The Everett Silvertips scored four second period goals on their way to a 4-2 victory over the Victoria Royals on Friday.
Forwards Ryan Hoefer (two assists) and Niko Huuhtanen (one goal, one assist) had two points apiece and were named first and second star in their team’s 31st win of the season. Goaltender Braden Holt was another key to the Silvertips success, making some key saves down the stretch and stopping all but two of the 23 shots he faced.
The Silvertips continue their dominance over the conference, improving their record to 34-7-2-2 and strengthening their grip at the top of the table.
Defenceman Gannon Laroque was the top performer for the losing side, registering a goal and an assist to bring his point total up to 39 on the year.
Victoria goaltender Campbell Arnold also put in a valiant effort, stopping a whopping 58 of 62 shots faced in his team’s defeat.
It was a tale of two periods to start the game, with six combined goals scored in the second after the first frame ended in a 0-0 tie.
Victoria defenceman Laroque (6) opened the scoring on the powerplay at 3:28 of the second, but the Silvertips would even the game at one only a few minutes later, with forward Niko Huuhtanen scoring his 23rd of the year at 4:54 of the period.
Everett would then score three unanswered to open up a 4-1 lead on goals by forward Michael Gut (9) at 7:40, forward Ben Hemmerling (5) and defenceman Aiden Sutter (3) at 15:05.
However, the Royals showed some fight in the final seconds of the frame, cutting the lead to 4-2 on rookie forward Anthony Wilson’s second goal of the year, coming at 19:51. Laroque would record the assist on the goal, giving him his second point of the night.
The Royals would enter the final frame down by just two and would get multiple powerplay chances throughout the period but were unable to capitalize as the Silvertips defence clamped down in the final minutes to secure the 4-2 victory.
Everett will host another BC Division opponent Saturday night when the Prince George Cougars come to town, with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Royals will travel back to the Island for a two-game home stand against the Kamloops Blazers beginning at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow night at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
The team will celebrate Lunar New Year with a special Chinese Lion Dance performance by Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club taking place pre-game at Gate 1 and during the second intermission of the game.