EVERETT — In a tie game late in the third period, the Everett Silvertips were gifted an opportunity to take control of Friday’s game after the Tri-City Americans took a penalty.
Instead, the wheels fell off for Everett.
Parker AuCoin’s unassisted shorthanded goal with 6 minutes, 46 seconds remaining to lift Tri-City to a 4-3 win at Angel of the Winds Arena.
“I think we took it for granted,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “We didn’t compete, we didn’t battle (and) we got exactly what we deserved in that game. They were the better hockey team. They did everything from top to bottom (better than us) — they outworked us, they were more physical and we looked scared. That’s what happens.”
A backdoor snapshot goal from Jake Christiansen on a crossice pass from Connor Dewar at the 8:19 mark of the third period put Everett up 3-2.
The Americans responded, however, as Sasha Mutala parked himself in front of the Silvertips’ net and buried a feed from Kyle Olson to tie the game with 6:38 remaining.
Tri-City forward Samuel Huo took an interference penalty with 5:59 remaining to send Everett on the power play, but a turnover led to a breakaway chance for the Americans, and AuCoin buried his 21st goal of the year.
“It was a breakdown,” Williams said. “They probably had more opportunities than just that when they were shorthanded. It’s something we have to look at.”
Everett’s power play couldn’t cash in on five chances while Tri-City was 1-for-3.
In addition to winning the special teams battle, the Americans were able to bully the Silvertips around with their size and physicality.
“I thought they out-muscled us, out-willed us,” Williams said. “(They were) stronger on the walls, (had a) stronger netfront. That’s been the theme with these guys to us. We have to be ready to battle. We were just playing too soft of hockey. We weren’t competing hard enough, we weren’t hounding pucks, we weren’t winning loose puck battles. From the drop of the puck, they manhandled us all game.”
A physical first period ended with five penalties and no score. The Americans led shots on goal 17-7.
Bryce Kindopp put the Silvertips up 1-0 with his 22nd goal of the season 1:18 into the second period. The 19-year-old forward deflected a snapshot from Christiansen past Beck Warm for his 11th goal in 11 games.
Tri-City didn’t stay quiet, as Mutala whacked a puck that was sitting right on the goal line into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1 7:59 into the second period. Then Nolan Yaremko sniped a wrist shot past Everett goaltender Dustin Wolf to put the Americans up 2-1 at the 11:27 mark.
Overage forward Zack Andrusiak scored his 30th goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2 with 2:04 remaining in the period. Andrusiak, who Everett acquired Jan. 1 in a trade with the Seattle Thunderbirds, has scored three goals in five games since joining the Silvertips.
Wolf stopped 34 of 38 shot for Everett.
Warm turned away 36 of 39 shots for the Americans.
“I think from the start of the game we didn’t play our style of hockey,” Silvertips defenseman Sahvan Khaira said. “We saw a little individualism out there, and with success you take the foot off the gas. It’s a good test for us to prove it tomorrow.”
Everett travels to Victoria for a 7:05 p.m. tilt with the Royals on Saturday.