EVERETT — Now that was the game most people expected.
The Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds, who played to overtime four times in their last five regular-season meetings, once again needed more than 60 minutes.
In the end Saturday, Seattle prevailed 5-4 in overtime to win Game 2 and even the WHL Western Conference quarterfinal series at a game apiece before 5,694 fans at Angel of the Winds Arena.
Zack Andrusiak ended the game at 5:04 in overtime when he sliced through the Everett defense and backhanded the game-winner past Everett goaltender Carter Hart.
“This is definitely something we have to learn from,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy series. We were hoping for a better outcome (tonight) absolutely, but that’s what happens when you play a good hockey club, and what an individual effort by their guy on the game-winning goal.”
The game was a far cry from Game 1 on Friday night when the Tips skated to a dominating 4-1 victory.
While Everett took the early lead Saturday, it quickly surrendered the advantage and played catch-up all night.
“We knew they were going to come out and play stronger than they did in that first game, and I thought we matched that for a good amount of the game,” Everett forward Garrett Pilon said. “But at the same time there were some times where we had some lulls.”
Pilon forced overtime when he stashed the puck inside the right post with 53.6 seconds to go in regulation and with Everett’s net empty.
It was Pilon’s third goal of the night, but the Silvertips were unable to capitalize on any perceived momentum.
“When you go back into that locker room it’s kind of tough to carry (momentum),” Pilon said. “I think if (there was) any way we could have stayed on the ice there we would have had momentum. But it’s tough when you go back in the locker room and come back out.”
Seattle’s Mike MacLean had previously broken a 3-3 tie at 7:35 in the final period when he roofed a shot past Hart’s shoulder from the left circle for a 4-3 Seattle lead.
The late ties were indicative of what was a seesaw battle all game long.
Everett trailed 2-1 entering the second, but quickly tied the game 33 seconds into the stanza when Pilon tapped in a feed from Kevin Davis at the left post during a 5-on-3 power play.
Seattle regained the lead with Turner Ottenbreit’s power-play shot at 15:00 in the second, before Pilon’s second goal of the period retied the game 3-3 at 17:11.
Less than a minute later Everett’s Riley Sutter kneed Jake Lee and was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. The Tips went on to kill the major penalty in the opening minutes of the third period before MacLean broke the deadlock.
“We kind of dug ourselves into some holes and (our) consistency just needs to be a little bit better,” Williams said. “I didn’t think we played a bad hockey game. We had a good (five-minute) penalty kill, a good power-play goal and I give our guys a lot of credit for competing right to that final buzzer. We had a couple good looks in overtime, but that’s the way it goes.”
Seattle took a 2-1 lead after a wild opening period.
Everett struck first just 2:17 into the period when Martin Fasko-Rudas tipped in Gianni Fairbrother’s point shot for the 1-0 lead.
But Seattle drew even less than two minutes later on the power play when Austin Strand’s slap shot from the point beat Hart over the shoulder at 4:15.
Then Sami Moilanen gave the Thunderbirds their first lead of the postseason when he snuck in from behind the net to tap a rebound past Hart for a 2-1 advantage at 6:33.
The Silvertips thought they had tied it around the 11:00 mark when Fairbrother’s tough-angle wrister from the left circle rang off the far post. The officials reviewed the play at the next stoppage and upheld the no-goal call.
“I thought we possessed the puck well,” Williams said. “There were times where we had shifts where we struggled and they took it to us, and that’s what you’re going to get in the playoffs. We always talk about being able to manage those swing shifts when things are going well for them and keep them to the outside and play a good, solid defensive game.”
Seattle finished 2-for-3 on the power play while Everett was 1-for-5. Everett is 1-for-9 on the man advantage so far in the series.
Hughes finished with 45 saves while Hart had 28. The Tips held a 49-33 shot advantage.
Game 3 is at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at ShoWare Center in Kent.
Thunderbirds 5, Silvertips 4 (OT)
Seattle 2 1 1 1 — 5
Everett 1 2 1 0 — 4
1st Period—1, Everett, Fasko-Rudas 1 (Fairbrother, Vitelli), 2:17. 2, Seattle, Strand 1 (Ottenbreit, Neuls), 4:15 (PP). 3, Seattle, Moilanen 1 (Ottenbreit, Wedman), 6:33. Penalties—Pilon Evt (cross checking), 3:48; Strand Sea (slashing), 10:25; Philp Sea (cross checking), 14:29; Sutter Evt (roughing), 14:29; Andrusiak Sea (hooking), 18:39; Ottenbreit Sea (roughing), 20:00.
2nd Period—4, Everett, Pilon 2 (Davis, Bajkov), 0:33 (PP). 5, Seattle, Ottenbreit 1 (Neuls, Wedman), 13:23 (PP). 6, Everett, Pilon 3 (Vitelli, Dewar), 17:11. Penalties—Moilanen Sea (interference), 4:40; Bajkov Evt (interference), 11:35; Bargar Sea (roughing), 13:50; Butt Evt (roughing), 13:50; Sutter Evt (major-kneeing, game misconduct), 18:00.
3rd Period—7, Seattle, MacLean 1 7:35. 8, Everett, Pilon 4 (Bajkov, Davis), 19:06. Penalties—Strand Sea (roughing), 9:13; Richards Evt (roughing), 9:13; Volcan Sea (holding), 10:45.
OT Period—9, Seattle, Andrusiak 2 (Harsch), 5:04. Penalties—No Penalties
Shots on Goal—Seattle 14-8-9-2-33. Everett 18-11-17-3-49.
Power Play Opportunities—Seattle 2 / 3; Everett 1 / 4.
Goalies-Seattle, Hughes (49 shots-45 saves). Everett, Hart (33 shots-28 saves).