Hart blanks Chiefs, Silvertips earn 7th win in a row

The star goaltender stops 39 shots for his 24th career shutout in Everett’s 3-0 victory over Spokane.

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips continue to find ways to win.

Despite being severely out-chanced throughout the contest, the Silvertips defeated the visiting Spokane Chiefs 3-0 before 4,173 fans Friday at Xfinity Arena.

“I was disappointed with our effort, disappointed with our speed, disappointed with our compete (level),” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “You’re going to have those games, but I told the guys that good teams find a way to win them. Did we deserve to win? When you win you still want to take what you can and build off it, and at the same time we have to be a lot sharper and a lot better, and I think we got a little ahead of ourselves and forgot we had a really good opponent over there.”

The difference, once again, was Everett goaltender Carter Hart. The three-time defending WHL Goaltender of the Week saved 13 shots in each period and finished with 39 saves for his 24th career shutout. He is now two short of the WHL career record set by Vancouver’s Tyson Sexsmith.

“That’s what a great player in the league does,” Williams said. “He’s not only the best goalie, but he’s got to be one of the best players I’ve seen, period. He’s bringing it every night. He’s dialed in, he’s zoned in and he’s playing with a lot of confidence, which gives us a lot of confidence too.”

It was the seventh straight win for the Tips (17-12-1-1, 36 points) as they moved three points in front of Spokane (15-11-1-2, 33 points) for second place in the U.S. Division.

Spokane had won three of four entering the contest and outshot the Tips 39-20 in the game.

It didn’t matter as the Tips scored three times in the final 21 minutes.

Patrick Bajkov had a goal and an assist, while linemates Sean Richards and Matt Fonteyne each added goals to provide the Everett offense.

The Tips killed off all five penalties to keep the Chiefs off the scoreboard.

“(The Chiefs) have some pretty top-end guys on their team and I think our penalty kill really came through tonight,” Hart said. “It’s been really good all year and it just goes to show with all the work we put in on our (penalty kill) with Coach (Mitch) Love and everyone else that buys in. I think the key to our PK is guys just competing and buying in.”

The Tips led 1-0 through two periods and took advantage of some good fortune to stretch their lead in the third. Bajkov’s pass to Fonteyne went wide. Fonteyne corralled it behind the net and looked to throw it back into the slot. However, his attempt bounced off the leg of Spokane goalie Declan Hobbs and into the net for a 2-0 advantage a minute into the third period.

Bajkov sealed the game with an empty-netter at 17:35. His long wrister from the Everett defensive zone bounced off the post and in.

The game was scoreless for nearly two periods. Everett finally broke the deadlock in the final minute of the second. Richards collected the puck along the right half-wall, circled through the neutral zone and roofed a wrister from a sharp angle past Hobbs for a 1-0 lead at 19:12.

“I just kind of saw an opening last-minute there by the goalie so I just kind of threw it on net and hoped for the best,” Richards said.

The goal was Richards’ 12th of the season. The 19-year-old forward has blossomed since joining Fonteyne and Bajkov on the top line, and is now third on the team in goals and fourth in points with 25.

“They bring out a lot in my game,” Richards said. “They always know what to do and they always seem to find me.”

Richards’ goal was just Everett’s 11th shot of the game. Spokane held a 26-11 shot advantage through two periods, but the Tips kept the Chiefs off the scoreboard by killing two power plays in the frame.

“Richey’s goal there from the wall was pretty big for us,” Hart said. “The momentum you get from a goal at the end of a period is definitely huge for a team, and I think for us right now we’re trying to ride as much momentum as we can.”

Spokane outshot the Silvertips 13-5 through a scoreless opening period. Hart turned away several great short-handed looks from Kailer Yamamoto and Jaret Anderson-Dolan while the Tips were on the power play midway through the period.

The Silvertips play at Portland at 6 p.m. Saturday. They conclude a busy weekend Sunday with a 5:05 p.m. contest at Tri-City.

Silvertips 3, Chiefs 0

Spokane 0 0 0 — 0

Everett 0 1 2 — 3

1st Period—No Scoring. Penalties—Fischer Spo (interference), 14:43; Davis Evt (slashing), 16:25; Anderson-Dolan Spo (major-fighting), 18:34; Wylie Evt (major-fighting), 18:34.

2nd Period—1, Everett, Richards 12 19:12. Penalties—Bajkov Evt (holding), 5:12; McKay Spo (major-fighting), 10:08; Butt Evt (major-fighting), 10:08; Wylie Evt (holding), 14:23.

3rd Period—2, Everett, Fonteyne 15 (Bajkov, Davis), 1:00. 3, Everett, Bajkov 18 (Onyebuchi), 17:35 (EN). Penalties—Onyebuchi Evt (holding), 1:27; Walker Evt (holding), 7:31; Walker Evt (cross checking), 11:35; Helgesen Spo (tripping), 13:29; Fischer Spo (kneeing), 19:00.

Shots on Goal—Spokane 13-13-13-39. Everett 5-6-9-20.

Power Play Opportunities—Spokane 0 / 5; Everett 0 / 3.

Goalies—Spokane, Hobbs 1-1-0-0 (19 shots-17 saves). Everett, Hart 12-3-0-1 (39 shots-39 saves).

A—4,173

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