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.
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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.