Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
The Everett Silvertips made a huge jump into playoff contention by laying another 3-2 win on the Victoria Royals Wednesday evening.
Victoria, BC, February 8, 2012 – A team fighting for a WHL playoff position at this point in the season needs to approach each game with a “do or die” attitude and come out of the gate with intensity and a sense of urgency in order to seize momentum early and have a chance to win. Especially when it is playing a team very close to them in the standings and also competing for those same final playoff positions.
Everett Captain Ryan Murray moves the puck out from his own end while the Royal’s Robin Soudek applies pressure during the first period Wednesday.
Unfortunately for most of the 4,200 plus fans in attendance at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre Wednesday, the team that did this was the Everett Silvertips as they handed the Victoria Royals a second 3-2 loss in as many days to escape with four points in their two-game set and move to within three points of the Royals for the eight and final playoff position in the Western Conference.
The Royal’s Tim Traber and the Silvertips Ryan Murray collide behind the Silvertip net in the first period Wednesday.
Much like Tuesday night, the Royals once again were slow out of the gate and were outshot 12-5 in the first period. However some solid penalty killing and some good saves by Victoria goaltender Keith Hamilton kept the ‘Tips off the board and sent the teams to the first intermission in a 0-0 tie.
Royal’s goaltender Keith Hamilton makes one of his 26 saves on the evening in the second period Wednesday.
The second period started better for the Royals and just after Everett’s Ryan Harrison banged a break away chance off the crossbar, they took the lead at the 2:16 mark of the period when Jamie Crooks tapped home a rebound past Everett starter Kent Simpson.
Royal’s forward Jamie Crooks, seen here chasing down a lose puck in the third period, would put Victoria up 1-0 with a second period goal.
Victoria’s Hayden Rintoul would assist on both Royal goals Wednesday.
The Silvertip’s Harrison would get his revenge however as he would pull Everett even at the 8:05 mark. Everett would then jump into the lead at the 14:59 mark as Ryan Chynoweth would hop on a lively bounce off the back boards and squeeze a shot between the post and the pad of Hamilton for a 2-1 lead that would hold until the end of the period.
Everett’s Ryan Harrison would have a big night Wednesday, scoring a pair of goals in the Silvertips 3-2 victory.
The third period again began well for the Royals and at the 4:47 mark, Hayden Rintoul made a hard charge to the net, flipping a great pass to Dakota Conroy who chipped the puck over the shoulder of Simpson to tie the game 2-2.
Dakota Conroy would score the Royal’s second and tying goal early in the third period Wednesday.
The Royals would keep charging, eventually outshooting the Silvertips 18-9 in the period, but key saves by Simpson kept them at bay and opened the door for Harrison to score his second of the night at the 11:37 mark, as he swooped in over the blue line, cut to the middle, and fired a great shot past Hamilton to give the ‘Tips the 3-2 lead.
Silvertips goaltender Kent Simpson would stop 29 of 31 shots on the evening, including 17 in the third period to earn his second straight win in Victoria.
The Royal’s Steven Hodges charges toward the Silvertips net during third period action Wednesday.
Despite their best efforts, including those with the goaltender pulled, the Royals could not find a way to tie the game and the Silvertips escaped with their second win in as many nights.
With the win, the Silvertips move three points up on last place Prince George and to within three points of eighth place Victoria and seventh place Seattle with two games at hand on Victoria.
For more images of this game please see Christian J. Stewart’s ISN Gallery HERE.
Victoria defenceman Jordan Fransoo fires a shot on net during Wednesday night’s action.