EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips came to Angel of the Winds Arena Friday for the final time this season with their bags literally packed.
And whether the journey lasts one more game or two more weeks, the important thing for Everett is that it is continuing.
The Tips extended the WHL championship series with a 6-3 win over the Swift Current Broncos in Game 5 before 6,628 fans at Angel of the Winds Arena.
“I thought our guys were resilient,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “It’s something we’ve talked about all year with our group. I thought the effort was there and the execution was there. It was a desperate hockey game for our club and that was something we stressed.”
Swift Current leads the best-of-seven series 3-2. The series now returns to Saskatchewan for Game 6 on Sunday evening. If necessary, Game 7 would be Monday in Swift Current.
The winner of the series begins Memorial Cup play next Saturday in Regina.
“Our lives were on the line and our backs were to the wall,” said Everett forward Riley Sutter, who had a goal and two assists en route to first star honors. “We responded well this game and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
The Tips never trailed Friday and scored four times in the third period to break a 2-2 tie after 40 minutes.
“We tried not to change our game,” Everett captain Matt Fonteyne said. “We went into the locker room with the mindset that it’s just another period. We’ve played 100 games already this year and we couldn’t overthink it. (Sean Richards) did a good job getting us the lead and Riley did a good job extending it.”
Richards got the scoring started at 4:48 in the third when he won a puck battle in the neutral zone, skated in and fired a quick wrister past Stuart Skinner from the left circle.
Less than two minutes later, a Swift Current turnover wound up on Sutter’s stick, and he roofed a wrister from the slot over Skinner’s shoulder for a 4-2 lead at 6:09.
Those two goals came after Swift Current’s Giorgio Estephan had nearly given the Broncos the lead when he rang a shot off the right post.
Noah King drew the Broncos back within a goal at 4-3 when he buried a behind-the-net feed from Matteo Gennaro at 12:51.
But Everett’s Connor Dewar sealed it with two empty-netters at 18:20 and 19:32.
Dewar finished with two goals an assist while Sutter had a goal and two assists.
The Tips took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Glenn Gawdin drew the Broncos even at 6:37 in the second when Colby Sissons found him all alone in front of the net. Gawdin waited out Carter Hart and beat him glove side for his second goal of the game that made it a 2-2 game.
It remained 2-2 through the second period.
Everett took the lead on its revamped power play’s second unit. Dewar secured the puck behind the net and fed Wyatte Wylie for a quick wrister in the slot at 6:19 in the first period for the early 1-0 advantage.
The Tips pushed it to 2-0 at 16:07. Martin Fasko-Rudas created a turnover in the neutral zone and fed the puck to Matt Fonteyne. The Everett captain deftly maneuvered through a pair Swift Current defensemen and beat Skinner between the legs for a two-goal Everett advantage.
“I think Everett was playing desperate and that’s what led to their chances,” Gawdin said. “We had a couple turnovers and that’s what cost us. Normally the team that makes the most mistakes and has the most turnovers loses the game.”
The Broncos got one back on the power play at 17:50 when Gawdin redirected an Estephan feed at the left post past Hart to make it 2-1.
Both teams finished 1-for-3 on the power play. Hart finished with 21 saves to earn the win in net. Skinner finished with 34 saves in the defeat.
Game 6 begins at 6 p.m. Sunday.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.
Silvertips 6, Broncos 3
Swift Current 1 1 1 — 3
Everett 2 0 4 — 6
1st Period—1, Everett, Wylie 2 (Dewar, Sutter), 6:19 (PP). 2, Everett, Fonteyne 9 (Fasko-Rudas, Bajkov), 16:07. 3, Swift Current, Gawdin 13 (Estephan, Heponiemi), 17:50 (PP). Penalties—Gawdin Sc (tripping), 4:46; Wylie Evt (cross checking), 13:46; Dewar Evt (high sticking), 17:15; Gawdin Sc (delay of game), 19:47; Gennaro Sc (high sticking), 20:00; Pilon Evt (high sticking), 20:00.
2nd Period—4, Swift Current, Gawdin 14 (Sissons), 6:37. Penalties—Bajkov Evt (cross checking), 16:21.
3rd Period—5, Everett, Richards 4 4:48. 6, Everett, Sutter 9 6:09. 7, Swift Current, King 1 (Gennaro, Malenstyn), 12:51. 8, Everett, Dewar 11 (Sutter, Pilon), 18:20 (EN). 9, Everett, Dewar 12 (Vala), 19:31 (EN). Penalties—Fyten Sc (high sticking), 8:35.
Shots on Goal—Swift Current 8-7-9-24. Everett 13-16-11-40.
Power Play Opportunities—Swift Current 1 / 3; Everett 1 / 3.
Goalies—Swift Current, Skinner (38 shots-34 saves). Everett, Hart (24 shots-21 saves).