EVERETT — Luke Ormsby has scored just twice since joining the Everett Silvertips in November.
But his second goal of the season came at a crucial time and it held up as the game-winner as the Everett Silvertips defeated the Victoria Royals 3-2 before a sellout crowd of 8,377 on Fan Appreciation Night at Angel of the Winds Arena.
“I’ve had a lot of time to look at video and that’s kind of where a lot of goals are getting scored nowadays,” said Ormsby, who was playing in his first game since suffering an upper body injury on Feb. 23. “Really good win on the draw there and we just funneled things to the net and I was lucky enough to bounce it in.”
With the win U.S. Division-leading Everett (46-20-2-3, 97 points) reduced its magic number to clinch back-to-back division titles. The Tips can clinch with a win or overtime loss at Victoria on Saturday or a loss by Portland in one of the Winterhawks’ final two games.
“On any night anyone can be the unsung hero for sure and going into playoffs that’s going to be important,” Ormsby said. “We’ve got the most depth I’ve seen in a team, so I think that’s really going to help us out in the long run.”
The Tips victory snapped a brief two-game losing streak that was notable for the fact it was the first time Everett had lost back-to-back games in more than two months.
“It was definitely good for our group,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “It was a tough game, another playoff game mentality and (Victoria is) a great hockey club. They’re fast and skilled, and I thought both teams battled hard for 60 minutes and it came right down to the wire.”
Wyatte Wylie and Garrett Pilon each scored, and Ondrej Vala had two assists for Everett.
Ormsby, the Snohomish County native who learned to skate at Everett’s community rink, broke the 2-2 tie at 4:50 in the third when he crashed the net and buried a rebound of Vala’s point shot. Vala’s shot came after a faceoff win by Ethan O’Rourke.
“Any time you can score a faceoff goal it’s always a plus,” Williams said. “I thought Ondrej did a nice job of putting it right on net and Luke got the rebound and buried it.”
Everett had taken a 2-1 lead into the final period, but Chaz Reddekopp fed Noah Gregor at the top of the crease at 2:48 in the third to tie the game 2-2.
“I thought we did a nice job of responding every time they scored,” Williams said. “That’s what you need this time of year.”
The Tips previously broke a 1-1 tie on the power play when Pilon roofed a wrister past Victoria goalie Griffen Outhouse from the left circle at 14:36 in the second period.
Patrick Bajkov earned an assist on the play and moved into a tie with Zach Hamill for the career franchise assist record.
Everett took a 1-0 lead at 9:34 in the first period when Connor Dewar worked the puck behind the net and found Wylie at the top of the right circle. Wylie’s slap shot through traffic beat Outhouse to give the Tips the game’s first goal.
But the Royals drew even at 18:33 when Dante Hannoun drove hard toward the end boards and flung the puck toward the net where it bounced off Carter Hart’s back and into the goal to make it 1-1.
That’s how it remained at the first intermission as Everett outshot Victoria 22-16 in the wide-open first period.
The tone for the game was set early. Less than two minutes in Victoria’s Lane Zablocki sent Everett’s Martin Fasko-Rudas head-first into the boards. Fasko-Rudas rolled over and reached for his neck. He skated off bent at the waist with help from Everett trainer Blake Draughon and did not return.
Zablocki was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct, but Everett’s power play was cut short when Sean Richards was sent to the box for roughing and the Tips did not capitalize on the man advantage.
Hart stopped 20 of 22 shots to earn the win in net. Outhouse finished with 41 saves as Everett held a 44-22 shot advantage.
The Tips were 1-for-3 on the power play while Victoria was scoreless in four chances.
Saturday’s regular-season finale begins at 7:05 p.m. at Save-On-Foods Arena in Victoria.
“We were not a happy bunch (after two straight losses) and I think we wanted revenge,” Ormsby said. “You saw that tonight. We came out hard-hitting and I think everyone bought in. That was a really big win for our team going into (tonight) and going into the big (playoff) run we’ve got coming.”
The Tips handed out their team awards following Friday night’s game. Hart was named the team MVP for the third straight season and shared the Community Relations award with Matt Fonteyne. Fonteyne also won the FIERCE Predator award and was named the Unsung Hero. Bajkov was the leading scorer, Dewar was named Most Dedicated, Wylie was named the Most Improved and Dustin Wolf was named Rookie of the Year and Scholastic Player of the Year. Wylie, Bajkov, Fonteyne, Bryce Kindopp and Jake Christiansen all won the Iron Man award for playing in every regular-season game. Earning the Distinguished Service Award were off-ice officials Dave Rose and Pete Rasmussen.
Silvertips 3, Royals 2
Victoria 1 0 1 — 2
Everett 1 1 1 — 3
1st Period—1, Everett, Wylie 6 (Dewar, Vala), 9:34. 2, Victoria, Hannoun 25 (Soy, Freadrich), 18:33. Penalties—Zablocki Vic (major-boarding, game misconduct), 1:39; Richards Evt (roughing), 5:23.
2nd Period—3, Everett, Pilon 34 (Bajkov, Fonteyne), 14:36 (PP). Penalties—Ormsby Evt (hooking), 8:04; Jensen Vic (holding), 13:45; Richards Evt (inter. on goaltender), 18:11.
3rd Period—4, Victoria, Gregor 29 (Reddekopp, Kaspick), 2:48. 5, Everett, Ormsby 2 (Vala, Gerth), 4:50. Penalties—Jensen Vic (roughing), 7:11; Dewar Evt (roughing), 7:11; Fairbrother Evt (holding), 10:20; Soy Vic (roughing), 17:22.
Shots on Goal—Victoria 16-3-3-22. Everett 22-7-15-44.
Power Play Opportunities—Victoria 0 / 4; Everett 1 / 3.
Goalies—Victoria, Outhouse 35-17-4-1 (44 shots-41 saves). Everett, Hart 30-6-1-3 (22 shots-20 saves).