The Everett Silvertips rode a 2 game winning streak into Saturday’s game against I-5 rivals the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Silvertips currently sit smack in the middle of the WHL’s US Division with a 12-6 record. The T-Birds have struggled so far this season; their 7-12 record landing them at the bottom of the US Division. Still, Seattle also rode a 2 game winning streak heading into Comcast Arena. Anyone who’s ever seen these two teams face each other, knows that records don’t count. They will hit the ice and give everything they have to beat the other team. There is absolutely no love lost between the Silvertips and T-Birds. On this night, Everett put Kent Simpson in net, while Seattle featured 17-year-old phenom Calvin Pickard. And on this night, Pickard would prevail.
The first period featured a lot of action on both sides of the ice, with both goaltenders deflecting some pretty strong shots. The first also featured a number of penalties, ranging from holding to unsportsmanlike conduct, but the clock ran down with a scoreless tie and the shots on goal fairly even – Everett 9, Seattle 11.
The second period began with the T-Birds on the power play, as Silvertips center Chris Langkow sat in the box for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the close of the first period. Everett killed that penalty and went on the power play about 4 minutes into the period, when T-Bird d-man Steve Chaffin was called for holding. Just before that penalty ran out, Seattle’s Brenden Rouse drove up the ice and scored a shorthanded goal, with a little help from Silvertips goaltender Kent Simpson. Simpson tried to stop the puck and accidentally slid it past him into the net. The T-Birds scored again, on a power play at the 9:15 mark. Right wing Sena Acolatse shot the puck past Kent Simpson. Colin Jacobs and Brenden Rouse got the assists. About halfway through the 2nd period, Jacobs dropped the gloves with Silvertips forward Kellan Tochkin and both of them went to the box. Jacobs got a 5 minute major for fighting, but the refs slapped Tochkin with 2 minutes for instigating, 5 minutes for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct. He would not return until well into the 3rd period. Not even a minute after the fight, the T-Birds struck again. Captain Lindsay Nielsen found the net, on a shot from Charles Wells and Jeremy Schappert. There was more chippiness as little scraps broke out on the ice. In a move reminiscent of former T-Birds Captain (and current Manchester Monarch) Thomas Hickey, Radko Gudas, Everett’s big D-man, laid a hip check on T-Birds forward Prab Rai that sent Rai airborne. Luke Lockhart was called for hooking with 52 seconds left in the 2nd, and as the horn sounded, the T-Birds’ Stefan Warg and ‘Tips’ Chris Langkow went at it. Neither was called for a penalty and the two teams hit the locker room with Seattle up 3-0.
The Silvertips turned their aggressiveness up another notch as the third period got underway, driving again and again at the T-Birds’ net and outscoring Seattle 8-3 in the first 8 minutes of the final period. Again and again, Calvin Pickard turned them away, with help from his teammates. Everett seemed to put Seattle on its heels, but the T-Birds regrouped and basically ran out the clock for most of the period. With three minutes to go, Seattle scored again. Jonathan Parker put one past Kent Simpson. Sena Acolatse and Brenden Rouse got the assists. The Silvertips turned up the jets again in the final 3 minutes of the game, but could not find a chink in Pickard’s armor. Time ran out, giving Seattle a 4-0 victory and Pickard his second shutout of the season. The 3 Stars of the Game: 3. Radko Gudas (Everett D-man); 2. Calvin Pickard (Seattle goaltender); 1. Prab Rai (Seattle LW).