KENNEWICK — Throughout the 11-game stretch during which they never lost in regulation, the Everett Silvertips showed their ability to win close games.
Since that streak ended, however, the Tips have lost three straight, including a pair of one-goal games following Friday’s 2-1 Western Hockey League defeat at the hands of the Tri-City Americans before 4,642 fans at the Toyota Center.
Everett (28-15-2-2, 60 points) still leads the U.S. Division and faces a huge contest against the second-place Seattle Thunderbirds at 7 p.m. Saturday at Xfinity Arena.
Tri-City (21-25-2-0, 44 points) improved to 2-2 against the Silvertips this season.
The Tips haven’t scored more than two goals in any contest since their five-goal outburst against the Thunderbirds two weeks ago. In fact, Everett has just six goals in the five games since — a scoring drought that continued Friday.
Patrick Bajkov scored Everett’s only goal Friday as he cut Tri-City’s lead to 2-1 at 17:11 in the second period. Matt Fonteyne found his linemate at the top of the left circle, and Bajkov walked in for a quick wrister past Evan Sarthou.
That was the final goal of the game, however, as Everett was unable to score the equalizer despite outshooting the Americans 30-17 for the game.
Parker Wotherspoon had given the Americans a 2-0 lead at 14:40 when he tapped in his own rebound off the post to beat Carter Hart.
The Americans took the lead midway through the opening period. Parker Bowles secured the puck following a faceoff and flung it toward the net, where it bounced to Jordan Topping, who put it between Hart’s legs for a 1-0 lead at 10:43.
It took the Silvertips nearly 11 minutes to get their first shot on net, but they finished with a 12-6 shot advantage through the opening period.
Each team was whistled for two infractions and both squads went 0-for-1 on the power play in what was a disciplined and fast-moving contest.
Sarthou finished with 29 saves en route to first-star honors. Bowles claimed second-star accolades after assisting on both Tri-City goals.
Everett backup goaltender Mario Petit was scheduled to start, but Hart replaced Petit at the last moment and finished with 15 saves on 17 chances. Hart was coming off a 15-save performance in Wednesday’s CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver, B.C.
The Silvertips continue their three-game weekend with tonight’s contest against the Thunderbirds, followed by a Sunday afternoon home matchup with Spokane.
Americans 2, Silvertips 1
Everett 0 1 0—1
Tri-City 1 1 0—2
First Period—1, Tri-City, Topping 21 (Bowles), 10:43. Penalties-Stadnyk Evt (tripping), 2:46; Wotherspoon T.c (boarding), 11:53; Laurencelle Evt (embellishment), 12:17; James T.c (hooking), 12:17.
Second Period—2, Tri-City, Wotherspoon 9 (Bowles, Geekie), 14:40. 3, Everett, Bajkov 11 (Fonteyne), 17:11. Penalties-No Penalties
Third Period—No Scoring. Penalties—No Penalties
Shots on Goal—Everett 12-12-6-30. Tri-City 6-7-4-17.
Power Play Opportunities—Everett /1; Tri-City 0/1.
Goalies—Everett, Hart 27-14-1-2 (17 shots, 15 saves). Tri-City, Sarthou 18-22-2-0 (30 shots, 29 saves).