EVERETT — Everett Silvertips forwards Connor Dewar and Brian King might be rookies, but both are cognizant of the rivalry the Tips have developed with the Portland Winterhawks.
The two 16-year-olds each scored a goal, with Dewar setting up King for the game-winner at 16:08 in the third period as Everett defeated the visiting Winterhawks 3-2 before 3,176 fans Wednesday at Xfinity Arena.
“We put a lot of emphasis on going to the net and just trying to do whatever it takes — outwork (Portland) and battle hard,” said Dewar, whose second-period goal was his eighth of the season and briefly gave Everett a 2-1 lead. “I know all the division match-ups are pretty big here. I’m starting to realize everyone in this division is a rival.”
King’s goal came from the left circle off a pass from Dewar and was his third tally of the season. Captain Dawson Leedahl also scored for the Silvertips who earned their third win in seven tries this season against the Winterhawks.
“We kind of already knew (about the rivalry) coming in — everybody talked about it — but throughout the year it kind of builds on that and we get to see it for ourselves,” King said. “It’s tough against them always so we just have to pull through.”
The victory means the U.S. Division-leading Tips (30-16-2-2, 64 points) remain five points ahead of Seattle (28-19-3-0, 59 points) in the standings. The Thunderbirds defeated Kamloops 3-1 Wednesday to keep pace with their rivals to the north.
Wednesday’s victory was also just Everett’s second in its last six games and was the first time the Tips had scored more than two goals in their last eight contests.
“We’ll take it — right now a win is a win for us,” Everett head coach Kevin Constantine said. “We haven’t won much lately, and most of my career, when I’ve seen teams lose you don’t generally come out of losing streaks with a 5-0 blowout. That’s not how it happens. You generally kind of scratch your way out of the pit. This is the type of win that is normal when you’ve been losing a little bit. You find a way.”
The Silvertips were short-handed Wednesday with forwards Brandon Ralph (hand), Riley Sutter (leg) and leading scorer Remi Laurencelle (suspension) all out of action. Everett also lost Carson Stadnyk to an undisclosed upper body injury in the second period.
Everett’s first two goals came on power plays while the Tips held Portland scoreless in its one chance on the man advantage.
“Our power play has not been as good lately, so it was nice to see the power play get a couple of goals,” Constantine said. “That’s an important part of your offense that hasn’t been going and tonight we managed to get some goals on the power play.”
A rare misplay by Everett goaltender Carter Hart led to Portland’s first goal.
Hart secured the puck behind the net and inadvertently played it to Rihards Bukarts at the right circle. Bukarts wristed a shot into the net as Hart unsuccessfully tried to scramble back into position, giving the Winterhawks a 1-0 lead at 5:05 in the first period.
Leedahl tied it when he curled behind the net and skated all the way out to the left circle before firing a wrister that snuck through Portland goaltender Adin Hill at 6:05 in the second period during Everett’s first power play.
Dewar then went top shelf from the left side of the crease off a rebound for a 2-1 advantage at 17:17 on Everett’s third power play.
The lead was short-lived, however, as Dominic Turgeon snuck the puck under Hart’s right pad to make it 2-2 at 18:37 in the second.
King added the final goal as the Tips held on during the final moments to close out the Winterhawks.
“When you get in those lulls you’re normally trying to push through some things and it’s tough on you,” King said. “Eventually you’ll get that final push and start getting some wins out of it again.”
Hart finished with 22 saves and his league-leading 29th win of the season. Both teams recorded 24 shots.
The Tips return to action at 7:35 p.m. Friday when they play host to Kamloops.
Laurencelle’s suspension was set at three games for his hit on Seattle defenseman Jerret Smith in last Saturday’s game. Wednesday was the second game missed for Laurencelle, who will return Saturday when the Tips return to Kent to take on the T-Birds.
Silvertips 3, Winterhawks 2
Portland 1 1 0 — 2
Everett 0 2 1 — 3
1st Period—1, Portland, Bukarts 22 5:05. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period—2, Everett, Leedahl 11 (MacDonald), 6:05 (PP). 3, Everett, Dewar 8 (Millar, Fonteyne), 17:17 (PP). 4, Portland, Turgeon 26 (Abols, De Jong), 18:37. Penalties-served by Bukarts Por (too many men), 4:50; Abols Por (holding), 11:21; Veloso Por (checking from behind), 16:33.
3rd Period—5, Everett, King 3 (Dewar), 16:08. Penalties-Dewar Evt (tripping), 1:22.
Shots on Goal—Portland 7-9-8-24. Everett 9-10-5-24.
Power Play Opportunities—Portland 0 / 1; Everett 2 / 3.
Goalies—Portland, Hill 23-21-1-0 (24 shots-21 saves). Everett, Hart 29-15-1-2 (24 shots-22 saves).
For the latest Silvertips news follow Jesse Geleynse on Twitter @jessegeleynse.
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