Ivan Nikolishin led the way with three points for the Silvertips on a goal and two assists, while Josh Winquist notched a pair of helpers to extend his total to 91 points this season – just two off Zach Hamill’s single-season franchise record. Manraj Hayer’s game-winning goal at 11:42 of the third was also the 100th point of his Silvertips career. Noah Juulsen, Matt Pufahl and former Royal Zane Jones scored the other Everett goals.
Scoring chances were few and far between for most of the first period between two of the WHL’s top defensive clubs. Everett struck first at 11:16 when Noah Juulsen’s shot from the right point was deflected in past Patrik Polivka for his second career goal. Shots were tied at seven with the ‘Tips holding a 1-0 lead after one.
A powerplay chance early in the middle period helped the Silvertips double that lead as Matt Pufahl snuck a low point shot through traffic and into the net at the 2:14 mark. Victoria responded midway through the frame at the end of a good shift in the offensive zone, with Steven Hodges cutting into the slot and wristing a shot past Austin Lotz to make it 2-1. Everett stretched the lead back to two with five minutes to go in the second as a Kevin Davis shot from the blue line caromed off Zane Jones’ leg and under Polivka.
Victoria quickly cut into the deficit in the third period when Lotz stopped Tyler Soy’s shot from the left circle only to see former Silvertip Mitch Skapski bang in the rebound two minutes in. Soy himself scored a few minutes later, finishing off Alex Blomqvist’s centering pass from behind the net to knot the game at three. The tie lasted less than three minutes however, as Manraj Hayer drove the net to tap in a centering feed from Patrick Bajkov during a perfectly executed give-and-go play that put the ‘Tips on top 4-3. Everett then regained the two-goal edge just 27 seconds later as passes from Jujhar Khaira and Josh Winquist set up Ivan Nikolishin’s one-timer into an open net to provide the final winning margin.
Austin Lotz (30-18-3-2) reached the 30-win plateau for the first time in his career with a 23-save effort. Patrik Polivka (28-12-0-2) stopped 26 shots as the ‘Tips outshot the Royals 31-26. The Silvertips finished 1 for 4 on the powerplay, while Victoria was 0 for 1.
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The Silvertips will now ferry back to the mainland to meet the Royals again Saturday night at Comcast Arena in their last home game of the regular season. The puck drops at 7:05 pm on this year’s Fan Appreciation Night, with our annual year-end awards ceremony following the game. Everett then travels to Portland to complete the regular season against the Winterhawks on Sunday afternoon.
Single game tickets for our last regular season home game on Saturday are available now at the team office, while playoff packages are also on sale now. Visit www.EverettSilvertips.com or call 425-252-5100 for more information. To keep up with all the latest team news, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.