EVERETT — Fans of the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds got an early March taste of the playoffs Saturday.
A sellout crowd of 8,319 fans on “Navy Night” saw the Silvertips prevail 2-1 in overtime at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Connor Dewar deflected in Patrick Bajkov’s power-play shot for the game-winner at 2:57 in overtime to give the Tips their second consecutive victory over Seattle and their sixth win in their past seven games.
“Before I even went out there Patty (Bajkov) told me if he gets a decent look he’s going to shovel it on net and try to get the deflection or rebound for me,” Dewar said.
The power-play opportunity came after Seattle’s Matthew Wedman was penalized for slashing after he knocked Bajkov’s stick from his hands.
“Good for our power-play unit,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “We had some good looks early on in it. They take an undisciplined penalty and we made them pay for it, and that’s what your power play needs to do this time of year. You have to take advantage of other teams’ mistakes. It took us five (power plays) to get one (goal), but it was a big one.”
It was the fourth game in the past five meetings between the two rivals that saw the outcome decided in overtime or a shootout. Seven of the nine contests have been one-goal games. The teams face off once more in Kent on March 10.
“I think it’s part of the rivalry,” Dewar said. “Going there, playing in front of a sold-out crowd is always fun, and I’m sure it’s fun for them to come here and play in front of a sold-out crowd too.”
It was Dewar’s second-straight game-winner after the third-year forward broke a 2-2 tie and later added an insurance goal in Everett’s 4-2 win over Kelowna Friday.
“Growing up that’s just the goal you want to score as a little kid,” Dewar said. “I’m just lucky enough to be the guy to score it.”
The U.S. Division-leading Tips (43-18-2-3, 91 points) maintained their eight-point division lead over Portland while upping their conference lead over Kelowna to nine points.
Everett led 1-0 after one period, but the T-birds tied it at 13:54 in the second. Noah Philp’s wrister from the left circle beat Carter Hart to tie the game 1-1.
That’s how it remained through the remainder of the second and the entirety of the third. The Tips hit a post at 12:30 in the third for their best chance in the frame.
The Tips initially took 1-0 lead at 7:08 in the first period. Matt Fonteyne carried the puck into the Seattle zone and found Bajkov at the top of the crease. Bajkov redirected the puck past Liam Hughes and became the fourth Silvertip to reach the 30-goal plateau this season.
Bajkov finished with a goal and an assist while Fonteyne assisted both goals.
“This time of year you need your best players scoring,” Williams said. “You need your best players contributing, and so far this weekend our top two lines have been playing well.”
Hart saved 17 of 18 shots while Hughes recorded 44 stops.
Everett held just a 19-17 shot advantage through two periods, but the Tips outshot the T-birds 27-1 in the third period and overtime combined.
“I thought the first 10 minutes we dominated and then we kind of let off a bit there for the latter half of the first and the second,” Williams said. “And then in the third and overtime we really elevated and separated ourselves.”
The Tips finished 1-for-5 on the power play, but tallied the only one they needed. The T-birds were 0-for-2 on the man advantage.
Everett plays the Vancouver Giants at 2 p.m. Sunday at Langley Events Centre.
Silvertips 2, Thunderbirds 1, OT
Seattle 0 1 0 0 — 1
Everett 1 0 0 1 — 2
1st Period—1, Everett, Bajkov 30 (Fonteyne, Richards), 7:08. Penalties—Fasko-Rudas Evt (interference), 9:10.
2nd Period—2, Seattle, Philp 14 (Andrusiak, Ottenbreit), 13:54. Penalties—Hamaliuk Sea (tripping), 0:40; Wylie Evt (embellishment), 0:40; Williams Sea (slashing), 14:50; Harsch Sea (tripping), 18:24; Sutter Evt (cross checking), 19:10.
3rd Period—No Scoring. Penalties—Harsch Sea (interference), 6:18; Malukhin Sea (roughing), 9:49; O’Rourke Evt (roughing), 9:49; Williams Sea (slashing), 12:33.
OT Period—3, Everett, Dewar 35 (Bajkov, Fonteyne), 2:57 (PP). Penalties—Wedman Sea (slashing), 1:48.
Shots on Goal—Seattle 7-10-1-0-18. Everett 8-11-20-7-46.
Power Play Opportunities—Seattle 0 / 2; Everett 1 / 5.
Goalies—Seattle, Hughes 12-10-5-1 (46 shots-44 saves). Everett, Hart 28-4-1-3 (18 shots-17 saves).