By Staci C. – Silvertips Staff Writer
EVERETT, Wash. – Aaron Irving’s late extra attacker goal was answered by Donovan Neuls’ late rebound marker with less than a minute left in regulation, helping the Seattle Thunderbirds sneak past the Everett Silvertips, 3-2 in Game 1 of the WHL Playoffs second round before 4,588 fans at XFINITY Arena on Friday night.
Opening on home ice, the Tips dropped their first game 1 loss since the 2014 opening round, breaking a streak of five straight wins in that situation. Carter Hart earned second star honors with 30 saves, while both teams began the best-of-seven series facing off for the third time in four years in the playoffs, separated by just 45 minutes of drive time in the greater Seattle region.
The Silvertips will battle the Thunderbirds for game two in Everett tomorrow, April 8 at 7:05 PM PT (Fox Sports 1380 / WHL Live). Tickets are still available and doors will open at 6:00 p.m. at XFINITY Arena. Individual and group tickets, as low as $12, can be purchased at http://everettsilvertips.com/playoffs.
ROUND 2: EVERETT vs SEATTLE (Seattle leads, 1-0) COVERAGE
GAME 1: at EVERETT | Friday, Apr. 7 – 7:35pm (XFINITY Arena) Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 2: at EVERETT | Saturday, Apr. 8 – 7:05pm (XFINITY Arena) Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 3: at Seattle | Tuesday, Apr. 11 – 7:05pm (ShoWare Center) Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 4: at Seattle | Friday, Apr. 14 – 7:35pm (ShoWare Center) Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 5: at EVERETT | Sat., Apr. 15 – 7:05pm (XFINITY Arena) ** Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 6: at Seattle | Tue., Apr. 18 – 7:05pm (ShoWare Center) ** Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 7: at EVERETT | Wed., Apr. 19 – 7:05pm (XFINITY Arena) ** Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
** If necessary
The first period was perhaps the toughest the Tips have seen so far in these playoffs. The first period was frankly the Carter Hart show; as usual, he made a lot of big saves and was able to keep Seattle off the scoreboard even though they saw a lot of zone time and were able to hit the net often throughout the first.
At 16:04, Everett was dinged for too many men and Riley Sutter served the bench penalty, giving Seattle their first power play of the night. Seattle had a lot of good looks on the power play and had a considerable amount of zone time, but the Silvertips were able to get the kill and keep the score 0-0.
The second period did not have an ideal start as Patrick Bajkov took a hooking penalty at 57 seconds, giving Seattle their second power play of the game. Mathew Barzal was appearing in his first game these playoffs and started out with a bang as he got the power play goal at 2:07, making the score 1-0 Thunderbirds.
A spark seemed to go off for Everett after the media timeout and they started to increase their speed and go to the net more. Everett got their first chance on the power play as Nolan Volcan went off for high sticking at 15:04.
For Everett’s 10th shot of the game, Eetu Tuulola went top shelf thanks to a big rebound off Carl Stankowski and helpers from Noah Juulsen and Connor Dewar, to tie up the game 1-1 at 17:53. The shot count improved for the Tips in the second half of the second as they were able to generate 10 shots versus Seattle’s 13.
Everett started the third period with a lot of life and were able to match Seattle’s speed quite well. In a rush brought on by Seattle, Alexander True was able to get the puck to Tyler Adams who then fired the puck at Carter Hart, who made the save.
Tyler Adams retrieved his own rebound and roofed it above Hart, who was on his stomach from the previous save. Seattle got the 2-1 lead at 5:31.
Everett did not let up off the gas after Seattle’s go ahead goal and continued putting pressure and generating chances, making a great improvement. At 11:44, Turner Ottenbreit was sent to the box for a holding penalty, giving Everett their second power play of the game. Although Everett did not score on the power play, they were able to cycle and set up the play much better than they did on the first power play.
With 2:12 to go, Carter Hart was pulled for the sixth attacker to give Everett a chance to tie it up. At 18:22, Aaron Irving got the big tying goal thanks to a beautiful pass from Dominic Zwerger, making the score 2-2 and XFinity erupted on Irving’s slap shot from the right circle. Unfortunately, the excitement was short lived as Seattle got the game winning goal less than 40 seconds later, making the score 3-2; the game winner was scored by Donovan Neuls.
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Dawson Butt, Ian Walker, Montana Onyebuchi, Keith Anderson, and Gianni Fairbrother … the Silvertips fell to 13-11 lifetime in Game 1 situations … Zwerger has 11 points in 7 playoff games … Carter Hart moved his save percentage to .933 in the playoffs.
Silvertips season ticket or mini-plan packages are available at www.everettsilvertips.com/season or by calling (425) 252-5100.
— SILVERTIP COUNTRY —