KENT — The Everett Silvertips had an extra sour taste in their mouths after Saturday night.
Not only did the Silvertips fall to their archrival on home ice — snapping Everett’s 11-game win streak — but they relinquished first place in the Western Hockey League’s U.S. Division.
But Everett responded on Sunday night at the ShoWare Center by securing a crucial road victory against the Seattle Thunderbirds, winning 3-2 and keeping pace with Portland in the race for the division title.
“They took that one hard, with it being at home and Navy Night and everything,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said of Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the T-birds. “Our group was not happy last night after the game. They came back today with a chip on their shoulder and they buckled down from a mental standpoint and got the two points.”
With the win, the Silvertips clinched home ice for the first round of the playoffs, but they remain one point behind Portland in the U.S. Division race.
On Sunday, the Silvertips jumped ahead 1-0 at 14:44 in the first period on Bryce Kindopp’s 40th goal of the season. Seattle’s Keltie Jeri-Leon scored the equalizer on the power play at 2:23 in the second period.
Gage Goncalves scored on a scramble in front of Seattle’s net to recapture the lead for Everett at 11:12 and Ty Kolle tacked on a much-needed insurance goal at 17:15, giving Everett a 3-1 lead after two periods.
The Silvertips scored all their goals near or in the crease Sunday.
“I think that’s something we didn’t do last night against this team,” Kindopp said. “They’re a big, heavy team. They want to keep you to the dots. We can skate around in their end and not get a shot. I think that was a big focus in getting to the net and banging in some rebounds, and the rebounds were there and we capitalized tonight.”
Seattle made things interesting. Payton Mount scored with 3:11 remaining to cut Everett’s lead to 3-2, but the Silvertips recorded a great deal of offensive zone time afterward to thwart Seattle’s momentum.
“I liked that once we got back to 5-on-5, there was no panic,” Williams said. “It was 3-2, the building was jumping for them and they were feeling it and we put out (Ethan Regnier’s) line with (Dawson) Butt and Justyn (Gurney) and I thought they did a really good job of keeping the puck down low, cycling it and we were able to get a line change out of it.”
Goaltender Dustin Wolf finished with 23 saves and picked up the win for Everett, his 34th of the season.
Goncalves (one goal and one assist) and Kasper Puutio (two assists) notched multi-point games for Everett.
No panic for special-teams woes
After Everett’s power play went 0-for-7, Seattle’s power play converted on its two chances and the Thunderbirds scored a short-handed goal Saturday night, Williams did not mince words about his displeasure with the Silvertips’ special teams.
“I thought special teams were poor, and that’s probably being polite to us,” Williams said Saturday.
And while the numbers weren’t considerably better in Sunday’s win — Seattle capitalized on two of eight power-play chances and Everett’s power play went 0-for-2, although Goncalves’ goal came just seconds after a penalty expired — there’s no panic from Everett’s end on its power-play or penalty-kill units.
“I’m not worried about it,” Williams said. “It’s not easy when you’re taking penalties and you’re running guys on both sides … But I liked our power-play movement. We got in the zone today. I liked our special teams and there’s no need to panic.”
Holt notches first shutout
Silvertips rookie goaltender Braden Holt stopped 16 shots and recorded his first career shutout in Everett’s 6-0 win over Tri-City on Friday.
“It feels pretty good,” Holt said Friday. “The team did a pretty good job tonight. (Seattle) didn’t have many grade-A scoring opportunities and I have a lot of confidence in the back end.”
Holt, a Bozeman, Montana, native and a 12th-round 2018 bantam pick, owns a 1.82 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in eight games this season.
After scoring on Friday and potting another goal Sunday, Kindopp is two goals away from Patrick Bajkov’s franchise career goals record of 112. Kindopp, an Anaheim Ducks prospect, scored his 40th goal of the season Sunday, the first Silvertip to hit to 40-goal plateau since Josh Winquist in 2013-2014.
Wyatte Wylie remains just one point away from tying Kevin Davis’ record for the most points in a single season by an Everett defenseman with 65.
Two Silvertips, Wylie and Jalen Price, sustained injuries over the weekend.
Price, an 18-year-old forward, was scratched Saturday and Sunday with a lower-body injury, according to Silvertips general manager Garry Davidson.
Wylie was injured in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Seattle and did not play Sunday. The severity of his injury was unknown.
Down the pike
Everett’s final three-games-in-three-days stretch is this weekend. Two road games against Tri-City bookend a Saturday clash at Portland, which could very well decide the regular season U.S. Division title and the Scotty Munro Trophy, which is awarded to the WHL team with the best regular-season record.
Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for The Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH