EVERETT - The Everett Silvertips faced off against the Kelowna Rockets tonight at Angel of the Winds Arena. The evening was designated Star Wars Night as fans snagged free collectible posters and enjoyed photo opportunities throughout the concourse.
The game kicked off quickly as the Silvertips found themselves on the power-play just 18 seconds into the first period. They were able to cycle the puck comfortably before Kevin Davis fed Patrick Bajkov who was patiently waiting above the right circle. With 19:15 left on the clock, Bajkov kept his composure and was able to find the back of the net as the Tips continued their impressive power-play run — going 3-for-5 last night.
Kelowna responded 14 seconds later after a shot hit the post and deflected off Carter Hart into the goal. It was an unlucky bounce as Kelowna defender and Tampa Bay Lighting prospect Cal Foote recorded his 12th goal of the season.
With 8:15 left in the first period, Silvertips forward Sean Richards won the battle down low as he kicked the puck towards a cycling Bajkov. Bajkov then fed a cross-ice pass to Davis who teed up a rocket which beat Kelowna goalie Cole Tisdale under the blocker. Both Richards and Bajkov would record the assist.
The temperature in the building would rise as Dawson Butt, a Buckley, WA native, dropped the gloves with the 6’6” 220lb Kyle Pow of Kelowna. No bell would be needed as Butt made work of Pow as he dropped him to the ice after some good back-and-forth action. The fight seemed to develop from thin air which suggests that the two may have simply decided amongst themselves to dance.
The Rockets outshot the Silvertips 12-to-7 after one.
The Silvertips would get some puck-luck of their own after Rockets defender Gordie Ballhorn put one in the back of his own net. A mistake that increased the lead to two and one which the Silvertips Twitter account celebrated. The goal was credited to Garrett Pilon for his 24th of the season.
ballhorn scores for Everett and the puckhorn sounds 3-1 !!!!— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) February 4, 2018
Kelowna would bring themselves within one as the Silvertips were caught puck watching with 14:21 left in the second period. Leif Mattson found a streaking Cal Foote who was able to beat Carter Hart for his second goal of the evening.
Chaos would break loose a couple minutes later as Dillon Dube decided stopping wasn’t an option and plowed into a defenseless Hart. The Silvertips quickly jumped into action as four white jerseys surrounded him. Ballhorn, most likely agitated after scoring an own goal, jumped into an already ensuing battle with Richards who was eventually pealed away by an official. Although the puck found the back of the net, it was quickly called off for goalie interference.
The Rockets would quickly regret their actions after Riley Sutter put the puck in the net off a rebound. Dawson fired a rocket low to the ice which Tisdale left hanging above the crease. 4-2 Silvertips.
With 30-seconds remaining in the second period, the Silvertips cleared the puck from their own end before streaking through the neutral zone. Bajkov held the puck at the top of the left circle as his teammates followed closely behind. He paused to look off the defenders, who both fell for the move, before sending one top shelf and adding to the Silvertips lead. His second of the night.
The roles reversed as the Tips led the Rockets 31-to-17 in shots on goal after two.
Bajkov sent the Silvertips up by four after completing his second career hat-trick on a power-play with 7:46 remaining. Connor Dewar made a move down low and cut in front of the net for a shot. Bajkov jumped on the rebound and netted his 27th on the season.
The game would turn physical and the Silvertips would fend off some cheap shots by an aggravated Rockets squad — including a punch to the head of Wyatte Wylie by Braydyn Chizen.
With two men in the box for Kelowna, Everett maintained possession in the offensive zone. They drew the three Rocket defenders down low before sending the puck towards the top of the key for Garrett Pilon. Pilon would fire towards a busy net and break the goal-line for his second of the evening.
The boys in white would add salt to the wound with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game when Martin Fasko-Rudas sent a tight angle shot, off the rebound, into the back of the net. A lengthy review would only confirm the goal.
Final shots on goal were 42 Everett, 25 Kelowna.
The Silvertips improved to 42-17-1-2 and maintain first in the Western Conference. They next take the ice on February 9th when they host the Spokane Chiefs.