By Staci C. – Silvertips Staff Writer
What a weekend.
Not just for getting three wins in less than 72 hours, but for how it was done: the Everett Silvertips continue to make progress.
The Tips beat Kelowna on Friday night before nearly 6,000 fans, 4-2 on two exhilarating goals by Connor Dewar late in regulation to snap a 2-2 tie.
Patrick Bajkov earned the first star, a no-brainer, now the greatest goal scorer in Silvertips’ history.
“It’s an exciting feeling,” said Bajkov. “It’s a great feeling in the locker room right now, going to soak it in tonight and get back to it tomorrow.”
“When [Bajkov] scored that goal, he got the team going. It was a big time goal, we needed that goal. You want to get the puck on your best player’s stick. We capitalized on a turnover there, a quick line change to get the puck up, we got it on Bajks’ stick, where we wanted it and he was able to get it off quickly to get it past ’em.”
Dewar’s goals were things of theatrics as well as both of them were scored with under 200 seconds left in the game.
“[Dewar] plays the game right, plays the game hard,” said Williams. “The third goal saw a really nice entry by all three of those guys [Dewar, Pilon and Sutter]. The reason why he scored is because he got two whacks at it; he waited, he didn’t peel off to the corner and vacate. It’s a tough spot to be in because you’re probably getting cross-checked within half a second. That’s where goal scorers go. The second goal was a really nice give and go play on the power play.”
After a series sweeping victory over Kelowna on Friday, the rivalry the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds intensified again, as a sellout crowd saw another close game go to overtime between these two foes in downtown Everett. It was the fourth game this season that Seattle and Everett has gone into overtime. Everett has improved to 6-2-0-2 against Seattle. Every game with the exception of the January 26, 3-1 victory has only been decided by one goal.
Where the standings lay at this current moment, it is possible that Everett will face Seattle in the first round.
The power play came up big Saturday as the game winner occurred during overtime when Mathew Wedman took an untimely slashing penalty.
“Good for our power play unit, we had some good looks earlier on,” said Tips head coach Dennis Williams. “They took an undisciplined penalty and we made them pay for it. That’s what power plays need to do this time of year. You have to take advantage of team’s mistakes and it took us five of them to get one but we finally took advantage and it was a big one. It’s not so much our power play percentage but when you get those power play goals, it’s a timely one.”
We are seeing a lot of magic come from this team, especially the top two lines as we wrap up the next two weeks and head into the playoffs.
“This time of year, you need your best players scoring,” said Williams. “You need your best players contributing and so far this weekend, our top two lines are playing well.”
“I think it’s the rivalry, you know, going and playing in front of a sold out crowd is always fun and I’m sure it’s fun for them to come here,” said Tips forward Connor Dewar, who had the winner. “I think it has [a playoff atmosphere]. Every game down the stretch has. Every game is important now and everyone is trying to inch and claw for a spot.”
There was a lot to unpack after a Tips 6-1 win at Vancouver to end the “three in three,” going for three wins. The Tips have played in four straight of those series, and there isn’t any indication the Tips were thrown off their game.
“I think we skated well all game,” said Williams. “With that quick turnaround, it was just one of those games – we had opportunities to score early on. It was a bit of a wake up call for our guys [when Vancouver scored] and definitely put together a good stretch in the second. The third was just trying to get out without any injuries, get the win and go home.”
Davis had a huge game tonight as he scored 2 goals (numbers 9 and 10 for the season, giving him 59 points on the year.
“[Davis] scored that one right in the paint with less than a second left,” said Williams. That was a neat goal. 4-1 is a different score going into a period than 5-1. I’m glad they stuck with it until the end of the period like that.
‘Davey’s’ been great all year for us. He’s our leader back there. He’s a guy we need to play a lot of minutes. It was nice in a game like today. We were fortunate on a night like tonight to have 7 D, he was able to rest for the last 10 minutes.
The Tips got to see Gianni Fairbrother’s first game back in months since he had a shoulder injury that took place on December 6.
“I think [Fairbrother] did well,” said Williams. “I asked him on the bench how he was feeling in terms of confidence and his wind. He said there was a couple times where he probably got it a little bit from running around and you’d expect that but it was nice to get him back in the lineup.”
Once again, Dewar had a killer night and added another goal to his tally to make it 36 for the season.
“Both of those goals that he scored where just going hard to the net,” said Williams. “So ‘Dewy’ comes down and snaps that puck beats their D men to the rebound kind of like how they scored their goal. You’d expect those goals from Dewar because that’s how he plays and it was a good timely goal we needed.”
Time now for five days off, as the Tips rest until they visit the Seattle Thunderbirds in Kent on Saturday.