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WHL US DIVISION – Everett Silvertips Notebook: Shorthanded ‘Tips earn crucial wins against division foes

After a disappointing loss in Tri-City, Everett returned home to defeat division rivals Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs despite skating two players short of a full lineup.

Everett Silvertips celebrating a goal
Everett Silvertips celebrating a goal
Ben Nelms/Getty Images

For the second straight week Everett embarked on another three-in-three weekend beginning with a matchup in Tri-City on February 19. Everett would then return home for games against the Seattle Thunderbirds and Spokane Chiefs.

Everett was hanging on a five point lead for the US Division. The Silvertips continued to be plagued with injuries and were forced to play three straight games short of a full lineup.

Loss to Tri-City 2-0

The Silvertips were a forward short of a full lineup for this matchup. At 16:06 in the first period Morgan Geekie would be called for a trip giving Everett their second power play of the night. The Silvertips were unable to cash in during the man advantage on a previous power play attempt and that trend would continue.

Carter Hart would misplay the puck. Mackenze Stewart would fire a slap shot before Hart could race back in net giving Tri-City a shorthanded goal at 17:22. Yan Khomenko would get two minutes for a trip at 18:39 but time would expire before the penalty was over. Everett would trail 1-0 after the first period despite holding a slight shot advantage 9-7 over the Americans.

Tri-City would start the second period on a power play with 39 seconds remaining on the Khomenko penalty. 18 seconds in Parker Bowles would bury a backdoor shot past Hart giving Tri-City a power play goal and 2-0 lead. Everett would continue to trail 2-0 after two periods with shots being even at 9.

Despite heavily outshooting Tri-City 15-1 during the final period, Everett was unable to get one past Evan Sarthou and would fall 2-0. Carter Hart stopped 15/17 shots in the loss.

Defeated Seattle 4-3

Everett returned home the following night for a matchup against the division rival Seattle Thunderbirds. Seattle defeated Spokane the previous night and now trailed Everett three points in the division. Everett would now skate two players short of a full lineup with Jake Christiansen out with an illness.

Only 1:51 to start and Everett would be on the penalty kill at only 1:51 in, as Devon Skoleski was called for a hook. Seattle would score on the power play at 3:26 when Devon Neuls put away a loose puck that was mishandled by Hart.

A little less than two minutes later Skoleski would make up for his penalty and help even the game beating Logan Flodell glove side with a wrister. The game would remain even at one after the first period with Everett ahead in shots 14-9.

Everett would get a power play opportunity at 10:38 when Scott Eansor was given two minutes for a hook. It would take Everett only 11 seconds to capitalize on the man advantage. Matt Fonteyne sent a feed to Carson Stadnyk down by the right post who then proceeded to bury a backdoor shot past Flodell.

Everett would remain on top 2-1 after two periods while heavily outshooting Seattle 14-5. At 18 seconds into the third, Remi Laurencelle would help Everett gain a two goal lead. Laurencelle wristed a shot near the blue line that snuck through traffic past Flodell for his team leading 26th goal of the season. The goal by Laurencelle ended a 12 game scoring drought.

Soon after, Noah Juulsen would receive a penalty for holding an opponent's stick and Ryan Gropp's power play goal would help Seattle get back within a goal. Seattle would get another power play opportunity at 17:16 when Laurencelle was called for a hook. Less than a minute on the man advantage Ethan Bear would score on a second chance effort after his first shot was blocked by Brian King.

With less than two minutes remaining the game was even at three.Just as Skoleski did at the beginning of the game, Laurencelle would make up for his penalty and scored with 16 seconds remaining in the game.

Laurencelle buried the puck off a deflection from Stadnyk's shot giving Everett the 4-3 lead. Everett would hold on in the remaining seconds and defeat Seattle for the sixth time this season. Carter Hart stopped 20/23 shots in the win.

Defeated Spokane 4-1

Everett had to put their huge win over Seattle from the previous night behind them and focus on Spokane. The Silvertips did not want to repeat a similar situation that occurred at the end of January.

Everett was coming off a huge 2-1 win over Seattle but proceeded to get blown out 4-1 by Spokane the following night. "We've lost the last two times we beat Seattle; we lost our games following," said Coach Constantine. "You have a big emotional rivalry game and then a little bit of a letup, that was a bit of our focus today. Let's not letup after a big win last night."

The Silvertips came out firing and would jump to an early lead at 2:32 during the first period. Remi Laurencelle would win a faceoff in Spokane's zone that would end up on the stick of Carson Stadnyk. Stadnyk would send a shot from the high slot that would beat Tyson Verhelst. "We knew coming in that we had to get a good start and I thought Stads' (Stadnyk's) goal really set a tone for the night," said Bajkov.

The Silvertips would increase their lead 2-0 at 7:32 with a goal from Patrick Bajkov. "We're all a little tired after a three-in-three, getting those first two (goals) in the first period were huge for us and we definitely built off it," said Cole MacDonald.

After one period Everett was well under control leading 2-0 while heavily outshooting Spokane 13-3. The Silvertips would increase their lead at 13:08 in the second period with a goal from Yan Khomenko during a delayed penalty. Khomenko backhanded a rebound from a Cole MacDonald shot past a scrambling Verhelst.

The Silvertips would go on the man advantage at 18:19 when Evan Fiala was called for interference. Patrick Bajkov would get his second of the night on the Fiala penalty when he zipped a wrister past Verhelst at 19:29.

After two periods Everett had a commanding 4-0 lead despite Spokane holding a slight 10-9 shot advantage. With 32 seconds remaining in the game Hudson Elynuik would break Carter Hart's shutout.

Elynuik received a penalty for interference. As time expired on the penalty kill, a Tristen Pfeifer shot took a bounce that would led to a breakaway goal.

Hart with the near shutout stopped 20/21 shots to pick up his 33rd win of the season.

"For sure it was a big mental thing, we knew coming into tonight that we've had a few disappointing efforts after some big wins," said Bajkov. "Big game last night obviously coming off the big win. You just have to put it behind you and make sure your looking forward and make sure these next two points are what really matters. It was good to pull out four (points) this weekend."

Coach Constantine had nothing but praise for the players after being shorthanded during the weekend "I take my hat off to the players for being able to do that, five D (defensemen) in and out and 11 forwards so everybody had to log more minutes."

"Occasionally you can actually get into a little bit more of a rhythm when you play more but not necessarily when you're playing three games in three nights; I applaud the effort of our players, its outstanding how hard they work."

Everett continues to be one of the most disciplined teams with the fewest penalty minutes in the league with 504 minutes.

Everett also has given up the fewest amount of goals not only in the WHL but entire CHL with 132.  "Discipline, details, and playing the game hard are things that we have to do to be successful 'cause we're not a high scoring team. The disciplines a pillar on something we have to do to have success," said Coach Constantine.

With the exception of Remi Laurencelle, the Silvertips do not have a true goal scorer. When asked about the goal scorers on the team, Coach Constantine offered: "We're a do things by committee team; our strength is that we're a team. It takes a committee of guys to score. A guy like Connor Dewar chipping in, anybody chipping in. Our D has to be a big part of our offense because we're not like a Barzal (Mathew) or another team that might have two guys that really carry the team. We have to do it as a group."

The Silvertips are near bottom of the league in regards to goals scored. Kootenay is last with 125 goals but Everett is tied next with Swift Current only scoring 156 goals.

The Silvertips regained a seven point lead over Seattle for the US Division lead. Seattle sat idle Sunday and will play against Vancouver on Tuesday February 23. Everett will return to action Wednesday February 24 against Kelowna then will embark on another three-in-three weekend with home games against Kamloops and Tri-City and a Matchup at Seattle.

More Tips News

Silvertips forward prospect Ryan Savage helped Team USA claim gold at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway defeating Canada 5-2.

Savage hails from Scottsdale, Arizona was selected by Everett in the fourth round during the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft.

Savage played six games during the tournament and tallied one assist.