KENT — You don’t win a hockey game in the first three minutes, and the Everett Silvertips are glad for that.
Everett overcame a wretched start to earn a 3-1 win over the host Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 3 of their WHL Western Conference quarterfinal series Tuesday before 5,600 fans at ShoWare Center.
“They came hard, and it’s no different than how we came out last Friday,” Everett coach Dennis Williams said. “The crowd was getting into it and the adrenaline was into it, and what can I say? They were all over us. A great period by (goaltender Carter Hart), and I definitely thought he gave us a chance.”
Hart finished with 33 saves to earn the win for Everett as he allowed just a power-play goal in the first period before shutting out the Thunderbirds the rest of the way.
Matt Fonteyne scored twice for the Silvertips and Reece Vitelli added a goal to give the Tips a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
But it was a Fonteyne hit in Everett’s defensive zone that turned the momentum in the Tips’ favor. With the game tied 1-1 and less than a minute to go in the first period, Fonteyne leveled Seattle forward Sami Moilanen.
“I was backchecking and I saw the puck kind of squirt out,” Fonteyne said. “He’s a really skilled player, so I knew that if I didn’t step up and try and take the body he would probably make me look silly. So I just tried to stand my ground and just tried to get a piece of him.”
Moilanen skated off to the dressing room and did not return. Everett and Seattle entered the first intermission tied 1-1 despite the T-Birds holding a 24-12 shot advantage in the first 20 minutes.
“For Matt to come up and step up and make a huge hit like that really turned the game around,” Hart said. “Matt is that kind of player, and he’s a team player. All the boys kind of look up to him. He’s the captain, and there’s a reason he’s the captain, and he comes through at big moments.”
It was Hart’s play in the opening period that kept Everett in the game as he finished with 23 saves in the frame.
“Hartsy stood on his head,” Fonteyne said. “If it wasn’t for him we could have been down two or three goals after the first, which might have put it out of reach.”
Fonteyne had given Everett the lead for good on the power play at 4:58 in the second period when he batted a rebound past Liam Hughes.
Hart stopped a shorthanded breakaway attempt by Seattle’s Donovan Neuls at 10:40 in the second period to maintain the lead.
Fonteyne’s second goal came on an empty net and iced the contest with 31 seconds to play.
“They were going hard, and I think every time we come to Seattle that’s expected,” Hart said. “They feed off the home crowd, and they play a physical game and they played hard to start. I think after that first period we came out flying in the second and third and kind of retaliated back, and really took it to them the rest of the game.”
Nolan Volcan gave Seattle an early 1-0 lead when he stashed a loose puck into a wide-open net from the top of the crease at 1:38. It came on a power play after Everett defenseman Ondrej Vala took a quick penalty just 62 seconds into the game.
Everett’s Reece Vitelli tipped in a point shot from Gianni Fairbrother at 8:56 to tie the game 1-1.
The teams resume the series with Game 4 at 7:35 p.m. Friday at ShoWare Center.
Silvertips 3, Thunderbirds 1
Everett 1 1 1 – 3
Seattle 1 0 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Seattle, Volcan 1 (Neuls, Strand), 1:38 (PP). 2, Everett, Vitelli 1 (Fairbrother, Fasko-Rudas), 8:56. Penalties-Vala Evt (interference), 1:02; Hart Evt (10-minute misconduct), 13:45; Richards Evt (roughing, roughing), 13:45; Strand Sea (roughing), 13:45; Tyszka Sea (high sticking), 16:19; Dewar Evt (roughing), 18:21; Ottenbreit Sea (roughing), 18:21.
2nd Period-3, Everett, Fonteyne 1 (Christiansen, Wylie), 4:58 (PP). Penalties-Dewar Evt (roughing), 2:51; Ottenbreit Sea (roughing), 2:51; Strand Sea (tripping), 3:08; Ottenbreit Sea (checking to the head), 10:02; Sharp Evt (roughing), 16:41.
3rd Period-4, Everett, Fonteyne 2 (Dewar), 19:29 (EN). Penalties-Strand Sea (tripping), 3:39; Ottenbreit Sea (cross checking), 5:10; Wedman Sea (10-minute misconduct), 5:10; Kindopp Evt (checking to the head), 6:59.
Shots on Goal-Everett 12-14-11-37. Seattle 24-7-3-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Everett 1 / 5; Seattle 1 / 4.
Goalies-Everett, Hart (34 shots-33 saves). Seattle, Hughes (36 shots-34 saves).