KELOWNA, British Columbia — The Everett Silvertips are back on top of the Western Conference.
The Silvertips held on for a 3-2 win over the Kelowna Rockets Friday to leapfrog Kelowna for the top overall spot in the conference before 5,230 fans at Prospera Place.
It was also a historic night as overage forward Patrick Bajkov broke Zach Hamill’s franchise points record with a power-play goal at the end of the opening period.
Bajkov added an assist and now has 264 points in his WHL career.
“It was a response game for us after what we thought was a lackluster 40 minutes out of 60 (Wednesday) in Portland,” Everett assistant coach Mitch Love said in a post-game interview on 1380 KRKO-AM.
“I thought our guys just played with more energy,” Love continued. “There were times and spurts in this game when we sat back and spent some time in our own end, but we kept the pucks to the outside, Carter (Hart) made the saves he had to make when he was challenged and it was a nice road effort by our group.”
The Tips (33-17-1-2, 69 points) scored a power-play goal in each period and never trailed.
The Rockets (32-15-3-1, 68 points) scored twice in the final 11 minutes to make the game close, but were unable to tally the equalizer.
Bajkov broke Hamill’s record when he scored on a power-play wrister from the right circle at 19:49 in the opening period.
The goal also gave Everett a 1-0 lead.
Connor Dewar used a screen to tally Everett’s second power play at 10:08 in the second period. Everett took the 2-0 lead into the third.
Bryce Kindopp then scored off a rebound of Jake Christiansen’s shot at 8:32 in the third to push Everett’s lead to 3-0.
But then the Rockets went to work.
On the next shift Kyle Topping scored off a centering pass from Kole Lind to put the Rockets on the board.
Then Carsen Twarynski drew the Rockets within one at 3-2 at 18:34 in the third with an extra attacker on the ice for Kelowna.
But the Rockets were unable to score the tying goal in the finals seconds as Hart made a key save on Kelowna’s Dillon Dube late in the game. The two were teammates on Team Canada’s gold medal-winning squad at the World Junior Championship last month.
Kevin Davis had two assists for Everett while Lind had a pair for Kelowna.
Hart finished with 29 saves as Kelowna outshot Everett 31-27.
Everett is now 4-0-1 in its last five games at Kelowna. The teams conclude their weekend home-and-home tonight beginning at 7:05 p.m. at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Silvertips 3, Rockets 2
Everett 1 1 1 — 3
Kelowna 0 0 2 — 2
1st Period—1, Everett, Bajkov 24 (Davis, Sutter), 19:49 (PP). Penalties—Christiansen Evt (hooking), 13:02; Lind Kel (hooking), 17:39; Dube Kel (holding), 19:28.
2nd Period—2, Everett, Dewar 28 (Davis, Bajkov), 10:08 (PP). Penalties—Wylie Evt (tripping), 3:14; Ballhorn Kel (boarding), 9:41.
3rd Period—3, Everett, Kindopp 15 (Christiansen, Hart), 8:32 (PP). 4, Kelowna, Topping 18 (Lind), 9:00. 5, Kelowna, Twarynski 33 (Lind, Foote), 18:34. Penalties—Ballhorn Kel (high sticking), 6:36; Twarynski Kel (charging), 9:11; Sutter Evt (roughing), 10:29; Dewar Evt (roughing), 19:13; Lind Kel (roughing), 19:13.
Shots on Goal—Everett 8-3-16-27. Kelowna 9-10-12-31.
Power Play Opportunities—Everett 3/5; Kelowna 0/3.
Goalies—Everett, Hart 20-4-0-2 (31 shots-29 saves). Kelowna, Salmond 6-6-0-1 (27 shots-24 saves).