Tips finally end their home skid

EVERETT — Comcast Arena is once again home sweet home for the Everett Silvertips.


Everett snapped a franchise-record six-game home losing streak in style Friday night, shutting out the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-0.

Byron Froese had a goal and two assists and Thomas Heemskerk stopped all 24 shots he faced as Everett turned in one of its best all-around performances of the season.

“Best 60 minutes in the second half of the year, by far,” a smiling Everett coach John Becanic said. “We played the full 60 minutes, I didn’t see us let up once.

“A win at home, parents weekend, Seattle — you name it, there’s a lot of reasons why it feels good,” Becanic added. “But to be honest, it feels good because we played well. We played hard, we put the clamp down in the third when we needed to, our penalty killing was phenomenal and our power play was phenomenal.”

The last time Everett tasted victory at home was exactly four weeks earlier, when the Tips beat these same T-birds 7-5. So for the Tips, it was nice to give the home fans something to cheer about.

“It’s great,” Froese said about snapping the skid. “It’s also great to win against Seattle. I’ve only been here one year, but I already hate playing them, I just want to kick their cans every night. But the fans helped us, it was good fan support and I can’t say enough about them.”

A trio of defensemen — Taylor Ellington, Mike Alexander and Graham Potuer — also scored for Everett (24-25-7-2), which extended its advantage over Seattle to three points for sixth place in the Western Conference.

Calvin Pickard made 19 saves in goal for the T-birds (25-28-1-3), who were not at their best. Even Seattle captain Thomas Hickey had an uncharacteristically poor game.

Everett came into the game with a plan: Hang back in the neutral zone and give Seattle as few opportunities as possible five-on-five — particularly the T-birds’ top line containing Greg Scott and Prab Rai — then try and score on the power play.

The Tips executed that plan to perfection. Everett scored on three of its first five power plays to take a 3-0 lead into the third period, and Heemskerk didn’t have many difficult saves in earning his second shutout of the season. Everett finished the game 3-for-8 with the advantage.

“We worked on it in practice a bit,” Froese explained about Everett’s success on the power play. “We had to mix up our lines a bit (because Tyler Maxwell is out injured), and it seemed to work out for the better. I think the key was we were all forechecking hard to get the puck. If we had to dump it, we all worked hard to get that puck. We had three guys on it all the time.”

And Everett’s strong special teams extended to the penalty kill as the Tips held Seattle to 0-for-5. The sequence that led to Everett’s fourth goal actually began during a kill.

Both teams had several good scoring chances in the first period, but it was Everett that found the net toward the end, Froese redirecting a centering pass from Shane Harper past Pickard, making it 1-0 with 44.4 seconds remaining.

Everett doubled its lead with another power-play goal 1:31 into the second period. Pickard made an unbelievable save to stone Daniel Bartek on the back door, but Ellington snuck in from the point to chip the rebound over a downed Pickard. A third power-play goal made it 3-0 at 17:27, Alexander beating Pickard up high with a shot from the right circle.

The Tips iced it at 8:56 of the third period when, at the tail end of a penalty kill, Froese chipped the puck past Seattle defenseman Stefan Warg, creating a two-on-zero break with Potuer coming out of the penalty box. Froese fed Potuer for the easy goal.

Silvertips 4, Thunderbirds 0



First Period—1, Everett, Froese 17 (Harper, Tochkin), 19:15 (pp). Penalties—Cloud, Seattle (slashing), 7:11; O’Brien, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct-roughing), 18:51; Ellington, Everett (roughing), 18:51.

Second Period—2, Everett, Ellington 4 (Bartek, Froese), 1:31 (pp). 3, Everett, Alexander 4 (Potuer, Harper), 17:27 (pp). Penalties—Haber, Seattle (tripping), 1:08; McCrea, Everett (tripping), 8:26; Dillon, Seattle (hooking), 12:34; Acolatse, Seattle (roughing), 16:21; Acolatse, Seattle (slashing), 18:23; Alexander, Everett (interference), 19:03.

Third Period—4, Everett, Potuer 8 (Froese), 8:56. Penalties—Potuer, Everett (interference), 6:50; O’Brien, Seattle (high sticking), 11:34; Hunt, Everett (holding), 14:29; Dailey, Everett (interference), 16:42; Acolatse, Seattle (checking from behind), 19:51.

Shots on goal—Seattle 10-7-7—24. Everett 10-7-6—23. Power-play opportunities—Seattle 0 of 5. Everett 3 of 8.

Goalies—Seattle, Pickard 14-12-1-3 (23 shots, 19 saves). Everett, Heemskerk 13-14-3-3 (24 shots, 24 saves).


Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog:

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