Silvertips’ win over Chiefs ends long run of playoff futility

EVERETT — It’s been the season for slaying dragons for the Everett Silvertips, and Tuesday night the Tips slayed one more.

Everett ended its long run of playoff futility late Tuesday when the Tips defeated the Spokane Chiefs 2-1 in a triple-overtime thriller to close out their first-round series in six games.

The Tips have reached the playoffs in all 12 seasons of the franchise’s history. However, it had been eight years since Everett last tasted success in the postseason, when the Tips topped Spokane in the first round in 2007. That series also went six games and ended at Spokane Arena.

“It’s unbelievable,” winger Brayden Low, who scored the series-ending goal, said following the game about ending Everett’s postseason jinx. “I tell myself every day I’m just happy to be here and happy to be a part of this.”

The series victory was the second long drought Everett ended this season. The Tips also ended an eight-year banner drought when they claimed the U.S. Division title. It was Everett’s first banner since winning the division and the Scotty Munro Trophy for the league’s best record in 2007.

The Tips needed to navigate the first triple-overtime playoff game in franchise history to pull it off. The game lasted 103 minutes, 43 seconds, making it the longest game Everett’s ever played by nearly 16 minutes.

“That was a marathon if I’ve ever been a part of one,” Low said. “It was unbelievable. You have to give full marks to (the Chiefs). (Goaltender) Garret Hughson played unbelievable back there for them. They had a lot of tired legs and so did we. It was a marathon, we knew it had to end sooner or later, and I was lucky enough to get a bounce.”

Everett won the marathon despite being desperately short on defense when the game ended. The Tips dressed seven defensemen for the game. However, Noah Juulsen left the game injured during the first period, then Tristen Pfeifer departed in the third. Jordan Wharrie, who began the game playing forward, was available as a spare, but didn’t play a single shift on defense. That meant Everett had just four defensemen available — Ben Betker, Cole MacDonald, Lucas Skrumeda and Kevin Davis — for the entire two-plus overtimes.

“Tonight we had to do it without two defensemen, so four D played almost two games of hockey by the time the thing’s done,” Everett coach Kevin Constantine said after the game. “Those four D were phenomenal that they were even able to get on and off the ice. That contribution alone is incredible.

“It was a great team win, the whole team did an unbelievable job.”

Among the players who did an unbelievable job was goaltender Carter Hart. The 16-year-old rookie turned aside 53 of the 54 shots he faced. But that was just more of the same from Hart, who was stellar during the series, particularly in the games in Spokane where he went 3-0. He finished the series with a 1.68 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. Both marks led the league during the first round.

Everett nearly let one slip away for the second straight game. The Tips led 3-2 throughout the third period of Game 5 Saturday in Everett, only for the Chiefs to tie it with 2:18 remaining and eventually win in overtime. On Tuesday Spokane left it even later, scoring with just 5.4 seconds remaining to tie it 1-1 and begin the long stretch of sudden-death overtime.

“I thought our guys played a better third tonight than we did with a one-goal lead in Game 5,” Constantine said. “I wasn’t dissatisfied with how we played in the third tonight, I didn’t really like how we played in the third in Game 5. And I thought we were a much better team in overtime than they were. You have to really stick to what you’re doing if you’re going to play in those tense moments, and I thought our guys did. I thought they were pretty calm and I thought we played very well in all the overtimes.”

And thankfully for the Tips, they didn’t have to play a Game 7. Game 7 was scheduled for Wednesday in Everett, meaning the teams would have had to leave immediately following the triple-overtime contest and play the next day.

“That’s a relief,” Low said. “We would have had to travel all night and have a quick turnaround. We did that on Saturday and we didn’t have very much energy. We’re just happy to have this one over with and to move on.”

Three ranked by Central Scouting

The NHL Central Scouting Service released its final rankings for the 2015 NHL draft Wednesday. Three Everett players were ranked, all defensemen. Juulsen was ranked 22nd among North American skaters, moving up from 38th in January. The ranking pushes Juulsen onto the fringes of the first round. Pfeifer moved up from 179th to 135th, while Davis dropped from 137th to 163rd. Pfeifer and Davis are ranked in the region where they’re on the bubble to whether they’ll be selected.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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