The Silvertips have been able to be competitive in games due in large part to spectacular goaltending from Carter Hart. Offensive production, on the other hand, has been the biggest issue. Heading into Wednesday night's matchup against Spokane, Everett had only scored 29 goals in 13 games. Matt Fonteyne led Everett with four goals while Patrick Bajkov's nine points led the team. Unfortunately for the Silvertips, their offensive struggles continued in Spokane.
Everett returned home for a rematch against Spokane on Friday and a rare game against the Swift Current Broncos. The Silvertips offense would finally produce with Everett scoring nine goals over the weekend. Bajkov would be the first Silvertip this season the reach double digit points.
Lost to Spokane 3-0
This was the Silvertips second time facing Spokane this season. The result of the first was a 5-4 overtime win in Everett's home opener. Everett would play this game without the service of Noah Juulsen, who played the previous two nights in the CHL Canada-Russia Series. Everett came out firing the first period outshooting Spokane 11-3, but both teams were held scoreless after one period. At the 15:19 mark of the second period, Mackenzie Dwyer would be given a penalty for hooking.
This led to a Spokane power play goal from Curtis Miske. After two periods Everett would only trail 1-0. They were not be able to find an equalizer. At 10:48 in the third period, Matt Fonteyne would be given two minutes for interference, which led to another Chiefs power play goal by Kolten Olynek. Kailer Yamamoto would seal the 3-0 victory for Spokane with an empty netter at 19:19. Carter Hart stopped 29-of-31 shots in the loss.
Defeated Spokane 5-2
Everett returned home two days later to square off against Spokane again. Noah Juulsen returned to the lineup but Cole MacDonald sat out with an upper body injury. Everett would only dress five defensemen with Dawson Leedahl taking some shifts to help. "It's always more tiring; we had Leedahl back there for a few shifts and that helped out," said rookie defenseman Jake Christiansen.
A scrum at the 12:34 mark of the first period would result into a power play for Everett. A little over a minute in the power play, Graham Millar capitalized off a deflection from Matt Fonteyne to give Everett the 1-0 lead. The Silvertips would build a 2-0 lead at 1:09 in the second period when Kevin Davis wristed one past Lasse Petersen. The Chiefs would cut the lead to one with less than 16 seconds left on the five-on-three power play when Kailer Yamamoto snuck one past Carter Hart. Heading into the third period, Everett led 2-1.
Patrick Bajkov would take a turnover from Spokane and toe drag past a defender to score and help Everett regain a two goal lead. Six minutes later Everett struck again with Jake Christiansen scoring his first career WHL goal. "It's great to get the first goal, it takes a lot of weight of my back," said Christiansen. At 12:23, Everett would increase their lead to 5-1 with a wrap-around goal from Remi Laurencelle. Spokane got one more power play goal but it was not be enough as Everett went on to win 5-2. Carter Hart stopped 15-of-17 shots to pick up his ninth win of the season. In assessing the ‘Tips performance, Patrick Bajkov said: "We had a lot better compete today, we were more mentally focused going into the game knowing we had a little bit of a breakdown the other night."
Defeated Swift Current 4-0
Everett returned to action the following night, matching up with the Swift Current Broncos. Carter Hart and the Silvertips defense had a tough task ahead facing Jon Martin who leads the WHL with 21 goals. Everett would strike first with Dawson Leedahl centering a pass and Remi Laurencelle burying it past Broncos goaltender past Travis Child. Only seven seconds later the Silvertips would strike again with Dawson Leedahl scoring on a wrister to build the lead 2-0. After two periods, Everett maintained a 2-0 lead with shots in favor of the Silvertips 24-18.
The Silvertips showed no mercy in the third period. Remi Laurencelle would score his second goal of the night on the power play at 13:33. With 50 seconds remaining in the game, Devon Skoleski would score on a backhander off a rebound to give Everett the definitive 4-0 win. There was a brief moment of concern when Carter Hart took a hard shot off the facemask. He stayed in the game, stopping 23 shots and picking up his third shutout of the season and seventh of his career in the win.
During their weekend series Everett scored nine goals. To put in perspective how huge that is, the Silvertips scored the same amount in their past seven games prior to the weekend. "It felt nice, I think it's a big confidence boost," Bajkov said about the offensive outburst.
Everett begins their Central Division swing Tuesday night against the Kootenay Ice. This will be a tough stretch with the Silvertips playing four games in the next five days. One has to wonder with this stretch if backup goaltender Mario Petit will make his first start of the season.
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Carter Hart has been named WHL goaltender of the week. Hart went 2-1 with a 1.33 goals against average, a .944 save percentage, and one shutout during the week. Currently Hart is 10-5-0-1 and leading the league with a 1.85 goals against average and .934 save percentage.