EVERETT, Wash. – Reece Vitelli electrified the home crowd with a game winning goal, 4:40 to play in regulation to boost the Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds before a crowd of 5,983 at XFINITY Arena on Friday in WHL action.
The Tips, who have won six of their last eight games to move up to fourth in the U.S. Division, ripped off three unanswered goals while Patrick Bajkov’s (two points) second period shorthanded goal moved him into second place on the Tips all-time points list. Carter Hart earned the win in net with 31 saves.
Nolan Volcan started the scoring at 9:12 of the first, ending Hart’s shutout bid of over 130 consecutive minutes on a rebound in traffic for a 1-0 Seattle lead. The Tips, outshot 12-5 in the first period, struggled to seize momentum early and carried the deficit into the second period, where they used a loose puck opportunity to finally tie the game while killing a penalty.
The Tips return to play tomorrow in a rematch at Showare Center in Kent, for a 7:05 p.m. (1520 AM / FM 101 / Tips App) rematch with the Thunderbirds. The Tips then return home for Sunday’s 4:05 p.m. game against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Regina Pats. Tickets are available at www.everettsilvertips.com/tickets.
Patrick Bajkov’s steal at the right circle enabled him to race away from the Seattle defense and deke Liam Hughes to the forehand for a breakaway goal, 13:01 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1.
The Tips and Thunderbirds battled closely late into the third period and the Tips used a key rebound chance to seize the lead. Wyatte Wylie fed Sean Richards on the rush, whose wrister from the left circle was deflected away by Hughes pad. Vitelli, streaking to the net, slammed the rebound past Hughes glove with 4:40 left in the game to send XFINITY Arena into bedlam with a 2-1 Tips lead.
Seattle pulled Hughes for a sixth attacker but Kevin Davis fed a speedy Richards at center, skating away for a breakaway empty netter with 43 seconds left in regulation.
Nolan Volcan followed up a rebound with 10 seconds to play in regulation to close the Tips lead to 3-2, but the game was academic and finished by Riley Sutter’s face-off win at center ice to drain the clock.
SILVERTIPS LINE COMBOS
15 / RICHARDS 17 / FONTEYNE 8 / BAJKOV
43 / DEWAR 14 / SUTTER 19 / KINDOPP
7 / FASKO-RUDAS 26 / VITELLI 16 / ORMSBY
18 / HEIN 9 / BUTT 11 / CENTAZZO
24 / FAIRBROTHER 38 / DAVIS
23 / CHRISTIANSEN 29 / WYLIE
20 / K. WALKER 4 / I. WALKER
70 / HART
32 / WOLF
Notes: Silvertips scratches included Montana Onyebuchi (one-game suspension) before the game, goaltender Dorrin Luding was released the Tips improved to 47-19-7 all-time vs. Seattle at XFINITY Arena Richards had a multi point game for 12 points in the last 10 games Hart improved to 13-6-2-3 lifetime against the Thunderbirds.