Against all odds, Everett made it interesting. In the end though, the Portland Winterhawks were just too skilled, too relentless and simply...
EVERETT — Against all odds, Everett made it interesting. In the end though, the Portland Winterhawks were just too skilled, too relentless and simply too good.
The regular-season champion Winterhawks finished off the eighth-seeded Silvertips with a dominating 5-1 victory in Game 6 on Monday to win the opening-round best-of-seven series.
Portland held Everett to only 13 shots, including one in the final period despite Portland holding a 3-1 advantage. At the other end, Portland pelted Everett’s net with 52 shots, and at least half were good scoring opportunities.
Only a valiant effort by Everett goaltender Austin Lotz, who had 47 saves, kept the final from being far worse. Lotz finished the series with 215 saves on 242 shots, facing an average of more than 40 shots per game.
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Everett made it interesting when Reid Petryk cleanly beat Portland goaltender Mac Carruth on Everett’s first shot of the game to briefly give the Silvertips the lead.
After that, though, it was all Portland all the time.
Seth Jones and Oliver Bjorkstrand both scored twice for the Winterhawks, who will play either the Spokane Chiefs or the Seattle Thunderbirds in the second round.
Jones was an unpopular hero for Portland in Everett. The Silvertips held the rights to Jones, but he declined to sign. He ended up being traded and signing with Portland and was booed every time he touched the puck in Everett.
“I knew that was going to happen,” Jones said with a smile. “It was exciting, though.”
Jones said the Winterhawks did not feel any pressure, despite Everett having won twice in Portland.
“Not really,” Jones said. “We knew that if we came out and played our game that we would win. We weren’t guaranteeing the win, but pretty close. Everett really hung in there and really did everything they could. You have to hand it to them. They had some key players step up and play well.”
Everett coach and general manager Garry Davidson wasn’t surprised the way the series ended, but was hoping for a Game 7.
“There was 60-points between us in the regular season and that gives you an indication of where they’re at and where we’re at,” Davidson said. “I was pretty excited the way our guys dug in and managed to win two games in the series. They came out and played a very good game against us. They wouldn’t give us the puck all night long. They were really good.”
Everett, the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs, shocked the regular-season champions with two wins in Portland. The Winterhawks were dominant in Everett, outscoring the Silvertips 23-8 in the three games that Everett had the home ice advantage.
Bjorkstrand scored two goals and had two assists in the concluding game with Taylor Leier scoring Portland’s fifth goal.
“We really struggled to keep up with their pace and tempo,” Davidson said. “When you are defending all night long like we were, that drains a lot of energy. We didn’t manage the puck very well tonight. I don’t think anyone gave us any hope of getting to Game 6. It was valuable experience for our group of young people. That’s a real positive for us.”
With Lotz returning, Everett has a key piece to build around for next season.
“He was very, very good,” Davidson said. “He was going to be a good goalie for our organization and I think he has the potential to become a pro.”
Josh Winquist did not have a point in the game despite being double shifted, but finished the series with six goals and an assist.
This is the first home playoff game in April for Everett since 2007 and only 1,977 were in attendance after the team averaged 5,062 in the regular season.