Silvertips players celebrate a goal by forward Robbie Holmes (90) during the first period of a playoff game against the Chiefs on Friday in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Silvertips players celebrate a goal by forward Robbie Holmes (90) during the first period of a playoff game against the Chiefs on Friday in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Silvertips stave off elimination, beat Chiefs in Game 4

Connor Dewar scores twice as Everett wins 4-1 to cut Spokane’s series lead to 3-1.

SPOKANE — Head coach Dennis Williams means no disrespect to Robbie Holmes, but fans might not appreciate everything he brings to the Silvertips.

Holmes has found a niche on the Silvertips by mucking in the corners, winning wall battles and playing a physical, tenacious style of hockey — the plays that don’t pop out. But after two games in Spokane, Holmes has provided Everett’s fanbase something it can appreciate in flashy and timely goals.

The 19-year-old forward, who Everett acquired at the trade deadline from Regina, has scored in two consecutive games and helped lead the Silvertips to a 4-1 win over the Spokane Chiefs on Friday night at the Spokane Arena to avoid a four-game sweep. The best-of-seven series is now 3-1 in favor of Spokane.

“He’s not that guy that will go end-to-end,” Williams said of Holmes. “He’s a guy that’s going to work the walls. He’s a guy, from a coaches’ standpoint, you’ll take him wherever you go. You want him on your team, you need him on your team.

“He’s a big-time game player and he’s all business. I can tell you this, I wouldn’t want to make him too upset. He’s passionate, he plays hard and he’s fearless. I think that’s what makes him a really good hockey player.”

Holmes’ goal on Friday at 6:21 in the opening period to put Everett up 1-0 was eerily similar to his goal in Game 3. The 19-year-old winger intercepted an ambitious pass from Spokane defenseman and Devils’ prospect Ty Smith along the near boards, received the puck back from Max Patterson and tucked a snapshot in Bailey Brkin’s blocker side for his third of the playoffs.

“He does so much more than just bring the goals,” Connor Dewar said. “He’s always hitting, getting in guys’ faces all the time. He’s been our best player down the playoff stretch. It’s exciting. It’s what we expected when we picked him up at the trade deadline and he’s been a really nice piece for the team.”

Holmes is hard to miss on the ice. Not only is he a sturdy, 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, he’s rocking a full bubble cage on his helmet after being struck in the face with a puck during Game 2.

“It’s kind of getting annoying, but I have to do it,” Holmes said.

It’s impeded his comfort level, but not his confidence.

“I feel pretty good right now,” Holmes said. “My linemates are doing a pretty good job making it easy for me, same thing with our ‘D,’ they’re getting the puck up. As a team, we’re doing really well right now. It feels good to get this win.”

After Holmes’ tally, the two teams traded special-teams goals to finish the period.

Zack Andrusiak potted his sixth of the playoffs at 9:47 to double Everett’s lead. Dewar entered the offensive zone, fed Bryce Kindopp, who spun a pass to Andrusiak, who skated into the slot and tapped in a goal.

It was Dewar and Kindopp’s first points of the playoffs, respectively, and a big lift off their shoulders, according to Dewar.

“Bryce and I talked and we were frustrated that we had our chances the first three games and nothing was going in for us,” Dewar said. “We just told each other, the floodgates might open for us and pucks might start following us around again and get us back in our mojo. Hopefully tonight was an indicator of the rest of the series for us.”

But the Chiefs’ power play didn’t rest, as Adam Beckman scored his fifth goal of the postseason at 2:40 in the first to cut the Silvertips’ lead in half. The rookie forward pounced on a sitting puck and utilized a netfront screen from Ethan McIndoe to snap a puck past Dustin Wolf’s blocker side.

Dewar extended the lead back to two 6:41 into the second period with his first goal of the series. After Riley Sutter won a battle behind Spokane’s net and worked it around to Gage Goncalves, the rookie forward found Dewar flashing to the slot and he one-timed the pass for his fourth of the playoffs.

“It was really nice,” Dewar said. “I didn’t really have to do much on it. Gage made a nice play and Riley had a really nice forecheck. I just hit it as hard as I could and into the back of the net. It was a big weight off the shoulders.”

The Chiefs appeared to cut the lead to one in the third, as Riley Woods snapped a shot past Wolf with 3:06 remaining. But the refs determined Luc Smith made incidental contact with Wolf before the puck went in and nullified it.

After the goal was waved off, Chiefs head coach Dan Lambert barked incessantly at officials from the home bench. During the mayhem, Dewar scored his second of the game with the net empty at 6:41.

The Silvertips were outshot for the first time in the series, 28-26, in their only winning effort.

Dewar added an assist to go with his two goals to power the Silvertips.

Wolf made 27 of 28 saves.


—The Silvertips are 2-1 under head coach Dennis Williams in elimination games.

— Dawson Butt (undisclosed injury), Dylan Anderson, Justyn Gurney, Jalen Price and Conrad Mitchell were scratches for Everett.

Next up

The Silvertips will try and avoid elimination again in Game 5 at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday in Spokane.

“It’s a tall challenge, but it’s nice to see the guys get to smile and enjoy this,” Williams said. “But we have a good group that understands what it’s going to take tomorrow and we’re going to come out and play shift-by-shift, period-by-period.”

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