(Everett, WA) The Everett Silvertips (6-3-0-0) were out shooting the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings (3-6-0-0) by a large margin, but just could not finish their opportunities through two periods on Wednesday night. That has been the story for Everett a bit this season as they had just 21 goals in eight games coming into tonight.
Earlier in the week, they made with the Prince Albert Raiders to acquire someone known to provide some offense in 19-year-old forward Cole Fonstad.
He delivered with three points in the third period, sparking the Silvertips to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Wheat Kings.
“There was going to be some nerves for the first game. Whole bunch of new teammates that I am not familiar with at all but the guys were great and it was great to get that first win,” Fonstad said of his first game with Everett.
The points were his 23rd, 24th and 25th in his WHL career against familiar East Division foe Brandon.
Gage Goncalves had two goals, Bryce Kindopp had an assist and Olen Zellweger had his first WHL point in the win for Everett.
Fonstad had a lot of praise for his lienmates, Kindopp and Goncalves.
“(Kindopp’s) A great player. He is strong on the puck and protects the puck well. He’s pretty quick too. I didn’t know he was that fast. It’s good to keep building chemistry with him and Gage is a great player as well. He sees the ice really well I think we are going to work off each other really well.”
Kindopp now has 15 points in nine games which has him tied with former teammate Orrin Centazzo – now with the Kamloops Blazers – for second in the WHL in scoring. His eight goals are the most in the league.
Brandon goalie Ethan Kruger held the Silvertips at bay or just over 40 minutes, despite facing 33 shots. He stopped 39 of 42 overall for Brandon.
“I thought he gave us the chance to win. Krugs did everything that we expected of him. We expect him to give us the chance to win and make the saves. He battled,” said Brandon head coach Dave Lowry of his netminder.
Everett controlled most of the play and had an 8-4 edge in shots in the first but it was the visiting Wheat Kings who started the scoring.
Cole Reinhardt stick-handled in tight on Everett defenseman Gianni Fairbrother and sniped a backhand shot under the bar on Karki. The goal was his second this season.
The Silvertips continued to press but could not solve Kruger despite firing 18 shots on him.
After coincidental minors occurred with 5:15 left in the second, Everett increased the pressure. Fonstad had a semi-breakaway but Kruger turned him away. The ‘Tips had other chances too, many of which were in and around the crease, but a scrambling Kruger could not be beat.
Another great play which did not earn him a save came on the 4-on-4 as well. Gianni Fairbrother received a pass with room room behind he defense and tried to dangle around the 18-year-old goalie. Kruger was aggressive and poked the puck away just in time.
Shortly after both teams were at full strength, Brandon doubled their lead.
16-year-old forward Jake Chiasson drew the Everett defense to him in the ‘Tips zone and dropped a pass to a wide open Jonny Lambos. The Winnipeg native blasted a shot by Karki, who was sliding the other way and could not get back in time. The goal was the first of his WHL career. The assist was also Chiasson’s first in his young WHL career.
After 40 minutes of play the Silvertips had forced Kruger to make those 33 saves.
Down 2-0, the importance of an early third period 5-on-3 for Everett could not be overstated.
The newest Silvertips player delivered.
Fonstad set up Kindopp for a one-timer in the slot that Kruger got his left pad on. The puck though, went right to Fonstad who pushed in his third of the season and very first in an Everett uniform.
It came just 14 seconds into the period.
That meant the first Brandon penalty had not expired and Everett stayed on the power play.
Just 1:03 after Fonstad’s goal, Kindopp fed Gage Goncalves in the slot and his shot beat Kruger to tie the game.
“We did a lot of really good things. For 40 minutes I thought we were in control of the hockey game. It’s disappointing that a 5-on-3 gives them the momentum to get them back in the hockey game,” Lowry said.
Everett then took the lead for good just 5:21 after their first goal. In that short span of game time, they went from down 2-0 to up 3-2.
An Olen Zellweger shot was too tough for Kruger to fully glove and that left the puck right there for Goncalves to put in his second of the night.
Brandon pressed late but Everett goalie Kegan Karki, in just his second WHL start stood tall and earned his second win. This was his first regular season appearance on home ice. Karki stopped 27-of-29 in the win.
-Everett went 2-for-5 on the power play, while Brandon was 0-for-2.
-Everett hosts Tri-City on Friday night before Fonstad takes on his old team the Prince Albert Raiders at home Saturday.
-Brandon continues their U.S. Division trek as they take on Seattle Friday and Portland on Saturday.