EVERETT, Wash. – Juuso Välimäki scored twice, including the eventual winner for the Tri-City Americans to get past the Everett Silvertips, 5-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Championship at Angel of the Winds Arena on Saturday night before a crowd of 7,812.
Patrick Dea made 35 saves as the Americans overcame the Silvertips in an elimination game. The Tips lead the series 3-2 as they’ll head back to Kennewick for game six. Connor Dewar scored both goals for Everett in the loss. The Silvertips were 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Silvertips get another shot to claim the Conference championship in Game 6 in Kennewick on Monday, April 30 at 7:05 PM PT (Fox Sports 1380 / WHL Live).
ROUND 3: EVERETT vs TRI-CITY (Tips lead series, 3-2) COVERAGE
GAME 1: at EVERETT 3 – Tri-City 2
GAME 2: Tri-City 5 – at Everett 3
GAME 3: EVERETT 8 – Tri-City 4
GAME 4: EVERETT 3 – Tri-City 1
GAME 5: Tri-City 5 – at Everett 2
GAME 6: at Tri-City | Mon., Apr. 30 — 7:05pm (Toyota Center) Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
GAME 7: at EVERETT | Tues., May 1 – 7:05pm (AOTW Arena) ** Fox Sports 1380 / FM 95.3 / Tips App
** If necessary
The Silvertips got off to a lightning quick start, with Connor Dewar scoring only seven seconds into the game for an early lead to set a new Tips record and tie a WHL record for fastest goal to begin a playoff game. They dominated the early part of the period, with several good chances, but in terms of possession the second half of the period belonged to the Americans. Two penalties, one by Patrick Bajkov and one by Gianni Fairbrother, led to the Silvertips spending quite a bit of time on the penalty kill. The Americans, however, didn’t manage to capitalize on the power play. With Tri-City leading in shots, Carter Hart made several key saves to keep the period scoreless on the Americans end. The Silvertips ended the first period with 38 seconds of power play time.
It was the Americans turn to score early in the second. The Tips were unable to capitalize on the 1:22 of power play time they had to begin the period, and Tri-City slipped one past Hart soon after to tie it up 1-1 at 2:29 by Valimaki.
While a penalty by Maxwell James sent the Americans to the penalty kill yet again, the power play proved as fruitless for the Tips as it had for Tri-City in the first period despite several chances. Ten minutes after their first goal, Nolan Yaremko went to the net and broke the tie for the Americans to put them up 2-1. A scrum at the net at 15:36 led to matching unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for James and Sean Richards, and at 16:10 each team added another player to the box, Connor Dewar for slashing and Riley Sawchuck for cross-checking. Despite a playoff-high 19 shots in a period for the Silvertips, they ended the second scoreless and down a goal.
The Americans capitalized first yet again in the third period, with Välimäki scoring at 5:23 to widen the Tri-City lead to 3-1. A delay of game penalty by Ondrej Vala at 10:28 put the Silvertips down a man, but the penalty kill continued its success in shutting down the Tri-City power play. However, Everett remained scoreless, and Tri-City’s Parker AuCoin slipped a snap shot from the right circle behind Hart for the 4-1 lead with only 4:03 remaining.
Down by three, the Silvertips pulled Hart, a decision that paid off as Dewar scored his second of the night.
The Everett net stayed empty, and Michael Rasmussen put the puck in to make the score 5-2. Hart made 24 saves in the loss.
BOX SCORE | AUDIO | PHOTOS
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Martin Fasko-Rudas, Jameson Murray, Luke Ormsby, Kyle Walker and Ty Westgard … the Tips have won six of seven series in their playoff history when leading 3-2 … the Tips outshot Tri-City, 37-24 … the Tips held Tri-City to an 0-of-4 effort on the power play.
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