KENT — The Everett Silvertips went nearly two full calendar years without a win at ShoWare Center.
The Tips have now won two straight.
Garrett Pilon scored the game-winner early in the third period as the Tips defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 2-1 before 5,452 fans Saturday in Kent.
“It’s really big, especially with these guys maybe being someone we can meet (in the postseason),” Pilon said. “I think it’s kind of a big thing that we can come into this barn and get some wins.”
The U.S. Division-leading Tips (41-17-2-3, 87 points) have won four in a row and have points in 11 straight games. Seattle (28-24-7-2, 65 points) has lost eight of nine though the T-birds currently occupy the No. 8 seed in the playoff race.
The Tips and T-birds would square off in the first round if the postseason began today.
Everett finished with a 39-24 shot advantage and the coaching staff was pleased after what the Tips turned in what was characterized as sub-par effort in a 2-1 win at Vancouver Friday.
“I thought our response was good and I thought we skated well tonight,” head coach Dennis Williams said. “I thought in the offensive zone we had some great creativity and some great opportunities. … If you’re getting those looks you’ll take those as coaches.”
Pilon broke a 1-1 tie when he walked in from the right circle and beat Hughes with a backhanded flick that trickled over the goal line for Everett’s only lead of the game at 2:44 in the third.
“I wish I could say we taught him that move, but we didn’t,” Williams said. “That’s just hockey instincts and skill-set taking over. That was one heck of a play.”
It was Pilon’s 32nd goal of the season and his 14th since coming over in a January trade with Kamloops.
“I think we played closer to a full 60 (minutes),” Pilon said. “Even when we maybe didn’t have full offensive zone all the time I think we played good defense and I thought we controlled the play down low. That was something (the coaches) were kind of preaching beforehand against Vancouver that we didn’t really execute. So it was kind of nice to come in here and skate and have lots of puck control.”
Trailing 1-0 after one period, Connor Dewar drew the Tips even at 11:25 with a quick wrister from below the left circle.
Dewar’s game-tying goal caused great consternation for the T-birds as it came seconds after they felt a slashing penalty should have been called on Everett.
“(The officials) tried to say it was a slash low on the stick, which the guy’s stick broke in half so I don’t know how that can happen,” Seattle coach Matt O’Dette said. “They’re always going to cover their (butts). That’s what they do.”
It remained 1-1 after two periods.
The T-birds struck first when Nolan Volcan tapped a behind-the-net feed from Noah Philp past Carter Hart at the right post for a 1-0 lead at 14:18 in the opening period.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite Everett’s 14-8 shot advantage.
“We were down 1-0, but it felt like it should have been the other way,” Williams said. “That’s how the game goes sometimes. I definitely liked our response with the travel in playing a good, sound, disciplined road hockey game.”
Hart saved 23 of the 24 shots he saw to earn the win in net for Everett.
Hughes finished with 37 saves on Everett’s 39 shots.
The Tips were 0-for-4 on the power play while Seattle was 0-for-1.
The Tips return to action at 4:05 p.m. Sunday when they play host to the Spokane Chiefs at Angel of the Winds Arena.
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Silvertips 2, Thunderbirds 1
Everett 0 1 1 — 2
Seattle 1 0 0 — 1
1st Period—1, Seattle, Volcan 26 (Philp, Neuls), 14:18. Penalties—Lee Sea (high sticking), 11:11.
2nd Period—2, Everett, Dewar 32 (Bajkov, Fonteyne), 11:35. Penalties—Lee Sea (interference), 8:17; Wedman Sea (slashing), 12:53; Richards Evt (roughing), 17:26; Sutter Evt (roughing), 17:26; Walker Evt (roughing), 17:26; Andrusiak Sea (roughing), 17:26; Ottenbreit Sea (roughing), 17:26; Philp Sea (roughing), 17:26.
3rd Period—3, Everett, Pilon 31 (Dewar), 2:44. Penalties—Tyszka Sea (delay of game), 5:53; Bajkov Evt (slashing), 8:49; Dewar Evt (roughing), 18:10; Strand Sea (roughing), 18:10.
Shots on Goal—Everett 14-13-12-39. Seattle 8-3-13-24.
Power Play Opportunities—Everett 0 / 4; Seattle 0 / 1.
Goalies—Everett, Hart 26-4-1-3 (24 shots-23 saves). Seattle, Hughes 10-10-4-1 (39 shots-37 saves).