EVERETT — Adam Henry has scored only seven goals this season, but you would never believe it if you watched the beauty he scored Saturday night to lift the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 3-2 victory over the Everett Silvertips in Western Hockey League action.
Henry, a defenseman who came over in a trade with Lethbridge early in the season, showed his skilled side when he lifted a backhanded shot over goaltender Austin Lotz into the top corner of the net.
The score, which came midway through the third period, held up as the winner as the T-birds beat the Silvertips for the fourth consecutive time.
“I don’t know what happened, I blacked out when it went in,” Henry laughed. “It was four-on-four so there was a little more room. The (defenseman) overcommitted up top, so I just walked around him, saw there was a bit of a two-on-one to the net, turned my head and fired it.”
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All kidding aside, Henry did admit he was going for the exact spot where it went in, the perfect shot at the perfect time for the streaking Thunderbirds.
“I don’t want to say I’m a 50-goal scorer or anything,” Henry said, “but I did want to get it up high.”
The victory puts the T-birds at 37-17-2-3 and clinched a playoff spot with 13 games left in the regular season.
“It’s much better than waiting for the last game like we did the last two years,” Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “It’s much better to be worrying about playoff position than playing for your life.”
The defeat drops Everett to 28-22-7-1 and keeps the Silvertips tied with the Vancouver Giants for sixth place in the Western Conference.
That’s an important difference for Everett because team management guaranteed fans they would finish sixth or better or they would discount season tickets, a move that could cost the team between $75,000 to $90,000.
Josh Winquist scored his 37th goal of the season to give Everett the lead in the first period.
Winquist now ranks fourth among season goal-scorers in franchise history and seems a lock to soon hold the record. Winquist’s 37 goals ranks behind John Lammers (38), Tyler Maxwell (41) and Shane Harper (42) with 13 games left.
Seattle tied the score when Sam McKechnie scored short-handed at 7:40 of the second period, but Everett regained the lead on the same power play 23 seconds later on the seventh goal of the season by Patrick Bajkov.
The Thunderbirds got even again on the 13th goal of the season by Russell Maxwell 1:39 into the third period and then went ahead on the beautiful goal by Henry.