EVERETT — Sunday afternoon games in the Western Hockey League can have a way of sneaking up on you.
It’s often the end of a long week with one or both teams coming off a game the night before.
That was not a problem Sunday as the Seattle Thunderbirds got the best of the Everett Silvertips 4-3 as the two teams renewed their rivalry before 4,517 fans at Xfinity Arena.
“It was probably one of the best Sunday games I’ve played in since I’ve been here,” third-year Everett forward Connor Dewar said. “It’s always fun to play a rivalry game, but it’s not fun when you lose.”
It was the first of 10 matchups between Everett and Seattle, and the first regular-season game between the teams since the Thunderbirds eliminated the Silvertips in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals last April at ShoWare Center.
Sunday also marked the fourth straight defeat for Everett (4-9-1, nine points) as the Tips tallied three power-play goals while coming up empty at even strength.
“Now for us it’s back to the drawing board for why we didn’t score 5-on-5,” Everett head coach Dennis Williams said. “We have to try to get everything together where we have a good 5-on-5 presence and a good power play.”
The teams were knotted 2-2 heading into the third, but the Thunderbirds made quick work of breaking the tie.
Noah Philp scored off a behind-the-net feed from Zack Andrusiak following an Everett turnover at 1:07, and Austin Strand added a wrister through traffic on the power play at 2:41 as the Thunderbirds assumed a 4-2 advantage.
“I was disappointed with our start in the third,” Williams said. “We’re a fragile group right now and the challenge was to put together a good third and win ourselves a hockey game. They came out and scored on that defensive zone collapse with all five guys and veterans out there and that can’t happen.”
Bryce Kindopp scored off a scramble at the front of the net on yet another power play at 12:22 to cut the Seattle lead to 4-3.
That was as close as Everett could get despite pulling goalie Blake Lyda with more than a minute to go for a sixth skater.
“Then we started playing again with urgency and poise and going after pucks,” Williams said. “We just have to continue to work with the younger team we’ve got right now. We’re putting guys in situations when they haven’t played many Western Hockey League games. Hopefully the reps they’re getting now will translate when the future comes.”
Dewar initially gave Everett a 2-1 lead on the power play at 15:37 in the second period when his shot deflected off a Seattle defender and past Thunderbirds netminder Matt Berlin.
“I think we got a couple lucky bounces with both my goals, but when we are putting pucks toward the net it will pay off,” Dewar said.
That lead was short-lived. Dillon Hamaliuk evened the game 2-2 just 10 seconds later when his wrister beat Lyda.
That’s how it remained through two periods.
The Tips had previously evened the game 1-1 on the power play at 11:03 in the second period. Dewar skated around the right circle and flung the puck into the net as Riley Sutter screened Berlin.
After the handshake following the goal, Everett’s Montana Onyebuchi and Seattle’s Turner Ottenbreit exchanged words and fists. Both received roughing and misconduct penalties, and were sent to the dressing room for the remainder of the period.
During the same melee Aaron Hyman was assessed a cross-checking penalty, but the Tips were unable to convert on their ensuing fourth power play.
Seattle took the lead just 45 seconds into the opening period. A Tips turnover in the Everett zone wound up on the stick of Hamaliuk, and he stashed it past Lyda for his first goal of the season.
“Bad turnovers at both blue lines,” Dewar said. “We gotta manage pucks better and clean that up.”
Kevin Davis had a pair of assists for Everett.
“We need other guys to start stepping up and other lines to start stepping up and helping on the offensive side of it,” Williams said. “We need to do a much better job still of controlling the chances against. Today I thought a lot of their chances came off of line rushes. That’s something we’ve been talking about.”
The Silvertips are off until 7:05 p.m. Friday when they play at Kamloops.
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter.
Thunderbirds 4, Silvertips 2
Seattle 1 1 2 — 4
Everett 0 2 1 — 3
1st Period—1, Seattle, Hamaliuk 1 0:45. Penalties—Bargar Sea (interference), 3:35; served by Hein Evt (too many men), 7:43; Fonteyne Evt (tripping), 9:24; Fairbrother Evt (boarding), 12:17; served by Huo Sea (too many men), 17:23.
2nd Period—2, Everett, Dewar 6 (Davis, Bajkov), 11:03 (PP). 3, Everett, Dewar 7 (Fonteyne, Davis), 15:37 (PP). 4, Seattle, Hamaliuk 2 (Philp, Harsch), 15:47. Penalties—Wedman Sea (hooking), 10:26; Hyman Sea (cross checking), 11:03; Ottenbreit Sea (roughing, roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 11:03; Onyebuchi Evt (roughing, roughing, 10-minute misconduct), 11:03; Hyman Sea (roughing), 15:11; Wedman Sea (10-minute misconduct), 15:11.
3rd Period—5, Seattle, Philp 3 (Andrusiak), 1:07. 6, Seattle, Strand 5 (Moilanen, Volcan), 2:41 (PP). 7, Everett, Kindopp 3 (Richards, Christiansen), 12:22 (PP). Penalties—Huo Sea (roughing), 1:38; Azhgirei Evt (roughing), 1:38; Fairbrother Evt (roughing), 1:38; Moilanen Sea (tripping), 10:46.
Shots on Goal—Seattle 7-8-16-31. Everett 11-15-8-34.
Power Play Opportunities—Seattle 1 / 4; Everett 3 / 6.
Goalies-Seattle, Berlin 4-2-0-1 (34 shots-31 saves). Everett, Lyda 0-1-1-0 (31 shots-27 saves).