EVERETT — For 44 days the Everett Silvertips had led the U.S. Division.
On Friday, the Seattle Thunderbirds reclaimed the top spot in the standings in as dramatic fashion as possible with a 2-1 shootout victory before the 7,206 fans at Xfinity Arena.
Seattle (37-23-3-0) and Everett (36-21-4-3) are each tied with 79 points, but the Thunderbirds claimed the official division lead by virtue of more victories.
A late tying goal by Everett’s Connor Dewar set up a scoreless overtime and no fewer than seven shooters were needed to decide a victor. Seattle’s Nolan Volcan scored on the Thunderbirds’ seventh shot and Seattle goaltender Landon Bow saved Matt Fonteyne’s tying attempt to send the T-Birds off the bench to swarm their netminder.
The Tips had held the division lead over the preseason favorite T-Birds thanks mainly to six wins in the team’s first seven matchups. Friday’s defeat was Seattle’s only win in five games at Xfinity Arena this season. The two teams conclude their 10-game regular-season tilt next Friday at ShoWare Center in Kent.
Bow was frequently spectacular en route to 40 saves. The lone blemish came on Dewar’s putback of Cole MacDonald’s point shot at 17:15 in the third tied the game and forced overtime.
Neither team converted in the extra time despite several good looks from each side.
Dewar’s goal was the first goal since the opening period. Seattle scored first when Nick Holowko carried the puck through the neutral zone and to the mouth of the goal before he fed a cross-crease pass to Ryan Gropp, who flicked it into the open net for a 1-0 lead at 8:44 in the opening period.
Seattle’s Mathew Barzal earned the second assist on the goal as the New York Islanders prospect extended his point streak to 12 games.
Holowko’s goal wasn’t the only first-period incident. Everett’s Spencer Gerth and Seattle’s Luke Osterman dropped gloves at 2:28 and were each given five minutes for fighting. The bout was likely a continuation of the one the two held during Everett’s Feb. 6 visit to Kent when the two were separated before either threw a punch.
The Tips clanged three attempts of the post in the first period, and squandered a two-man advantage at 10:37 in the second. Everett had several good looks, but Bow came up strong each time.
Everett was 0-for-5 on the power play while Seattle was 0-for-3. That was a minor feat for the Tips as the T-Birds are second in the league in both categories.
Seattle has now won six straight and 10 of its last 11 games. The Tips will look to bounce back at 7 p.m. Saturday at home against the Tri-City Americans.
Thunderbirds 2, Silvertips 1 (SO)
Seattle 1 0 0 0 — 2
Everett 0 0 1 0 — 1
1st Period—1, Seattle, Gropp 33 (Holowko, Barzal), 8:34. Penalties—Osterman Sea (major-fighting), 2:28; Gerth Evt (major-fighting), 2:28; Winkler Evt (tripping), 13:50; Leth Sea (tripping), 15:41; Laurencelle Evt (hooking), 17:26.
2nd Period—No Scoring. Penalties—Osterman Sea (holding), 3:06; Barzal Sea (tripping), 9:58; Hauf Sea (checking to the head), 10:37; Skrumeda Evt (checking from behind), 16:56.
3rd Period—2, Everett, Dewar 11 (MacDonald, Laurencelle), 17:15. Penalties—Schumacher Sea (high sticking), 3:41.
OT Period—No Scoring. Penalties-No Penalties
Shootout—Seattle 1 (Barzal NG, Gropp NG, Neuls NG, Smith NG, Holowko NG, Uhrich NG, Volcan G), Everett 0 (Stadnyk NG, Skoleski NG, Winkler NG, Bajkov NG, Laurencelle NG, Millar NG, Fonteyne NG).
Shots on Goal—Seattle 10-6-9-2-1-28. Everett 7-17-11-6-0-41.
Power Play Opportunities—Seattle 0 / 3; Everett 0 / 5.
Goalies—Seattle, Bow 20-20-4-0 (41 shots-40 saves). Everett, Hart 34-20-1-3 (27 shots-26 saves).