Here are three takeaways:
Wolf’s late season surge
Everett goaltender Dustin Wolf turned in another stellar performance on Saturday with a 32-save shutout. His seventh shutout of the season is the fourth most in a season in the franchise’s history. He also notched his 11th career shutout, passing Austin Lotz for fourth on the Silvertips’ franchise leaderboard for career shutouts.
The 2001-born netminder is finding a nice groove at an important portion of the season, as Wolf has allowed just one goal or less in eight of his last 10 starts.
“I always say our ‘D’ and Wolfie are strong,” Silvertips head Williams said. “I think it was a good response night. I don’t think he was too much tested last night. So he came back tonight with that tonight. We definitely had some breakdowns and the goalie needs to make those saves, and like we’ve said all along Wolfie has been able to do that.
“Our ‘D’ did a pretty good job of giving up just one goal in two games. That’s a good credit not only to Dustin Wolf, but to our team defense and to our forwards. It’s not easy to do that back-to-back nights.”
The 17-year-old has been an absolute workhorse this season, playing in 56 of 62 games this season for the Silvertips. Despite the hefty workload, Wolf leads the WHL in goals against average (1.72) and save percentage (.935).
“It’s definitely nice,” Wolf said. “Obviously I’m not able to do it without the defense and forward corp in front of me. They make my job way too easy. I just have to go out there and make the saves when I need to and they’ll do the rest.”
Could Saturday’s matchup provide a first-round playoff preview? Regardless, it was a playoff atmosphere between the two archrivals.
In its last three games against Everett since the trade deadline, Seattle has played the Silvertips tough, with two wins and a 7-4 goal advantage over those three contests.
Even though Seattle is last in the U.S. Division standings, they’ll be a tough out in the playoffs.
“This U.S. Division, there is nobody weak,” Williams said. “They’re is just so much depth and everyone plays a different style. Seattle plays us hard and we’ve played good games with them. I know we won a few against them early on, but they were never one sided. I respect the way they play and they play a good, hard game.”
Seattle is currently six points ahead of Kamloops for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference after the Blazers lost 5-4 to Vancouver on Saturday night. Although Kamloops possesses a game in hand, the Thunderbirds are in the driver’s seat for the final playoff spot.
A first-round playoff series against Everett and Seattle would be possible if the Silvertips lock up the No. 1 seed in the West. Vancouver is two points behind the Silvertips with a game in hand and an easier schedule, so it’s far from a forgone conclusion.
Dewar takes over late
In typical fashion, Connor Dewar didn’t see the bench for the final minute-plus of overtime and was a big reason Everett possessed the puck for the last 40 seconds of overtime.
He was firing passes and collecting the puck. His shot that led to Kindopp’s rebound chance was a heads up play in particular, noticing there wasn’t much time remaining and whipping a shot to the net.
“I know when he’s out there, he’s a great player and he’s going to make something happen,” Kindopp said. “Even 5-on-5, I just go to the net and something is going to happen.”
Horton’s three stars
1. Dustin Wolf: Everett doesn’t have a chance in overtime without Wolf, who stopped all 32 shots he faced for his seventh shutout of the season.
2. Roddy Ross: Turned away 40 shots and made a number of key saves down the stretch for Seattle.
2. Bryce Kindopp: Potted his second game-winning goal in as many nights, this time in dramatic fashion.