Thursday, December 17, 2009

WHL: Silvertips hold off Swift Current in a 3-2 win

The Swift Current Broncos don’t visit Western Washington often, but they’ve left their mark on Comcast Arena, beating the Everett Silvertips the last two times they played here.  Last night, the Silvertips made sure the third time wasn’t a charm for the boys from Saskatchewan.
The first period featured a lot of aggressive play by both teams, but not a lot of pressure for Everett netminder Kent Simpson, as the ‘Tips did a great job of shutting down the Broncos’ strong offense. Everett also kept Swift Current goaltender Mark Friesen busy, as they outshot the Broncos 2-to-1.  All that shooting paid off. Daniel Iwanski found the back of the net 12:20 into the period. D. Jay McGrath got the assist.  On the very next faceoff, Shane Harper teamed up with Chris Langkow to put the ‘Tips up by 2. (For anyone who’s counting, those two goals came 39 seconds apart).  When the first period ended, the score remained: Everett 2, Swift Current 0. Shots on goal: Swift Current 6, Everett 12.
The second period featured more pushing and shoving, especially in front of each team’s net, and a number of hard hits into the boards, but this 20 minute block went by pretty quickly, as neither team seemed to be able to find a chink in the opposing goaltender’s armor.  That is, until the final five minutes of the period. Everett center Chris Langkow slipped one past Mark Friesen at 15:55, with help from Daniel Iwanski and Scott MacDonald. The Silvertips rode a 3-goal lead into the locker room at the 40 minute mark. Shots on goal: Swift Current 6, Everett 9.
Swift Current came alive in the third period, dominating the ice and driving the action down to Everett’s end again and again. It seemed inevitable that the Broncos would eventually score, and about 8 minutes into the period, Cody Eakin finally got the best of Kent Simpson and put the Broncos on the board. Justin Dowling and Travis Bobbee were credited with the assists. Swift Current defenseman Jordan Evans scored his first goal of the season 7 minutes later on a power play, as D. Jay McGrath sat in the box, after being called for goaltender interference following a play where a Bronco apparently tripped McGrath, sending him crashing into Friesen. Many fans considered this an unfair penalty call and showed the referees their displeasure by booing loudly. The final four minutes of the third period turned into a major game of “keep away”, as the Silvertips fought to preserve their one-goal lead. Nearly every one of the 3738 people at Comcast Arena jumped to their feet to cheer on the ‘Tips during the final minute and with 5 seconds left on the clock, Swift Current desperately tried to tie things up, but the Silvertips prevailed. Final score: Everett 3, Swift Current 2. Shots on goal: Swift Current 8, Everett 2.  The Three Stars of the Game:  1. Chris Langkow (Everett) 2. Daniel Iwanski (Everett) 3. Justin Dowling (Swift Current)
Notes:  New Everett defenseman Curtis Kulchar joined the lineup for last night’s game. The Silvertips traded a 2011 5th round draft pick to acquire the 19-year-old from the Kamloops Blazers. According to a Silvertips news release, Kulchar has played with the Blazers, the Vancouver Giants and the Regina Pats. He’s from Martensville, Saskatchewan. Kulchar will have his work cut out for him, as several defensemen leave to take part in the World Junior Championships over the Christmas and New Year holidays, including standout Radko Gudas, who’s in the lineup for his home country, the Czech Republic.
For more information about the Everett Silvertips, click here.

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