KENT — You could hardly tell Bryce Kindopp just scored his first hat trick Friday when he buried a power-play goal in the third period. The 19-year-old forward just skated right to the corner and celebrated with his teammates like nothing of significance had happened.
“I don’t really know,” Kindopp said. “I blanked out a little bit.”
The Everett Silvertips’ assistant captain helped power his team to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds at ShoWare Center.
B R Y C E
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) February 2, 2019
“He’s been one of the best all year,” Silvertips coach Dennis Williams said. “He’s a silent player out there. He goes about his business.”
While the third goal was significant for Kindopp’s personal milestone, his first of the night swung the game in Everett’s favor.
After Andrej Kukuca put the Thunderbirds on top with a goal at the 14:51 mark of the second period, Seattle had a chance to pile on after Connor Dewar was sent to the penalty box for roughing at the 16:27 mark in the second period.
But Kindopp intercepted a careless pass near the blue line and roofed a backhand goal past Seattle netminder Roddy Ross for his 25th goal of the season and his team-leading fourth short-handed goal.
“When I saw him starting on that shorty, I didn’t think he’d pull it backhand,” Williams said. “He gave a little head fake and went backhand. I haven’t seen that in his shootout moves too much, so (that’s) something he should continue to do more often.
“If you could have seen (Dewar’s) reaction in the box with Kindopp scored, because as a captain, you’re thinking, ‘OK, we’re down one. They’re on the power play. This could really go south.’ But I also think some of those situations where your guys do show some pushback, it does result in your team doing well. We were fortunate as well.”
Kindopp has potted two-thirds of Everett’s six short-handed goals this season, and that’s no accident. The Lloydminster, Alberta, native is a tenacious puck tracker and skilled in open spaces.
“He’s got sneaky speed,” Williams said. “You see Dewar go down the ice and you see that flash of it. Bryce has got that real good separation speed, and keeping that up and being able to handle those pucks and being able to move at that type of pace, that’s a real skillset in itself. A lot of the time you get going too fast and try to make that move too tight (and) you run out of space. For him to pull up at the hashmark, be able to calm the puck down and make a move, it was a big-time goal — big for us.”
Kindopp’s second goal came 26 seconds into the third period on a power play as the 19-year-old snapped a shot past Ross from the slot to put Everett up 2-1.
He potted his third goal of the night 6:42 into the third period by burying a cross-ice pass from Zack Andrusiak on the power play.
“I slid backdoor and it was great pass from Andrusiak, so I was just lucky to be there,” Kindopp said. “It was a great feeling. Just playing with great players, it helps a lot. I just had to be in the right spot.”
Kindopp was named an assistant captain after former assistant captain Sean Richards was traded to Seattle for Andrusiak on Jan. 1. Williams compared Kindopp’s leadership style to that of Matt Fonteyne, Everett’s captain last year.
“They just (lead with) their actions. They just play,” Williams said. “(He’s) not a real vocal leader. He leads by example out there, and with his approach every day in practice, it’s no coincidence it shows up in the game with how well he takes his craft.”
The Thunderbirds kept it interesting as Matthew Wedman notched a power-play goal with 11:49 remaining in the third period to cut the Silvertips’ lead to 3-2, but Dawson Butt tacked on a much-needed insurance goal and by sniping a shot from the right circle at 14:11, and Andrusiak scored against his former team for the first time at 15:23, knifing through the defense and sneaking one past Ross’ skate for his 35th goal of the season.
Dustin Wolf stopped 29 of 31 shot to earn his 32nd win of the season for Everett.
Ross turned away 33-of-38 shots for the Thunderbirds.
Everett and Seattle will cap a weekend home-and-home series on Saturday as the Silvertips host the Thunderbirds for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop at Angel of the Winds Arena.