By Carmen Dittoe – Silvertips Staff Writer
EVERETT, Wash. – If you’ve been around Everett Silvertips hockey since the start, there’s always one name, one period, one location everyone talked about:
Jeff Schmidt, overtime, Kelowna.
That was 2004, Game 7 of the Western Conference Final. Until this past season, that was without question the greatest moment in Silvertips history.
Arguably, it’s been topped. Without argument, it has company.
That company is Kevin Davis, overtime, Tri-City.
The past season has seen games, plays, and victories executed in legendary fashion. The iconic route the Silvertips took to capturing their first Western Conference Championship since 2004 seemed only fitting.
En route to advancing to the WHL Championship Series for the first time in nearly a decade and a half, the victory was one for the books. An OT comeback win after being down 5-2 in the third period of a series-winning playoff game is not something that one sees often. Up three wins to Tri-City’s two in game five, the Silvertips needed to hold strength and end the series before the Americans matched their lead and seized vicious momentum heading into a potential Game 7 back in Everett.
That was when the Tips seized the moment.
Before that happened, veteran forward Patrick Bajkov lit up the net at 8:54 of the first period off a deflected wrist shot from Matt Fonteyne. His 12th goal of the season was answered just three minutes later on a power play goal by Tri-City center Morgan Geekie to tie up the score board. Bajkov, advantaged off a power play from a Tri-City minor, took a wrist shot from the right circle and scored to put Everett up two goals to one at the end of the first period.
The second period held 20 minutes of power for Tri-City as they netted two unanswered goals before the first half ended. The heat continued into the third as center Kyle Olson scored his second goal of the game with teammate Jordan Topping finding the net at 8:32. Nearly halfway through the third period of a game that could win them the Western Conference Championship, the Silvertips were down three goals (5-2).
From there, a momentous occasion of historical proportions began to form.
In a momentum shift at 9:52, forward Connor Dewar came in off the side of Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea and slid the puck in behind him with assists off Garrett Pilon and Wyatte Wylie. Dewar had sparked a rally—with a two goal gap and ten minutes left, the game was back on. Kevin Davis kept the momentum going, closing in further on the Americans with a goal that was followed shortly after by Pilon with an unassisted wrist shot off a Tri-City turnover to tie the game.
The Tips remarkably had a shot to win the the game in wild fashion, in the final minutes of reguation but misfired on a pair of chances in the slot.
The three unanswered Everett goals forced an overtime period with a Western Conference banner on the line.
It was clear all momentum was on the Tips side. Sean Richards nearly put it away in the opening seconds of overtime, while Tri-City never sniffed the Silvertips net in threatening fashion. The Tips then embarked on a power play, and made history.
At 5:58, overage defenseman Kevin Davis capped the greatest comeback win in Everett Silvertips history: a rocket from center point for a game-winning power play goal in sudden-death overtime against the Tri-City Americans to capture the Western Conference Championship.
That led to the Silvertips spilling over the boards in joyous fashion. Hugs were exchanged everywhere. The conference trophy (no, the Tips didn’t touch it – just if you wondered) was brought out by league official Richard Doerksen and presented to the team and captain Matt Fonteyne.
Then, the Tips embarked on a bus ride back home for the ages. Arriving in Everett at 3am, hoards of fans greeted the Western Conference champions, fresh off writing another storied chapter in the record books.
Onto the WHL Championship Series for the second time in franchise history, the Tips made a memory many will never forget.