Silvertips can’t overcome big deficit, Chiefs even series with 6-2 win

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips were riding a high following their exhilarating victory over the Spokane Chiefs in the first game of their first-round playoff series.

All it took was 20 minutes for the Tips to come crashing back down.

Spokane blitzed Everett in the first period as the Chiefs claimed Game 2 6-2 Saturday night at Xfinity Arena, evening the best-of-seven series at one game apiece.

Spokane scored four goals during a six-minute span of the first period to knock the Tips out early in this one. Perhaps more consequentially for the long-term prospects for the series, Everett also lost workhorse defenseman Ben Betker to an apparent arm injury during that stretch.

Adam Helewka scored twice during the first-period barrage as Spokane bounced back from Friday’s 5-1 loss in Game 1.

“We expected the push they were going to come with early in the hockey game,” Everett assistant coach Mitch Love said. “They’re a team that came here with the goal to get a split and they obviously accomplished that tonight. The start was going to be critical to that.

“We as a staff actually liked our first 10 minutes,” Love continued. “We had some chances, we just didn’t bury them. They had a few early chances and they did. I think that was the difference in the game. I think when you get a team that was as desperate as they were to get that victory tonight, all they needed was to get a couple early ones to keep the ball rolling.”

Dominic Zwerger also scored twice for Spokane, which built a 6-0 lead before Everett scored twice late to avoid a shutout. Jackson Playfair and Jason Fram scored the other goals for the Chiefs, who converted three times on the power play. Garret Hughson earned the win in goal with 24 saves.

“I think we played the right way in the first period,” Spokane coach Don Nachbaur said. “We weathered their storm early with their crowd and everything. Then we got our game going with that first goal. That was huge for our confidence and the next thing you know our power play came alive. The power-play goals were outstanding from our standpoint because (Friday) night we didn’t generate much.”

Cole MacDonald and Matt Fonteyne scored the consolation goals for Everett. Carter Hart started in goal for the Tips and stopped five of eight shots before being removed midway through the first period. Austin Lotz turned aside 16 of 19 in relief.

Blood continued to be bad between the teams as there was a steady parade to the penalty box in the third period for the second straight night.

The series now switches to Spokane for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday, with the Chiefs having wrestled away home-ice advantage by getting a split of the first two games in Everett. The Tips have won four of their past five visits to Spokane after ending an 18-game losing streak at Spokane Arena, and they’re hoping that trend continues.

“The old cliche in hockey is when you’re on the road you want to try and get a split of the first two, and if you’re the home team you want to get the first two victories,” Love said. “We didn’t do so, but hey, now we just have to go play a couple games in their building, a place we had a little bit of success this year — unlike the past — and we just have to get ready for what’s important next, and that’s Wednesday.”

The Tips will also be waiting on news about Betker. The overage defenseman and alternate captain, who plays a heavy role on Everett’s defense, was crunched into the boards midway through the first period and came away holding his arm. He left the game and did not return. Spokane led 1-0 when Betker departed, and the Chiefs scored three times in the ensuing six minutes.

However, Love stopped short of saying the loss of Betker was key to Spokane’s first-period outburst.

“I wouldn’t say so,” Love replied. “Obviously Ben is a key part of our hockey club, he plays a lot of minutes back there. You never want to lose a guys like that from your lineup. But I think our guys have to understand it’s playoff hockey, it’s just the way things go, and they have to step up and keep going. We’ll truck on and see how things go in Game 3.”

Love said Betker was scheduled to see a doctor Sunday and that more information was expected to be available Monday.

The first period was a complete disaster for Everett.

It started out all right as the Tips had the better scoring chances early, with Betker hitting the post. But then Spokane scored on its first true chance of the game. Blair Oneschuk took advantage of Tips defenseman Kevin Davis losing his stick, grinding along the boards and feeding a pass into the high slot for Playfair, who picked out the top corner to make it 1-0 at 7:15.

Betker went off injured on the following shift and the Chiefs converted on the power play shortly after. A loose puck pinballed off sticks to Zwerger in front, and Zwerger lifted the puck into the top corner to make it 2-0 at 9:33.

Spokane needed less than two more minutes to make it 3-0. Davis turned the puck over to Kailer Yamamoto, who quickly fed Helewka in front for a shot off the post and in at 11:08. That goal sent Hart to the bench in favor of Lotz.

The goalie change didn’t help the Tips. The Chiefs quickly got another power play and converted again at 13:01. Lotz couldn’t find the rebound from Fram’s shot, and Helewka eventually poked it in to make it 4-0. There was no way back for Everett from there.

Chiefs 6, Silvertips 2

Spokane 4 0 2 — 6

Everett 0 0 2 — 2

First Period—1, Spokane, Playfair 1 (Oneschuk, McAndrews), 7:15. 2, Spokane, Zwerger 1 (Bechtold, Ke. Yamamoto), 9:33 (pp). 3, Spokane, Helewka 1 (Ka. Yamamoto), 11:08. 4, Spokane, Helewka 2 (Fram, Brooks), 13:01 (pp). Penalties—Skrumeda, Everett (tripping), 8:45; MacDonald, Everett (high sticking), 11:51; Whittingman, Spokane (tripping), 17:59; Juulsen, Everett (tripping), 18:24.

Second Period—no goals. Penalties—Laurencelle, Everett (tripping), 8:08; Ka. Yamamoto, Spokane (hooking), 8:17; Juulsen, Everett (boarding), 14:27.

Third Period—5, Spokane, Zwerger 2 (Ke. Yamamoto), 3:20. 6, Spokane, Fram 1 (Whittingham, Helewka), 11:06 (pp). 7, Everett, MacDonald 1 (Nikolishin, Scherbak), 14:21. 8, Everett, Fonteyne 1 (Bauml, Laurencelle), 15:40 (pp). Penalties—Low, Everett (roughing), 4:02; Bechtold, Spokane (interference), 4:38; Ka. Yamamoto, Spokane (roughing), 4:47; Nikolishin, Everett (roughing), 4:47; Helewka, Spokane (goaltender interference), 5:48; Brooks, Spokane (hooking), 7:14; Leedahl, Everett (hooking-delay of game), 7:18; Aasman, Everett (high sticking), 11:38; Laday, Spokane (roughing), 14:21; Ke. Yamamoto, Spokane (roughing), 14:21; Nikolishin, Everett (roughing), 14:21; Chairf, Spokane (slashing), 16:51; Henderson, Spokane (roughing-roughing), 20:00; McAndrews, Spokane (roughing), 20:00; Oneschuk, Spokane (roughing-roughing), 20:00; Low, Everett (roughing), 20:00; Mykitiuk, Everett (roughing-roughing), 20:00; Wharrie, Everett (roughing-roughing), 20:00.

Shots on goal—Spokane 15-10-12—37. Everett 12-12-7—31. Power-play opportunities—Spokane 3 of 9. Everett 1 of 7.

Goalies—Spokane, Hughson 1-1 (31 shots, 29 saves). Everett, Hart 1-1 (8 shots, 5 saves), Lotz (19 shots, 16 saves).


Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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