The Tri-City Americans suffered their fourth consecutive loss Saturday, dropping a 5-1 game to the Everett Silvertips before a crowd of 4,793 at Toyota Center.
While a U.S. Division title is out of reach for the Americans (38-27-3-0, 79 points), the Silvertips (41-15-8-3, 93 points) are in a battle with Seattle for the title.
The Thunderbirds beat Portland on Saturday and have a one-point lead over Everett, which has has two games in hand.
Everett leads the 10-game series with Tri-City 5-4. They will play their final game March 19 at Toyota Center.
Dominic Zwerger and Lucas Skrumeda scored goals in the first period for the Silvertips, who then were shut out in the second as Tri-City goalie Evan Sarthou stopped all 19 shots that came his way.
After a scoreless second period by both teams, Everett got back on the scoreboard just 1 minute into the third with a power-play goal by Kevin Davis for a 3-0 lead.
Tyler Sandhu scored his 21st of the season for Tri-City at 8:41 to breathe a little life back into his team.
The Americans had a steady stream of players in and out of the penalty box the last 3 1/2 minutes of the game, and the Silvertips cashed in with power-play goals from Patrick Bajkov and Sean Richards.
Mario Petit finished with 22 saves for Everett, which also got two assists from Zwerger, Riley Sutter and Noah Juulsen.
Tri-City is back in action Tuesday, hosting the Portland Winterhawks.
Silvertips 5, Americans 1
First — 1, Evt, Zwerger 26 (Juulsen), 2:55. 2, Evt, Skrumeda 4 (Sutter, Tuulola), 16:14. Penalties — Fonteyne, Evt (tripping), 5:46; Zwerger, Evt (cross-checking), 13:14; Coghlan, TC (cross-checking), 16:33.
Second — No scoring. Penalties — Sandhu, TC (slashing), 19:17; Sutter, Evt (slashing), 20:00.
Third — 3, Evt, Davis 7 (Juulsen, Zwerger), 1:00 (pp). 4, TC, Sandhu 21 (Topping), 8:41. 5, Evt, Bajkov 28 (Davis, Zwerger), 18:20 (pp). 6, Evt, Richards 8 (Sutter), 19:35 (pp). Penalties — Wotherspoon, TC (goaltender interference), :48; Sandhu, TC (high-sticking), 16:28; AuCoin, TC (slashing), 17:10; Wotherspoon, TC (misconduct), 19:01; Fuller, TC (misconduct), 19:30; Krebs, TC, major (high-sticking), 19:30.
Shots — Evt 7-19-13 — 39. TC 6-12-5 — 23. Power plays — Evt 3-6. TC 0-3. Goalies — Evt, Petit 11-5-2-1 (23 shots-22 saves). TC, Sarthou 10-8-2-0 (39-34). Referees — Fraser Lawrence and Shane Warschaw. A — 4,793.