EVERETT — Expected to be one of the Everett Silvertips’ top strengths, the goaltending position has instead been a revolving door so far this season.
On Wednesday it was 15-year-old Blake Lyda’s turn between the pipes and the 2017 fourth-round bantam pick saved 32 of 35 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss before 2,957 fans at Xfinity Arena.
“Not too many 15-year-olds can step into a game like that with that type of offense and I thought he looked pretty calm and cool,” head coach Dennis Williams said. “That was a great effort by him and it’s something we can definitely build off and gain confidence from.”
Jordan Topping potted the game-winner 1:14 into overtime when he skated in from the left circle and deflected a puck past Lyda to claim the win for Tri-City (7-4-0, 14 points).
“It’s unfortunate that went in, but it’s good to build on that,” Lyda said.
Everett fell to 4-7-1 with nine points.
Called up midway through Everett’s Central Division road trip last week, Lyda became the fifth goalie to play for Everett this year, and the fourth 15-year-old netminder to debut as an affiliate player in franchise history. Per WHL rules, players under the age of 16 are permitted to play five regular-season games before their midget seasons conclude.
“It was nice to get the call today,” Lyda said. “It’s hard to describe. It was a crazy feeling.”
Lyda’s opportunity arose out of the ill-timed mononucleosis diagnosis of Carter Hart and the continued rehabilitation of presumed backup Dustin Wolf from offseason hip surgery. On Wednesday Lyda spelled Dorrin Luding, who has played the bulk of the minutes in goal.
“When I told him this morning — I didn’t want to tell him last night because I wanted him to sleep — but he came out and was calm, cool and collect(ed),” Williams said. “I thought he fought a few pucks early on which is to be expected, but it’s not easy when you get thrown in there as that young of a hockey player.”
Everett took a 1-0 lead after two periods, but it didn’t last.
Kyle Olson tied the game at 7:09 in the third when his wrister from the slot got through Lyda and dribbled into the net.
Less than two minutes later with Tri-City already on the power play, Lyda was assessed a delay of game penalty and Bryce Kindopp joined Orrin Centazzo in the box. Twenty-four seconds after that, Juuso Valimaki used a perfect screen from Michael Rasmussen to snipe the go-ahead goal and give the Americans a 2-1 lead.
But Matt Fonteyne tied the game at 12:37 on another power-play goal when his shot from the left point beat Patrick Dea to make it 2-2.
The game was scoreless for the first 36 minutes.
Connor Dewar nearly broke up the scoreless tie at 6:59 in the second during a two-on-one with Riley Sutter. But Dea snatched Dewar’s shot out of the air at point-blank range to preserve the shutout.
The Tips struggled on the power play as they came up empty on their first four chances. But they received a 5-on-3 chance when Nolan Yaremko joined Topping in the box at 15:24.
Everett didn’t wait long to capitalize. Patrick Bajkov’s shot deflected off a Tri-City defenseman and trickled past Dea for a 1-0 lead.
Lyda was tested early as the Americans tallied eight of the game’s first 11 shots. But the Tips got the game’s first power play and, though they came up empty, held a 15-10 shot advantage after a scoreless opening period.
“Until the TV timeout in the first I thought we were a little sluggish and I thought they took it to us for the first 15 minutes,” Williams said. “Then after the TV timeout I thought from that point on we came out pretty strong.”
Everett finished with a 48-35 shot advantage. Dea recorded 46 saves for the Americans.
Fonteyne and Bajkov each had a goal and an assist, and Kevin Davis assisted both Everett goals.
Valimaki had a goal and an assist while Dylan Coghlan tallied two helpers for Tri-City.
The Tips play host to Moose Jaw on Friday. The puck drops at 7:35 p.m. at Xfinity Arena.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.
Americans 3, Silvertips 2 (OT)
Tri-City 0 0 2 1 — 3
Everett 0 1 1 0 — 2
1st Period—No Scoring. Penalties—Krebs Tc (hooking), 16:53; Rasmussen Tc (cross checking), 19:45.
2nd Period—1, Everett, Bajkov 5 (Fonteyne, Davis), 16:18 (PP). Penalties—Johnson Tc (hooking), 7:28; Topping Tc (boarding), 14:19; Rasmussen Tc (10-minute misconduct), 14:57; Yaremko Tc (slew-footing, slew-footing), 15:24.
3rd Period—2, Tri-City, Olson 1 (Välimäki), 7:09. 3, Tri-City, Välimäki 2 (Geekie, Coghlan), 8:56 (PP). 4, Everett, Fonteyne 7 (Bajkov, Davis), 12:47 (PP). Penalties—Sutter Evt (hooking), 2:46; Centazzo Evt (slashing), 7:51; Lyda Evt (delay of game), 8:32; served by Krebs Tc (bench), 9:15; Kalinichenko Tc (tripping), 11:33.
OT Period—5, Tri-City, Topping 6 (Coghlan), 1:14. Penalties—No Penalties
Shots on Goal—Tri-City 10-9-15-1-35. Everett 15-19-14-0-48.
Power Play Opportunities—Tri-City 1 / 3; Everett 2 / 8.
Goalies—Tri-City, Dea 3-2-0-0 (48 shots-46 saves). Everett, Lyda 0-0-1-0 (35 shots-32 saves).