EVERETT — Saturday’s game between the Everett Silvertips and the Victoria Royals was more like the game fans thought they would see when the teams squared off Monday in Victoria.
The top two defensive teams in the WHL lived up to that billing Saturday as Victoria defeated Everett 3-0 before 7,150 fans at Xfinity Arena.
It stood in stark contrast to Monday’s game when Victoria defeated Everett 6-4 in a surprisingly high-scoring contest.
“I think Monday was an anomaly for both clubs,” Victoria head coach Dave Lowry said. “When you trade chances they have guys that can create offense if you spend too much time in your end. I thought tonight we did a pretty good job of not trading chances and making Everett work hard for chances.”
The Royals are the hottest team in the WHL. Saturday’s victory was their 11th straight and they haven’t lost in regulation in their last 14 contests. Victoria (37-15-2-3, 79 points) is second in both the B.C. Division and the Western Conference behind defending-WHL-champion Kelowna.
The U.S. Division-leading Silvertips (32-19-2-2, 68 points) lost their third straight for the third time this season.
“You’re not going to win a game when you don’t have a goal so we have to do that for sure,” Everett defenseman Noah Juulsen said. “I think we’re still playing good hockey here these last couple games and we just have to keep it going.”
Victoria scored twice in the second period thanks to a power-play slap shot from Jack Walker and a goal that appeared to deflect off Everett’s Spencer Gerth and was awarded to the Royals’ Tyler Soy.
Soy also tallied the final goal on an empty net with less than two seconds to play.
All three goals elicited cheers from the vociferous royal blue-clad minority that bussed down from Vancouver Island for the game.
“I thought we worked hard tonight,” Everett head coach Kevin Constantine said. “I got no problem with our (effort). We competed very, very hard tonight. Their goalie was good, so I have no problem with the effort of our team.”
That goalie was rookie Griffen Outhouse, who joins overager Coleman Vollrath in giving the Royals arguably the best netminding tandem in the league. Outhouse saved all 28 shots sent his way for his 13th win of the year. He also dropped his goals-against average to 1.81 and upped his save percentage to .940.
“The one thing we have is competition in the net,” Lowry said. “Griffen has played extremely well when he’s been given the opportunity and Coleman is a veteran — he knows what it takes to be a good goalie.”
The teams battled through a scoreless opening period as they did Monday in Victoria. The Royals’ best chance in the first period came during a two-on-one breakaway at the 11:30 mark. But Everett goalie Carter Hart made a sprawling save with his right pad to keep Victoria off the board.
The Royals appeared to take the lead at 10:18 in the second while on the power play, but it was waved off due to interfering with the goaltender.
There was no denying Victoria a minute later when Walker’s laser from the point shot past Hart for the 1-0 power-play advantage. It was the fourth goal against the Tips this week for Walker, who had a third-period hat trick on Monday.
The Royals then padded their lead at 17:03 in the second. Soy was credited with the goal when Vladimir Bobylev’s shot from the right circle was deflected into the net.
“I think they have a lot of skilled forwards, and good ‘D’ and a good goalie,” Juulsen said. “I think they’re a good team. We just have to capitalize on our chances in order to beat those guys.”
The Tips were 0-for-5 on the power play including a 5-on-3 opportunity that lasted 28 seconds in the second period.
Hart was the hard-luck loser as he recorded 32 saves on 34 shots faced.
Everett travels to Spokane on Sunday for a 5 p.m. matchup with the Chiefs.
Royals 3, Silvertips 0
Victoria 0 2 1 — 3
Everett 0 0 0 — 0
1st Period—No Scoring. Penalties—served by Winkler Evt (too many men), 1:44.
2nd Period—1, Victoria, Walker 24 (Forsberg, Hicketts), 11:21 (PP). 2, Victoria, Soy 31 (Bobylev), 17:03. Penalties—King Evt (tripping), 1:24; Ibragimov Vic (tripping), 5:37; Gagnon Vic (roughing), 7:09; Gerth Evt (inter. on goaltender), 10:10; Fonteyne Evt (charging), 13:08; Fisher Vic (cross checking), 17:40.
3rd Period—3, Victoria, Soy 32 19:58 (EN). Penalties—Davis Evt (tripping), 1:18; Forsberg Vic (slashing), 2:47; Forsberg Vic (boarding), 15:09.
Shots on Goal—Victoria 10-17-8-35. Everett 7-9-12-28.
Power Play Opportunities—Victoria 1 / 5; Everett 0 / 5.
Goalies—Victoria, Outhouse 13-3-2-1 (28 shots-28 saves). Everett, Hart 31-18-1-2 (34 shots-32 saves).
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.