WHL notebook: Silvertips rise to top spot in league

By Jesse Geleynse

Herald writer

EVERETT — The Western Hockey League comprises 22 teams across two states and four provinces.

Twenty-one of those teams are looking up this week at the Everett Silvertips, who knocked off Eastern Conference-leading Medicine Hat 4-3 Friday to assume the top spot in the overall standings.

The Tips remain there despite being idle the last two nights as Medicine Hat lost at Seattle and Portland to finish its first swing through the U.S. Division with a mark of 0-3.

For a quick refresher, the Tips seemed to take control by scoring four times in the second period to take a 4-1 lead into the third on Friday. But the Tigers average better than five goals per game.

“I think going into the third we knew they were going to come out hard,” Everett captain Noah Juulsen said. “They had a 10-game winning streak going and I think they came out hard and I don’t think we were ready at the start, but I think we figured it out.”

The Tigers scored twice early in the third period to pull within 4-3 before the Tips held on for the win.

“I thought it was an entertaining game,” Everett head coach Kevin Constantine said. “It had a lot of different elements to it. It got chippy at times, there was goal-scoring at times and the puck moved up and down the rink. So I thought it was an entertaining game. That’s not necessarily what you’re looking for when you’re coaching, but even the fact they brought it back to 4-3 and went on a power play was exciting.”

Fonteyne fine after brawl

The chippiness reached a head after Patrick Bajkov’s third goal pushed Everett’s lead to 3-1. Juulsen finished a hard check of a Tigers player against the boards, and a line brawl ensued.

Medicine Hat’s David Quenneville pulled Everett’s Matt Fonteyne out of the pile, but at that moment Medicine Hat’s Zach Fischer emerged from the pile and swung at the first thing he saw: Fonteyne’s face.

“I was a little shaken up, but I was fine,” said Fonteyne, who did not miss a shift.

Fischer, who entered Friday’s game second in goals among Tigers with 17, was assessed an as-yet-to-be-determined suspension for the fight.

Hart’s Goaltender of the Week streak ends

Everett goalie Carter Hart won the last two WHL Goaltender of the Week awards, but that streak came to an end Monday when the league announced Connor Ingram of the Kamloops Blazers as the weekly winner.

Ingram was 3-0-0-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average, a .950 save percentage and a shutout last week. Ingram and Hart are headed to Team Canada World Juniors selection camp beginning next week.

Regina defenseman Sergey Zborovskiy was the WHL Player of the Week after scoring three goals with six assists as the Pats went 2-0-0-0 last week.

Tips add goaltender

In anticipation of Hart’s presumed absence with World Juniors coming up later this month, the Silvertips made a deal to acquire goaltender Dorrin Luding from the Saskatoon Blades for a sixth-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

Luding is a 1999-born netminder currently playing for the Valley West Hawks of the BCMML where he has a 4-4-0 record with a 2.93 GAA in nine games. He played in one game last year with the Blades, allowing one goal while saving 10 of the 11 shots he faced in one period of action.

Luding, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, was taken by the Blades in the third round of the 2014 bantam draft.

For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @JesseGeleynse.

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