By Carmen Dittoe – Silvertips Staff Writer
It was an ultimate, near “buzzer beater.”
In an October 29 matchup against the Portland Winterhawks, the Everett Silvertips faced their southern rivals for the second time this season. The hard fought game was closed out by veteran right winger Patrick Bajkov in a highlight reel worthy goal.
It just wasn’t a “big win.” It was a win that was their second in a row, after starting the season 4-9-1.
They went onto win 37 of the next 48 games.
Portland scored early in the first period, but the Tips answered shortly after with two goals (Fonteyne, Bajkov) within the first 20 minutes. Fonteyne’s rebound goal 7:42 into the first period was followed by Bajkov’s sixth goal of the season as he converted a drop pass from Kyle Walker to a snap shot at the right circle with 8:21 to go in the first.
Although the Winterhawks outshot Everett by nearly 20 more shots on goal by the end of regulation, rookie goaltender Dustin Wolf stopped 14 shots in the first period and 16 in the second. Portland left-winger Kieffer Bellows evened the score 2-2 with ten minutes left in regulation, leaving Everett with no choice but to shift momentum and close out the game.
The game winning goal by likely hero Patrick Bajkov came after Wolf turned away a shot by Portland’s Joachim Blichfeld. With less than 30 seconds left in regulation, the puck was picked up by Bajkov who took it out of the neutral zone, dangled past a Portland defender and tucked the forehand goal inside the post and behind the skate of Winterhawks goalie Cole Kehler’s stick side to win the game.
Highlight reel stuff, the kind that make you drop your jaw with delight, or (considering how late in the game it was) breathe a heavy sigh of relief. It just depends on who you are.
But that’s what defined Bajkov’s skill and confidence with the puck.
With regulation closed out by Bajkov’s highlight-reel goal, Everett avenged their September 23 loss to Portland with style.