett’s 3-2 shootout loss on Friday.
The number of airports he’s visited matches the number of goals he’s scored over the weekend: Four.
That’s certainly an eventful weekend.
Everett hosts Tri-City on Friday to begin the playoffs. Puck drops at 7:35 p.m.
—Former Silvertips forward Mark Liwiski scored the game-winning goal in overtime for Kelowna, which kept it season alive with a 3-2 win over Vancouver. Kamloops and Kelowna will play a play-in game on Tuesday to see which team will claim the final playoff spot in the B.C. Division.
—Dawson Butt and Jalen Price notched Everett’s other goals.
—D-Jay Jerome scored for Victoria.
—Max Palaga made 18 of 19 saves for the Silvertips. Brock Gould stopped 39 of 44 shots for the Royals.
—Fairbrother played in his 100th career game on Saturday.