Hart not enough as Regina takes down Everett in a nail-biter

(Everett, WA) It became clear as Sunday evening’s contest wore on that the winner of the game between the visiting Regina Pats (13-9-2-0) and the Everett Silvertips (10-12-1-1), would be whomever was able to dig deep enough and work through a lack of experienced man power.

Everett, who entered the game with just 10 forwards, after Luke Ormsby was handed a “TBD” suspension and Connor Dewar was ruled out with an injury. That was made worse by Sean Richards checking Regina defenseman Marc Creta from behind and was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for the check. He could end up joining Ormsby on the WHL’s discipline page.

That would leave the ‘Tips down to nine forwards and playing for the third straight night seemed to be catching up to them.

Regina themselves were not exactly a picture of health. They were without defenseman Egor Zamula and forwards Duncan Pierce and Koby Morriesseau, then lost blue liner Owen Williams in the first after he took a puck up high. Regina, who is in the middle of their U.S. Division road trip, also lost Creta for much of the first pert  of the game. Overage forward Matt Bradley also seemed bothered by a lower body ailment, but played through it.

Everett’s Carter Hart was the star of the game and kept his squad in it. He made a career-high 48 saves on the 50 shots he faced.

Regina got the game’s opening goal off an uncharacteristic rebound given up by Carter Hart. A Josh Mahura shot deflected out right to a waiting Robbie Holmes, who made it 1-0 Regina 11:47 in.

Regina had plenty of chances to add to this lead due to the five minute power play in the first for the Richards hit and a long two-man advantage early, in the second,  but they could not find the net behind Hart.

Everett seemed bottled up for most of the second, until finally generating some looks in the later stages. They had a 55-second five-on-three power play themselves, but failed to beat Regina goalie Tyler Brown. Their best two chances though, Brown did not even have to make the save on. Riley Sutter took a pass at the back post, with Brown out of position and he fired the puck wide of the yawning cage. Moments later Brandson Hein had the puck in a similar spot and could not corral it for a clean shot.

They would pay for not putting the puck in when they had the chance. Regina came after them in the early stages of the third period and added to their slim lead. Newly acquired defenseman Cale Fleury threw a hard shot towards the net that Jake Leschyshyn deflected past Hart for his fifth goal this year and the 2-0 lead.

Everett looked like they got one past Tyler Brown on a third period five-on-three, as it sneaked through his pads and lay behind him with 7:59 left, but the overage netminder used  a slick swim move to keep it from going over the line.

Just after the first penalty expired, Brown would have no such luck against a one-timer off the stick of Patrick Bajkov. He blasted one home for his teams’ first goal in over 112 minutes of game time.

That momentum swing in Everett’s favor would be undone due to a couple penalties, the last of which came with 1:55 left in regulation. Despite that, the ‘Tips very nearly tied the game with only a second remaining. Matt Fonteyne hammered a one-timer that at first look went in and out of the net. After review, it appeared the puck struck the post and went out.

Everett takes their two-game losing streak to Kennewick for a date with the Tri-City Americans Wednesday. Regina will continue their U.S. trip (1-1 so far) with a game Wednesday in Kent vs the Thunderbirds.

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