Sports

When the conference title is on the line, close is not good enough

Everett's Connor Dewar (center) is stopped by Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea (30) and defensemen Juuso Välimäki (6) and Daniel Gatenby (37) during Friday's game in Everett.
Everett's Connor Dewar (center) is stopped by Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea (30) and defensemen Juuso Välimäki (6) and Daniel Gatenby (37) during Friday's game in Everett.

The Everett Silvertips handed the Tri-City Americans their first loss of the playoffs Friday night in the opening game of the Western Conference finals.

Garrett Pilon had two goals, including the game winner with 2:48 left in the second period, as the Silvertips held on for a 3-2 victory over the Americans.

"It was a good game between two teams who are pretty close," Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. "We are one of four teams left playing and all four are good. We just have to put this behind us and be ready for tomorrow."

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is Saturday in Everett. The series shifts to Toyota Center on Monday for Game 3 and Thursday for Game 4.

Friday, Everett wasted no time getting on the board as Pilon scored his first of the game just 1:05 into the action.

Connor Dewar scored at 12:03 as his chip shot over Americans goalie Patrick Dea ricocheted off Dylan Coghlan's stick in the crease and the puck flew into the net for a 2-0 lead that held until the end of the first period.

The Americans got back on track in the second with a pair of power-play goals.

Morgan Geekie scored in the slot off an assist by Jake Bean 47 seconds into the period. Geekie has a league-best 16 playoff goals and has scored a goal in all nine games.

Michael Rasmussen tied the score at 3:55, getting an assist from Everett goalie Carter Hart.

Hart left the puck behind his own net, where Rasmussen swooped in, gathered the puck and scored a wraparound goal before Hart could get back into position for the save.

Pilon's second goal was set up by Sean Richards, who pulled the puck out of a pile in the corner and dished it to the open Pilon.

"That third goal came on a tripping call that was missed and helped set up the play," Williamson said. "We have to be better getting out of corners and getting to the net. I didn't think we played our best. We have to be closer to our best to win this time of year."

The Americans pulled Dea the final 80 seconds for an extra attacker, but could not get the puck past Hart.

Dea finished with 30 saves, while Hart had 24 at the other end.

Silvertips 3, Americans 2

Tri-City

0

2

0

2

Everett

2

1

0

3

First —1, Evt, Pilon 7 (Dewar, Sutter), 1:05. 2, Evt, Dewar 5, 12:03. Penalties — Sutter, Evt (hooking), 6:17; Gekie, TC (high-sticking), 9:50; Dewar, Evt, (charging), 20:00.Xyzy

Second —3, TC, Geekie 16 (Bean, Dea), :47 (pp). 4, TC, Rasmussen 11 , 3:55 (pp). 5, Evt, Pilon 8 (Sutter, Richards), 17:12. Penalties — Everett bench (too many men, served by Fasko-Rudas), 3:03; Yaremko, TC (tripping), 6:09; Coghlan, TC (slashing), 12:07.Xyzy

Third — No scoring. Penalties — None.Xyzy

Shots — TC 6-12-8 — 26. Evt 11-14-8 — 33. Power plays — TC 2-3. Evt 0-3. Goalies — TC, Dea 7-1 (33 shots-30 saves). Evt, Hart 9-1-1 (26-24). Referees — Mike Campbell and Chris Crich. A —5,181 .

Annie Fowler: 582-1574; @tchicequeen

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