Sports

Americans go from wild card to conference finals before Everett ends their season

Everett's Garrett Pilon and Tri-City's Kyle Olson collide in front of Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea in the second period of Monday's game at Toyota Center. The Silvertips beat the Americans 6-5 in overtime to win the Western Conference title.
Everett's Garrett Pilon and Tri-City's Kyle Olson collide in front of Tri-City goalie Patrick Dea in the second period of Monday's game at Toyota Center. The Silvertips beat the Americans 6-5 in overtime to win the Western Conference title. Courtesy of the Tri-City Americans

For a brief moment, the Tri-City Americans looked to send the Western Conference finals to a Game 7.

The Everett Silvertips spoiled their plans.

The Silvertips rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the third period to force overtime, and Kevin Davis scored the game winner at 5:58 on the power play for a 6-5 victory Monday over the Americans at Toyota Center.

"A real gutsy effort," Everett coach Dennis Williams said. "We could have packed it in and gone over for Game 7. Credit to them, they were down 2-1 and came back and got the lead. I thought our guys did a good job of staying with it. A good character win, and a big, big win for our franchise."

Everett advances to the Ed Chynoweth Cup for the first time since 2004. They will take on the Swift Current Broncos for a trip to the Memorial Cup.

The Americans, as a wild-card team, swept Kelowna and Victoria before running into the Silvertips. They staved off elimination Saturday to force Game 6, but another game was not meant to be.

"We just got on our heels," Tri-City coach Mike Williamson said. "We were in a good spot, but they didn't go away. They got a break, they got a bit of a seeing-eye shot and they found the back of the net. We got on our heels and couldn't get the momentum back. As hard as it is, they have a lot to be proud of. They represented the jersey and the city well."

Williams praised the Americans for a good series.

"I didn't look at them as a wild-card team," he said. "When you look at the teams in our division, it could have been them in first and us as the wild card. They are a deep team and a great team. What a series. It had a bit of everything in it. They are one heck of a hockey team."

Davis, who scored the middle goal of the Silvertips' rally in the third, connected from the high slot in overtime as the Silvertips rode the momentum from the third period.

"There is a lot on the line," Williamson said of the momentum shift. "The emotions are there. It was difficult on our guys especially after we were in good control. That's hockey. Credit to them, they didn't go away. The difference between winning and losing is slim."

The Americans turned their 3-2 lead into a 5-2 advantage in the third period with Kyle's Olson's second goal of the game at 4:37, ripping the puck from just inside the blue line and past Carter Hart for a 4-2 lead.

Jordan Topping added another goal at 8:52, stealing the puck from Kevin Davis and beating Hart 5-hole for a 5-2 game.

The Silvertips, the top team in the Western Conference during the regular season, never backed down.

Connor Dewar pulled Everett within 5-3 at 9:52, and Davis and Garrett Pilon scored 36 second apart to tie the score and send the game into overtime.

"I thought our guys did a good job of staying with it," Williams said.

Facing a one-goal deficit to start the second period, the Americans wasted no time in evening the score.

Olson, who missed a good portion of the regular season and playoffs with injuries, scored his first goal of the playoffs at 1:19 for a 2-2 game. It was his first goal since Dec. 27.

"It was nice to get the first one of the playoffs," Olson said. "It has been a long time coming with injuries and stuff. We fought so hard out there tonight."

At 6:22, Tri-City went on the power play, but only needed 8 seconds of the man advantage to take the lead on a Michael Rasmussen goal — his 16th of the playoffs.

Patrick Bajkov made himself at home at Toyota Center this series, scoring five of his six goals in the series on enemy ice.

Two of those goals came in the first period Monday night. The first at 8:54 to open the scoring, and the second at 18:23 on the power play to five the Silvertips a 2-1 lead at the end of the period.

The the middle, Morgan Geekie found the net for the first time since the opening game of the series to tie the score at 1-1 on the power play at 11:25.

Juuso Välimäki had four assists on the night, while Patrick Dea, in his final game with Tri-CIty, had 36 saves.

"He played exceptional for us," Williamson said of Dea. "He doesn't have the pedigree as some of the other goalies in the league, but our goalies gave us a chance every night."

Silvertips 6, Americans 5 (OT)

Everett

2

0

3 1

6

Tri-City

1

2

2 0

5

First — 1, Evt, Bajkov 12 (Fonteyne, Richards), 8:54. 2, TC, Geekie 17 (Bean, Välimäki), 11:25 (pp). 3, Evt, Bajkov 13 (Fonteyne, Davis), 18:23 (pp). Penalties — Sutter, Evt (hooking), 10:42; Coghlan, TC (hooking), 12:11; Yaremko, TC (tripping), 14:21; Rasmussen, TC (checking from behind), 17:30

Second — 4, TC, Olson 1 (Välimäki, Rasmussen), 1:19. 5, TC, Rasmussen 16 (Bean, Välimäki), 6:30 (pp). Penalties —Dewar, Evt (interference), 6:22; Bajkov, Evt (roughing), 17:08; Johnson, TC (roughing), 17:08.

Third — 6, TC, Olson 2 (Välimäki, Kalinichenko), 4:37. 7, TC, Topping 4, 8:52. 8, Evt, Dewar 9 (Wylie, Pilon), 9:52. 9 Evt, Davis 2 (Sutter), 13:53. 10, Evt, Pilon 11, 14:29. Penalties — Butt, Evt (tripping), 8:59; Topping, TC (roughing), 8:59.

Overtime — 11, Evt, Davis 3 (Dewar, Fonteyne), 5:58 (pp). Penalties — Coghlan, TC (tripping), 4:48.

Shots — Evt 20-6-10-6 — 42. TC 4-11-7-1 — 23. Power plays — Evt 2-4. TC 2-2. Goalies — Evt, Hart 12-3-1 (23 shots-18 saves). TC, Dea 9-3-1 (42-36). Referees — Jeff Ingrahm and Kyle Kowalski. A — 3,030.

Annie Fowler: 582-1574; @tchicequeen

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