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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Tips top Chiefs in opener

Brennan Sonne, left, absorbs a hit from Chiefs' Sean Zimmerman. The Silvertips took the playoff opener on their home ice.
 (The Spokesman-Review)

EVERETT – There are statistics – looked upon with scorn by Mark Twain – then there are trends, truisms and seemingly undeniable facts.

The numbers show the Everett Silvertips are a team that likes to get in front and stay there. Everett lost three times in the 31 regular-season games in which it scored first and was perfect in 35 games in which it led through 40 minutes.

That’s just what the Silvertips did Friday night in their 4-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs in the first game of their opening-round Western Hockey League playoff series at the Everett Events Center.

Everett scored a goal 15 seconds into the game to get on the board quickly, exciting a boisterous crowd of 5,902 en route to the win.

After the lightning-quick score, the Chiefs settled down to hold the score at that through 20 minutes. Then the roof caved in on them. Everett dominated the second period, outshooting Spokane 13-2 in the second period en route to scoring three goals and thoroughly dominating the Chiefs.

“I thought we established our game in the third period, but we might have come out with too much energy in the first period, hyped up a little too much,” said Spokane coach Bill Peters.

The Chiefs said before the series that they had to control the Silvertips’ top guns to have a chance in the seven-game series. The converse is what happened: The Tips’ stars put the hurt on Spokane.

Zach Hamill, the league’s leading scorer, got things going for Everett before many had taken their seats in the rink. He took a feed from behind the net at the right post and got it past Spokane goalie Dustin Tokarski to the glove side on the first shot on goal on the first shot of the game.

Tokarski, a rookie, was making the start for veteran Kevin Armstrong. Armstrong was unable to make the trip because of an illness and his status is undetermined for the rest of the series. Tokarski played admirably, but the Silvertips’ up-tempo, physical brand of play overwhelmed Spokane’s defense from the start and had him facing numerous odd-man situations.

Everett made it 2-0 just 1:14 into the second period, on the power play, when Peter Mueller passed the puck from behind the net to Moises Gutierrez in the slot. He one-timed the puck past Tokarski to give Everett a 2-0 lead.

Everett’s third goal also came via a Mueller pass – this time to rookie Zack Dailey, on another 2-on-1.

The Silvertips would expand the lead to 3-0 at the 8:52 mark of the second to essentially put the game out of reach. Spokane defenseman Mike Reddington played the pass, but Mueller snuck the puck past him to Dailey.

“They dominated that second period, bottling us up,” said Peters. “We’ve got to do a better job than that.”

The Silvertips made it 4-0 on another power-play goal, the second score of the game for Gutierrez, at the 17:08 mark of the second. The Silvertips worked the puck down low until he found himself alone at the left post.

The Chiefs did get some things in the third period to build on for tonight’s second game.

Drayson Bowman helped Spokane to avoid the shutout when he scored on a pass from Mitch Wahl during a 4-on-3 just 14 seconds into the third period. Then captain Adam Hobson went unassisted at the 8:32 mark with a wrister from the right circle.

The Chiefs pulled Tokarski in the final 2 minutes but were unable to score. At the end of the night, they played well enough at times to ask themselves, “What if?”

Spokane missed out on a couple of golden chances which could have resulted in a tie game.

First, while trailing 2-0 early in the second and on the power play, Tokarski made a stop on Gutierrez on a short-handed chance.

Then, at the other end of the ice, the Chiefs worked the puck around until Judd Blackwater had an open half of the net at the right post. He missed it.

Then, in the third period after Spokane’s first goal, Derek Ryan missed out on a quality rebound chance at the 6-minute mark, also on the power play while he was wide open at the left post.

Silvertips 4, Chiefs 2


First Period—1. Everett. Hamill 1 (Beach, Gendur) :15.

Second Period—2, Everett, Gutierrez 1 (Mueller, Fransoo) 1:14 (pp); 3, Everett, Dailey 1 (Mueller, Gutierrez) 11:08; 4, Everett, Gutierrez 2 (Fransoo, Mueller) 17:08.

Third Period—5, Spokane, Bowman 1 (Wahl, Roman) :44 (pp); 6, Spokane, Hobson 1 8:32 .

Power-play Opp.—Spokane 1 of 8; Everett 1 of 3. Saves—Spokane, Tokarski 8-8-6—22. Everett, Irving 7-4-12—23. A—5,902.