By Staci C. and Hailey Robinson – Silvertips staff writers
EVERETT, Wash. – The Everett Silvertips responded in a big way on Saturday against their tough loss to the Portland Winterhawks in game 1 with a tremendous 6-0 victory to even the series back up, 1-1 before going to Portland on Tuesday. Although the emphasis of this is on the 3 stars, it was truly a collective team effort from top to bottom tonight as 11 different Silvertips players contributed to the scoresheet:
1) Patrick Bajkov: Bajkov continues to have a fantastic playoff run as he had a four point night tonight with a hat trick and an assist to seal the deal for the Silvertips. It was the fifth hat trick in Silvertips’ playoff history and Patrick’s third career hat trick. Patrick is tied with 2 other players for 13th overall in points (12) in these playoffs and fittingly enough is sitting in 8th overall in goals (7).
2) Sean Richards: Richards is having a fantastic series against Portland as he got the game winner tonight and an assist on the insurance goal. “Richie” contributed off of the scoresheet as well, considering that he skated incredibly hard throughout the game and was excellent with zone entries and puck possession throughout. There were many times throughout the game where he skated through Portland’s D for nice offensive opportunities.
3) Carter Hart: Hart bounced back in a big way tonight with his 26 save shutout victory against Portland to help the Tips get their series tying win. Carter was remarkably sharp throughout the entire game as he controlled rebounds extremely well and showed off his awesome puck tracking skills. He continues to sit at the top of the leaderboard in goals against average (2.12), save percentage (.932) and shutouts (2). It is very apparent how confident the team is on the ice with him in net behind them.
Head coach Dennis Williams, Bajkov, and Richards discussed the team’s effort to turn around their play after a 5-2 loss in game one.
On the win last night: “It was a good effort by our group. We played well for 60 minutes and the biggest thing we talked about, as we said last night and tonight, is the consistency of our compete shift-in and shift-out. I thought we did a lot of good things out there. Tomorrow’s a new day. Enjoy tonight, but we’ve got to get focused on Tuesday.“
On the Silvertips goals: “Three [goals] right around the crease. That’s what happens when you get to those areas. Against a good goalie and a good team you’ve got to generate second and third opportunities sometimes and score. Not all of them are going to be ESPN highlight goals. It doesn’t matter how the puck goes across the line, you’ve just got to get it across it. Some really great efforts by our guys there tonight.”
On overall performance: “I thought our D did a really good job, our centermen helping down low, and our wingers. I thought all in all it was a good game. We all know the rest of the games aren’t going to be like this. They’re a good hockey team, we got them on a night here tonight, and we have to enjoy it, learn from it, and come back with an even better effort Tuesday.:
On the level of hitting: “What I saw tonight was that we didn’t get in all the hits because we had the puck, which was important. We want to possess the puck as much as we can. I thought our guys just did a really good job of getting back to what gives us the opportunity to win. We brought the puck up the ice quickly, we tracked pucks hard, we did a good job in the D zone. Special teams was great tonight, we killed off three of their power plays, went 2-for-3 on the power play. When you get that, and a great performance by [Hart] in net, it was a good night for sure.”
On playing third and fourth lines more with a big lead: “That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re tyring to manage that as much as you can and not put guys in situations, some of your top guys, where they may be part of extracurriculars and cheap shots and anything like that. I thought our guys did a good job just keeping their cool. We don’t need to get anything after the whistle, we just need to play to the whistle hard and do our business.
Improvement in Game 2: “I think we touched on it yesterday. We didn’t really play up to our standards. We were coming out in the first period knowing what we had to do. I think we did a good job of setting the pace. We just built off that. [Sean Richards] had a great game tonight, obviously scoring the first goal, a nice deflection.
On the Tips scoring two power play goals: “They have a great power play over there with a lot of skill and a lot of talent, so I’m proud of our guys to get it done. Obviously the power play came through as well, so that was nice to see.“
On battles: “I think that’s going to be a big part of this series, battles on the wall and making sure that we’re competing and winning those battles, making sure that we can get the break outside of our zone and get the puck moving towards their net. I think we did a good job of that as well.
Facing Cole Kehler: “Obviously he’s a big goalie, so you need to get bodies there and take away his eyes as much as we can. Obviously we were lucky enough to get a few rebounds and get them in.
On scoring production: “Me, and Patrick, and Matt, I thought we had a great night tonight. After getting that first goal on the first shift, I thought the momentum changed. I thought it just came towards us.“
On assist on Bajkov’s first goal: “I think it was Wylie who gave me the pass in the middle there. I kind of just saw Jokiharju and I heard Fonzy yelling, and I just laid an area pass and luckily Fonzy got to it and Bajks just went on a breakaway and scored.
I thought last night we didn’t play our game, we were playing their game more than ours. Tonight I thought we controlled it a little bit better. Getting to the net, we always talk about that. I thought we did a good job on both ends, offensively and defensively. I thought it was a good night all around. You’d rather be up two-nothing but a split’s not bad going to Portland. It should be a good series.”