I wasn’t able to make Game 1 or 2 of the first round of the playoffs, but I wrote a recap article on both games from this weekend.
Game 1 (3/23) @ Everett;
The Everett Silvertips’ were able to dominate the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-1, in Game 1 of the WHL playoffs first round by getting a big lead early.
Silvertips’ came out with strong mentality and a strong defense in the First period, only allowing 3 shots on net in the first 10 minutes. A thank you to defensive-man Wyatte Wylie, for making the Thunderbirds turn the puck over in Everett’s zone. Generating a play for Matt Fonteyne and Garret Pilon, who was able to get it on Pilon’s stick for a 1-0 lead halfway through period one.
Everett was able to start the Second period off with a 1-0 lead, but was on the penalty kill as some chaos ruptured behind the Thunderbirds’ net. Sean Richards was issued a Roughing penalty right at the end of the First period. It was an easy penalty kill as they were able to make the Thunderbirds’ turn over the puck, which led to Fonteyne passing to Patrick Bajkov at Seattle’s blue line. Bajkov was able to get the puck through Hughes at 1:47 for now a 2-0 lead.
Bajkov was able to add to the board yet again when Fonteyne won a faceoff, and fed it towards Bajkov and scored a wrister from a high slot at 5:59. Putting the Tips up 3-0 and Bajkov with two goals. Seattle was able to get on the board at 7:03, with Zack Andrusiak deflecting Austin Strand’s shot. Bryce Kidnopp was able to win a puck battle behind the net when he came swinging around alone and flung it in for a 4-1 lead at 10:12 in the Second.
It remained scoreless in the Third period, Hart had 8 saves and Hughes had 15 saves in the Third. Both Teams stepped up the physical game play, in the Ending period. Everett is 1-0 in the First round of the WHL Playoffs.
Game 2 (3/24) @ Everett;
Everett came out dominating right off the start, AGAIN! Silvertips’ player Martin Fasko-Rudas, opened the scoring board just Two minutes in. Was it going to be a repeat of Game 1?
Seattle went on a power play, while Pilon was in the box. Thunderbirds’ player Austin Strand made it a tie game from Ottenbreit. Seattle’s game stepped up after that goal. Shortly after Strands goal, his teamate Sami Moilanen would score on a rebounded shot getting past Hart. Seattle would be on a penalty kill and Everett was putting lots of pressure on Hughes. Pilon was able to find a slot before the power play ended, tieing the game 2-2.
During the Second period Bajkov went to the box for Interference. Ottenbreit was able to slap a shot in Harts net moments before Bajkovs penalty was up, giving Seattle a 3-2 lead. With Pilon’s ability and skill, Seattle’s lead wouldn’t last much longer. Pilon tied it 3-3 at 17:11 in the Second. Riley Sutter collided with Jake Lee, Sutter would be given a 5 minute major penalty for Kneeing and a game misconduct.
Seattle reclaimed the lead 4-3, when Mike Maclean would grab a loose puck in front of the net and wrist it in. Fonteyne had a chance when he was alone with Hughes, but Hughes was able to poke-check it away. With less than two minutes left in the Third Everett would pull Hart, now 6 attackers on the ice. Everett couldn’t seem to find the empty slot of the net. Pilon would find the empty pocket in the net up close by Hughes, with 53.6 seconds left in the Third to tie the game.
As many times as this has happened, some knew it was coming. Overtime Hockey, after lots of back and forth zone plays. Andrusiak was able to split the Silvertips’ defense scoring the overtime winning goal for the Thunderbirds.
Everett and Seattle both have one Playoff win this round.
Featured image credited to Chris Mast
Wrote by: Chandler O’Neill
Links for photos; Game 1 Photos