By Staci C. – Silvertips Staff Writer
EVERETT, Wash. – Eetu Tuulola’s goal with 31.2 seconds left in the second stood as the Teddy Bear Toss goal, sparking a rally to lift the Everett Silvertips to a 4-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks before 5,733 fans at XFINITY Arena on Saturday.
Moving to 9-1-1 in their last eleven games, the Silvertips improved to a WHL best 16-2-1 on home ice, surging to a 12 point lead for first place in the U.S. Division to enter the holiday break.
Thanks to two point nights from Eetu Tuulola and Kevin Davis, the Tips have 53 points and are one point behind Prince George and Regina for the top seed in the league. With the Silvertips’ win this evening, they are now 4-1-0-0 against the Winterhawks this season.
Devon Skoleski had the game winning goal and nine different players registered a point.
Early into the game, the Winterhawks came out flying and generated a lot of shots within the first ten minutes of the game and did not give Everett a lot of space which resulted in a very low shot count. Coach Kevin Constantine called a time-out early on to settle the game down.
At 8:43, Dominic Zwerger and Brad Ginnell were called for consequential roughing penalties and there were two minutes of 4-on-4 hockey. Portland continued their fast pace but Everett managed to put more pressure and get chances, although they did not result in goals. Keoni Texeira got called for roughing at 16:56 but Everett was unable to score during the two minute power play. After only having 3 shots through 10 minutes of play, Everett ended up leading the shot count 14-11 by the end of the first.
Early into the second period, Cody Glass broke the tie and got the Winterhawks on the board at 2:53 to make the score 1-0 with a helper from Keegan Iverson. Everett continued to generate a lot of offensive chances but nothing was breaking through and Cole Kehler was a tough goaltender to solve throughout.
At 7:25, Skyler McKenzie took a goaltender interference penalty which gave Everett another power play. After a slew of shots and chances, Everett remained scoreless. Montana Onyebuchi took an interference penalty at 11:10 and the penalty kill as well as Mario Petit looked solid and managed to keep Portland from doubling their lead. The pressure to score the teddy bear was growing as every second passed and the second period was coming to a close.
At 19:28, thanks to nifty passing by Kevin Davis and Graham Millar, Eetu Tuulola was able to squeeze a goal past Kehler for the teddy bear toss celebration and to make the score 1-1. An intermission took place to clean up the bears and the last 32 seconds were played at the beginning of the third period.
The first half of the third period saw a lot of fast, end-to-end hockey between Portland and Everett. A lot of chances were generated by both sides but thanks to stellar goaltending from Mario Petit and Cole Kehler, the shots were not getting through. Alex Overhardt took a high sticking penalty at 8:55 but the Silvertips came up empty handed on that two minute power play.
At 12:22, Patrick Bajkov sent the puck up to Dominic Zwerger and Zwerger fed a beautiful pass to Matt Fonteyne, who roofed the puck, to make the score 2-1. At 16:39, to keep things interesting, Cody Glass snuck a puck past Mario Petit for his second goal of the night and the score was tied 2-2.
Just 31 seconds later, Devon Skoleski scored a huge goal with helpers from Jake Christiansen and Eetu Tuulola, which made the score 3-2. Portland shortly after pulled the goaltender for the sixth attacker and Connor Dewar scored an empty net goal with help from Kevin Davis at 18:12. The remaining minute and change of the game saw a lot of penalties. Ryan Hughes and Montana Onyebuchi took consequential roughing penalties at 18:52, Alex Overhardt took a slashing penalty and Keegan Iverson took a roughing penalty at 19:21, and Everett ended the game on a 4-on-3 power play.
Mario Petit’s counterpart, Cole Kehler, made 41 saves.
The Silvertips will return from the break with a game at Vancouver on Tuesday, December 27 at 7:00 PM PT (Fox Sports 1380 / 95.3 FM / Tips App / WHL Live).
SILVERTIPS LINE COMBOS
96 / ZWERGER 17 / FONTEYNE 8 / BAJKOV
22 / MILLAR 28 / SKOLESKI 82/ TUULOLA
43 / DEWAR 14 / SUTTER 33 / KING
15 / RICHARDS 12 / GOETHALS 19 / KINDOPP
24 / SKRUMEDA 38 / DAVIS
23 / CHRISTIANSEN 5 / ONYEBUCHI
29 / WYLIE 4 / WALKER
31 / PETIT
35 / LUDING
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Carter Hart, Noah Juulsen, Brandson Hein, Orrin Centazzo, and Brett Kemp. The Silvertips improved to 33-19-3-0-3 at home against the Americans. The Silvertips improved to 37-26-1-3-2 at home against the Winterhawks. Tuulola’s goal was his third point in as many games. Petit earned his third straight victory.
Silvertips season ticket or mini-plan packages are available at www.everettsilvertips.com/season or by calling (425) 252-5100.