SPOKANE, Wash. – Sean Richards earned a pair of assists and the Everett Silvertips seized first place in the U.S. Division and Western Conference in a 4-0 victory over the Spokane Chiefs before 3,721 fans at Spokane Arena in WHL action on Wednesday.
Carter Hart stopped all 17 shots he faced for his 9th shutout of the season and 19th of his career which reached two behind Leland Irving for the Tips all-time record. Former Chief Dominic Zwerger, saluted by the crowd and his ex-teammates at the end of the game, recorded a goal in his final game at Spokane Arena.
The Silvertips, with seven games to play in the regular season, reduced their magic number to one point for home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs and Spokane was eliminated from playoff contention. The Silvertips next game is up against the host and second place Seattle Thunderbirds, Friday at 7:35 p.m. (1380 AM / 95.3 FM / Tips App / WHL Live) at ShoWare Center in the final meeting of the season.
After a pair of hit posts, Cal Babych stole an errant cross ice pass by Spokane and parked a forehand bid past Jayden Sittler at 5:48 for a 1-0 lead. Devon Skoleski also scored in back-to-back games, a tap-in rebound after Bryce Kindopp was stopped on his one-timer from the left circle, leaving Skoleski with his 14th goal at 8:16.
In the second period, Zwerger cruised behind the Spokane defense and tucked a backhand deke past Sittler for a breakaway goal at 4:53 for a 3-0 cushion. Just 1:04 later, Richards’ feed to the blueline was hammered by Aaron Irving through traffic for a 4-0 lead.
The Silvertips outshot Spokane 27-10 in the first two periods and Hart turned away a pair of grade-A chances in the third period – a snap shot by Hudson Elyniuk and a one-timer by Kailer Yamamoto from the left circle.
Sittler, one night after allowing five goals on 26 shots at Seattle, took the loss with a 32 save effort.
SILVERTIPS LINE COMBOS
96 / ZWERGER 17 / FONTEYNE 8 / BAJKOV
43 / DEWAR 28 / SKOLESKI 19 / KINDOPP
15 / RICHARDS 14 / SUTTER 82 / TUULOLA
18 / HEIN 33 / KING 77 / BABYCH
24 / SKRUMEDA 3 / JUULSEN
23 / CHRISTIANSEN 38 / DAVIS
29 / WYLIE 55 / IRVING
70 / HART
31 / PETIT
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Ian Walker, Montana Onyebuchi, Keith Anderson and Orrin Centazzo … the Silvertips reached the 40-win plateau for the fifth time in franchise history and the second time in three seasons … the Silvertips finished the season series 4-2-1-1 against Spokane.
Silvertips season ticket or mini-plan packages are available at www.everettsilvertips.com/season or by calling (425) 252-5100.