By Staci C. – Silvertips staff writer
EVERETT, Wash. – Carter Hart, nearly securing his 19th career shutout, stopped 35 of 36 shots while Patrick Bajkov and Dominic Zwerger each earned multi point games to help the Everett Silvertips clinch a playoff spot and cruise to a 3-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers before a crowd of 6,377 at XFINITY Arena in WHL action on Saturday.
The win secured the Silvertips 14th straight playoff berth, the only team to never miss the playoffs in the WHL since 2003-04. Their magic number was reduced to 10 points for home ice advantage and Everett is now 23-6-2-1 at home. The Silvertips maintained a three point lead for first place in the U.S. Division.
Once again the Tips came out swinging tonight with a goal from Matt Fonteyne 54 seconds into the game to make it 1-0, thanks to a strong setup by Kevin Davis and Patrick Bajkov. Shortly after the goal, the Tips went on the power play after Eetu Tuulola was checked from behind by Jackson Shepard at 2:15.
The Tips were unable to capitalize on the power play but less than two minutes after the penalty expired, incredible passing by Dominic Zwerger and Kevin Davis led to a goal by Patrick Bajkov at 5:56. After the goal, Kamloops took a timeout to settle things down.
At 12:12 Devon Skoleski took an interference penalty giving the Blazers their first power play of the evening. The Tips managed to keep the Blazers at the perimeter and did not allow any quality scoring chances, keeping the score at 2-0. Nolan Kneen took a high sticking penalty at 19:33 and the Silvertips ended the period with a power play.
The period begun with the remaining power play for the Tips but the Blazers came out strong and the Tips were unable to capitalize on the man advantage. The Blazers were dominant throughout the second period and Carter Hart saw a lot of action in the Tips’ zone.
At 7:48, Riley Sutter took an interference penalty and Kamloops got their second power play of the evening. The Blazers had some solid chances but the special teams for the Tips continue to be impressive and Blazers came up empty handed. Kamloops were buzzing throughout the period and Tips gave up a lot of scoring chances and shots, but Carter Hart reminded sharp and kept the score 2-0.
The third period was a better period for the Tips overall, as they regained some of the control that the Blazers had in the second period. Ondrej Vala took an interference penalty at 5:11 but unfortunately, the Tips were unable to score despite multiple chances.
At 9:36, Eetu Tuulola went in all alone against Ferguson and sniped the puck past him, making it 3-0 for the Tips. Sean Richards took a late interference penalty with less than 5 minutes left in the game but the special teams did not allow any shots in the 2 minute penalty kill.
Kamloops pulled the goaltender for the sixth attacker and Carter Hart was able to give the empty net a shot but missed by a couple of feet. With 45.6 seconds left, Lane Bauer broke the shutout bid with a goal through traffic to make the score 3-1, but it was too little, too late for the Blazers.
Hart’s counterpart, Dylan Ferguson, made 24 saves.
The Silvertips will return to play on the road in Kent tomorrow, visiting the Seattle Thunderbirds at 5:05 PM PT (Fox Sports 1380 / WHL Live).
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 4 / WALKER
24 / SKRUMEDA 3 / JUULSEN
23 / CHRISTIANSEN 38 / DAVIS
29 / WYLIE 55 / IRVING
70 / HART
31 / PETIT
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Montana Onyebuchi, Keith Anderson and Orrin Centazzo … Zwerger and Bajkov earned the 41st multi point games of their careers … the Silvertips are 13-1-2 in the last 16 games against Kamloops.
Silvertips season ticket or mini-plan packages are available at www.everettsilvertips.com/season or by calling (425) 252-5100.
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