Silvertips survive late comeback in win over Giants

Everett withstands four third-period goals, sits atop Western Conference.

EVERETT — Leading by three goals after two periods, the Everett Silvertips appeared destined to cruise in a battle of two Western Conference titans with first place in the conference at stake. Unfortunately for the Silvertips, coasting isn’t an option against a talented and relentless team like the Vancouver Giants.

Despite a four-goal third period from the opposition, Everett prevailed, withstanding Vancouver’s comeback to edge the Giants 6-5 at Angel of the Winds Arena.

“We’re playing a team with four losses. I think we have to remember how good of a team it is over there,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “Maybe our guys were thinking when it was a certain score, ‘Let’s get out of here and focus on 4 p.m. tomorrow.’ But that’s a good hockey team, and we can’t let our foot off the gas, and we probably did that a little.”

It wasn’t exactly the statement win it was shaping up to be for the Silvertips (16-7-0-0), but Everett ultimately felt at ease knowing it came out on top against the Giants (14-5-2-0), the first-place team in the B.C. Division.

“We had our goals early, they had theirs late in the game. That’s how it goes when you have two evenly matched hockey teams that both play with speed,” Williams said. “That’s a high-character hockey team in Vancouver. Obviously they didn’t quit. (It’s) something we can learn from.

“You expect that from a good hockey team. We got our two points. That’s all we wanted.”

The Silvertips captured sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with 32 points after beating Vancouver for the first time this season. (The Giants beat Everett in the two teams’ early-season matchups.)

Everett assembled a 5-2 lead during the first 55 minutes, 40 seconds of the game, but Vancouver potted two goals in the span of 2 minutes, 48 seconds in the third period as Jared Dmytriw scored on a wraparound and Davis Koch scored in his second goal of the game.

Silvertips captain Connor Dewar scored an empty-net goal to provide much-needed insurance, as 49 seconds later Dawson Holt scored for the Giants to cut Everett’s lead back to one. The Silvertips’ defense held strong over the final minute, keeping the puck along the boards and out of dangerous areas to seal the win.

Dewar scored his 17th goal of the season to put Everett up 1-0 with 4:55 remaining in the first period. Martin Fasko-Rudas skated behind the net and fed Dewar, whose shot deflected off two Giants players, then off Tristen Nielsen’s skate and into Vancouver’s net.

Luke Ormsby scored his first goal of the season for the Silvertips at the 10:41 mark in the second period as the 19-year-old Everett native led a rush and punched in a rebound to put Everett up two goals.

“We had scouted on the goalie, and I kind of placed the puck cross-body on him,” Ormsby said. “I saw a hole and it ended up not closing up and I buried the rebound. … It gets the monkey off the back. It feels good. … I’m rolling and picking up some pace.”

Davis Koch put Vancouver on the board with a snipe from the high slot with 3:57 remaining in the second period, but the Silvertips didn’t let relent as Sean Richards skated right past the Giants’ last line of defense and potted a breakaway goal off the long feed from Dawson Butt for his fifth of the season.

“That was a great play by Buttsy,” Williams said. “He throws it up there and Richie (Richards) used his speed to go wide.”

Jake Christiansen sniped a shot past Vancouver goaltender David Tendeck’s glove side to push Everett’s lead to three.

Matt Barberis scored with 9:56 remaining to cut the lead again to two, but Richards scored his second goal of the night, tapping in a saucer pass from Riley Sutter past Tendeck at the 7:10 mark.

Williams praised Butt for a high-level play to help generate offense.

“That goal doesn’t happen if Dawson doesn’t do a good job of coming up to wall his point man and finishing his check and making a turnover,” Williams said. “That line was skating and making plays ,and that’s what we needed. Again, I thought Dawson had a really good game tonight.”

Dustin Wolf (15-7-0-0) saved 17-of-22 shots for Everett.

Tendeck (8-5-1-0) stopped 28-of-33 for the Giants.

Sitting atop the Western Conference isn’t something that has Williams pumping his fist in jubilation — it is, after all, just November. But he’s impressed with the steps the Silvertips have taken during the first 23 games of the season.

But the next part of the year will be consequential for Everett’s season, according to Williams.

“I like how we’re growing,” Williams said. “We’re getting better each game. That’s what you look for. There are no championships given out in November, like I tell our guys. You have to peak at the right time. You want to peak as we get into the new year.

“This next third of hockey is the hardest in junior hockey. It’s the part where you have Thanksgiving and home coming up with Christmas break. I told our guys to challenge them, the next 25 games are what makes our breaks seasons to me. It’s easy to come out strong, (and) it’s easy to finish strong because there is an ending. But it’s that middle lag that’s the biggest challenge, and it’s something we’ll have to remind our guys of.”

Next up

The Silvertips host Spokane at 4:05 p.m. Sunday.

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