(Everett, WA) On Sunday evening in Everett, both the Everett Silvertips and Victoria Royals were playing their third game in three nights. Both also were looking for their first win in those three games with Everett losing at home to Kelowna on Friday and down in Portland on Saturday and Victoria getting shut out by Moose Jaw at home on Friday and losing a wild affair to Seattle on Saturday.
For the visiting Royals, they were also down two men. Not a good situation for a team that was mired in a four-game losing skid.
The Royals put out a team effort in a 2-1 win on the road in Everett behind goals from Tarun Fizer and Kody McDonald and a 39-save performance from Griffen Outhouse. The Royals also used a strong, workmanlike game from all 16 skaters to drive them to victory.
Victoria defenseman Scott Walford summed up how big the win was for his team. “It was a big win for our team. Anytime you go into a game with 11 forwards and five defensemen and you are playing a CHL top-10 team, you really have to pay attention to the details,” Walford said.
Royals head coach Dan Price was impressed with how his tired bunch of players left everything on the ice.
“Everett played really hard, as they always do – that took everything we had to win it. You see in the dressing room after the game the guys were depleted. They completely emptied the tanks. It was a really gutsy effort from the team,” Price said.
He continued, “I think there’s a real belief on this team. The last couple of games we have played well and we haven’t won and I know there has been people who are openly critical of the team but I think people that really watch the team know that the team has ben playing well and we have had lots of chances. The team just believes in the process and they know over time they will be rewarded.”
After a scoreless first period, the Victoria Royals opened the scoring 1:40 into the second. Danish import Phillip Schultz found Tarun Fizer on a two-on-one rush and the 2001-born forward buried his shot by Everett goalie Max Palaga.
Palaga stopped 20-of-22 in the loss.
Zack Andrusiak, who has four goals since being acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds, had many scoring chances in the second and beyond but Outhouse turned him away. Most notable was a breakaway that he tried a backhand shot on midway through the middle frame.
Price credited his goalie but also the team defensive effort in keeping Andrusiak and the Silvertips off the scoresheet for much of the night.
“Griffen was good. Especially late in the game, Everett was throwing a lot to the net from bad angles. He did play very well, but I also thought the players in front of him did a great job keeping pucks to the outside and getting rid of rebounds.” Price said.
Outshooting the Royals 25-16, but trailing 1-0, the Silvertips came out desperate in the third and pinned their opponent deep.
They would finally tie the game as Max Patterson retrieved the puck behind the net and threw it out front for Bryce Kindopp.
The 19-year-old winger got down low to get his shot up over Outhouse, tying the game 57 seconds into the final frame.
The undermanned Royals bounced back though and for the second straight night took a third period lead.
This time it was created by a shot from the point that Kaid Oliver tipped over to Kody McDonald at the back post. The overage forward then buried his 10th this season, giving the Royals the lead back.
“It was a real testament to the leadership group. Our captains and leaders are very mature and poised, When Everett scored, it was like – ‘well it’s 0-0 now, let’s go out and take the lead.’ They went out and responded. It was the defense and commitment to that way that allowed us to get the chance,” Price said.
McDonald was also key late in the game as he beat out an icing call, keeping Everett from pulling Palaga for the extra attacker when they would have wanted to.
“Donny(McDonald)’s goal was great, but he also legged out that icing. he had to out skate their defenseman for about 150 feet to go prevent the icing. Little plays like that often go unnoticed,” Price said.
The Royals then held tight and did not allow too many good looks at their goalie for the rest of the game. Perhaps Everett’s best look came as time was expiring and Andrusiak had a one-timer lined up. Mitchell Prowse dove out and blocked the shot, not allowing the puck on net.
That block summed up the game for Victoria as they left it all on the ice and handed the Silvertips their third straight loss.
Everett next plays on Friday in Kennewick against the Tri-City Americans. Meanwhile, the Royals head back home to take on the visiting Prince Albert Raiders on Tuesday.
-More on the next game for Victoria, which is their fourth in five nights. They will take on former Royals forward Dante Hannoun and Noah Gregor, among others. “For as tired as the guys were, there was sure a lot of enthusiasm in the room when we started talking about Tuesday,” Price said.
-Victoria defenseman Ralph Jarratt did not play after blocking a shot in the game Saturday against Seattle. He was the sixth scratch for the Royals.
-Everett is now 4-5 since losing number one center Riley Sutter. With Portland losing to Tri-City, they maintain their nine point lead in the U.S. Division. Portland has two games in hand.