EVERETT — No Everett Silvertips player has traveled more miles in the past week than overage forward Dominic Zwerger.
Jet lag wasn’t an issue for the Austrian as Zwerger tallied his second straight two-point game as the Tips defeated the Vancouver Giants 4-1 before 4,602 fans Wednesday at Xfinity Arena.
The victory avenged Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Giants in Langley, B.C. — a game in which Zwerger scored twice.
“Last night was a rusty game after a week off,” said Zwerger, who flew 5,300 miles each way to celebrate the holidays with his family in Austria. “Now we got back into the rhythm and I think we played a pretty good game tonight.”
With the win the Silvertips (25-4-6-0, 56 points) took sole possession of first place in the Western Conference. Vancouver fell to 14-19-1-2 with 31 points and saw its three-game winning streak snapped.
On Wednesday Zwerger assisted Everett’s first goal and sealed the game with a back-handed empty-netter from the blue line at 17:50 in the third period as the Silvertips improved to 4-0-0-1 against Vancouver this season. The teams meet once more this season when the Giants return to Xfinity Arena on Feb. 4.
“It’s always good to get it going with a win after a loss,” Zwerger said. “It was a bounce-back game and I think we responded pretty well.”
Zwerger, who had a 10-game point streak earlier in the season, now has a nine-game streak going. Defenseman Kevin Davis added a first period assist to run his current point streak to 10 games and tie Zwerger for the longest streak on the season. Patrick Bajkov and Graham Millar each had a goal and an assist for the Silvertips.
With Noah Juulsen away with Team Canada at World Juniors, Davis had been stationed on the top pair with Lucas Skrumeda. On Wednesday Davis was back in the second pairing alongside Jake Christiansen.
“Vancouver has some good forwards,” head coach Kevin Constantine said. “(Vancouver) has got two lines of guys that can play pretty good so you’ve got to be able to throw two sets of ‘D’ out there than can handle their top line. Sometimes it’s better to kind of spread those guys out a little bit.”
It was on Wednesday. The Tips held the Giants to only one goal on 23 shots a night after surrendering five.
“On ‘D’ our gap was not as good as it can be (on Tuesday),” Davis said. “So we talked about that and I think we adjust pretty good. That was a big topic in our meetings (Wednesday) morning.”
The Tips never trailed as they took a 2-0 lead into the second period. Everett extended the lead on the power play when Eetu Tuulola tipped Skrumeda’s point shot past Vancouver goalie Ryan Kubic at 4:55.
Vancouver got one back at 7:27 when Jeff Rayman’s wrister from the high slot beat Everett goalie Mario Petit to cut Everett’s lead to 3-1.
That’s how it remained until Zwerger’s empty-netter put the Giants away.
Davis and Zwerger extended their respective point streaks as Bajkov found the net for a 1-0 lead at 5:34. Zwerger set up the play when he dug the puck out of the corner and found Davis at the top of the right circle. Davis gave it back to Zwerger, who skated into the high slot before he spotted Bajkov for the one-timer on a tough angle from the left of the net.
The Tips made it 2-0 when Millar tipped in Ian Walker’s point shot at 14:12. It was the first career WHL point for Walker, a rookie defenseman from Vancouver, B.C.
“Both teams had spurts of dominating the first period,” Constantine said. “It was nice to get our goals and then we settled in and played pretty good.”
Petit made a pair of difficult saves at the end of Vancouver’s first power play midway through the first period to keep the shutout intact. He also stoned Vancouver star Tyler Benson on a short-handed breakaway attempt in the second period.
Petit finished with 22 saves on 23 shots to improve to 8-1-2-0 on the season.
Everett returns to action Friday when they play host to Prince George at 7:35 p.m.
Silvertips 4, Giants 1
Vancouver 0 1 0 — 1
Everett 2 1 1 — 4
1st Period—1, Everett, Bajkov 18 (Zwerger, Davis), 5:34. 2, Everett, Millar 9 (Walker, Bajkov), 14:12. Penalties—Zwerger Evt (interference), 8:30; Rayman Van (interference), 14:55.
2nd Period—3, Everett, Tuulola 10 (Skrumeda, Millar), 3:18 (PP). 4, Vancouver, Rayman 3 (Dhaliwal, Benson), 7:27. Penalties—Flaman Van (delay of game), 2:10; Rattie Van (roughing), 3:29; Rattie Van (10-minute misconduct), 5:55; Rayman Van (interference), 11:20; Tuulola Evt (hooking), 15:45; Benson Van (roughing), 17:21; Davis Evt (roughing), 17:21; Christiansen Evt (holding), 18:32.
3rd Period—5, Everett, Zwerger 16 17:50 (EN). Penalties—Dhaliwal Van (10-minute misconduct), 19:44; Rattie Van (checking to the head, major-fighting), 19:44; Dewar Evt (major-fighting), 19:44; DeRoose Van (10-minute misconduct), 19:51; Kindopp Evt (10-minute misconduct), 19:51.
Shots on Goal—Vancouver 7-8-8-23. Everett 15-13-6-34.
Power Play Opportunities—Vancouver 0 / 3; Everett 1 / 5.
Goalies—Vancouver, Kubic 12-15-1-2 (33 shots-30 saves). Everett, Petit 8-1-2-0 (23 shots-22 saves).
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