PORTLAND, Ore. — The Everett Silvertips found themselves in their typical position in these playoffs Friday night: overtime. But in this instance the bounce didn’t go Everett’s way in the extra period.
Blake Heinrich scored courtesy of a deflected pass to give the Portland Winterhawks a 2-1 overtime victory over Everett in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series at Memorial Coliseum.
Everett gave itself every chance to even its series with Portland, and had the Tips capitalized on their many first-period scoring opportunities they might be headed home for Game 5 tied.
Instead, Everett trails 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and faces a must-win game at home Sunday.
“I thought we played better than (Thursday night’s 5-3 loss in Game 3) in that we played to the style we need to play for longer,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said following Everett’s fifth overtime contest in 10 playoff games. “(Thursday) we were fine for 30 minutes and we just self destructed. Today we didn’t, we just kept going.
“I thought it was a really good first period,” Constantine continued. “We needed to score on some of those chances we had in the first, we needed to get a lead. That hurt us. We played very good, but not scoring on some of those chances hurt us. But we hung in there and had our chances.”
Chase De Leo scored in regulation and Adin Hill made 29 saves in net for Portland.
Ben Betker scored the lone goal for Everett. Carter Hart made 29 saves in net for the Tips.
“I thought some guys battled for 60 minutes,” Betker said. “But it doesn’t matter what I have to say, we just didn’t get the job done again.
“We had more guys play for the whole 60 tonight, I thought our forecheck was better, for the most part our D’s breakouts were good,” Betker added. “There was some improvement.”
While the Tips played much better than in Thursday’s game, when Everett was severely outshot and trailed 5-0 late in the third period, they didn’t receive the benefit of fortune in overtime. On the winning goal, Portland’s Nicolas Petan tried to force a pass through the defense from the right point. The puck was deflected by the Tips, but it fell right into the path of a wide-open Heinrich pinching toward goal from his defensive position. Heinrich swept a backhander past Hart 5 minutes, 40 seconds into OT to end the game.
“We have to have that guy, there’s no excuse for that,” Betker said. “You have to have your guy in your own end.”
The overtime game meant yet another long night for Everett’s overworked defense. Injuries have forced the Tips to lean heavily on just four defensemen throughout the series, and Constantine thought it caught up the Everett on Friday.
“Middle of the third period on I think we really ran out of gas,” Constantine said. “That’s too much to ask from those D. It’s not fair to ask a 15-year-old (Jantzen Leslie) to do that. Jantzen is doing fine, but we don’t want to put him out there in a critical situation too much, so we’re trying to monitor his ice time. We’re just asking a lot from those top four D and I thought we got fatigued as it went on. (The Winterhawks) started spending more and more time in our end as the game went along. But either team could have won during that stretch. I thought we played a good hockey game.”
Everett played a strong first period, creating more legitimate scoring chances in the first five minutes than it had the entire of Game 3, but the Tips received no reward. Nikita Scherbak pinged the inside of the post, Matt Fonteyne was denied by Hill on a short-handed breakaway, and Hill made two good saves on rebounds during an Everett power play as it remained scoreless headed into the second.
Portland then opened the scoring early in the second. A bad turnover deep in Everett’s zone gave De Leo a free run at goal, and De Leo put a shot into the top corner to make it 1-0 at 1:15.
Everett tied it at 12:54 thanks to a fortunate deflection. Betker took a shot from the left point with no teammates in front, but the puck deflected off Portland defenseman Josh Hanson and past a wrong-footed Hill to make it 1-1.
Hart was then called into play late in the period when there was a big scramble in front of the Everett net, with the Winterhawks beginning to celebrate at one point. However, Hart somehow kept the puck out with a series of stops, and it remained tied going into the third.
The third period saw chances at both ends, but no pucks in the net. Portland had the bulk of the chances, particularly early in the period as Hart had to be sharp. Then when Everett had its looks Ivan Nikolishin put a shot over with Hill down, and Hill dived to block off a chance at the post.
Everett was once again without winger Dawson Leedahl. Leedahl returned from a five-game injury absence in Thursday’s Game 3. However, he did not play in the third period and was scratched again Friday. … With Leedahl out, Nikolishin took his place on the left side of the Saskatoon Platoon line along with Kohl Bauml and Carson Stadnyk. … Everett also remained without defensmen Noah Juulsen and Tristen Pfeifer because of injuries. … Tips winger Jake Mykitiuk left the game in the third period and did not return.
Winterhawks 2, Silvertips 1 (OT)
Everett 0 1 0 0 — 1
Portland 0 1 0 1 — 2
First Period—no goals.. Penalties—Laurencelle, Everett (holding), 7:13; Heinrich, Portland (holding), 13:46; Skrumeda, Everett (hooking), 18:25.
Second Period—1, Portland, De Leo 3, 1:15. 2, Everett, Betker 1 (Wharrie, Mykitiuk), 12:54. Penalties—MacDonald, Everett (tripping), 14:23; Heinrich, Portland (holding), 17:08.
Third Period—no goals. Penalties—none.
Overtime—3, Portland, Heinrich 3 (Petan, Bjorkstrand), 5:40. Penalties—none.
Shots on goal—Everett 13-12-5-0—30. Portland 7-8-12-4—31. Power-play opportunities—Everett 0 of 2. Portland 0 of 3.
Goalies—Everett, Hart 5-5 (31 shots, 29 saves). Portland, Hill 7-3 (30 shots, 29 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.