The Everett Silvertips improved to 3-0-1 against the Thunderbirds and padded their division lead to five points with a 5-1 win on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 8,145 at Xfinity Arena.

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EVERETT — If the Seattle Thunderbirds are going to have any chance to win the U.S. Division, they are going to have to figure out a way to beat their rivals to the north.

The Everett Silvertips improved to 3-0-1 against the Thunderbirds and padded their division lead to five points with a 5-1 win on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd of 8,145 at Xfinity Arena.

The Thunderbirds had plenty of chances to score early, but ran into a familiar nemesis in Everett goaltender Carter Hart.

Hart improved his record to 25-11-1-1 by making 25 saves on 26 shots and not allowing a goal until Everett had built an insurmountable 5-0 lead late in the third period.

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The Thunderbirds have had no luck against Hart, something Everett coach Kevin Constantine said isn’t surprising since neither has any other team in the Western Hockey League.

“He’s just a good goalie,” Constantine said. “It’s not just Seattle. I’m sure he has had similar success against a lot of other teams.”

Cole MacDonald had two goals for the Silvertips (26-12-2-2). Seattle (24-16-3-0) countered only with a score by Donavan Neuls with only 3:45 left in regulation.

Fatigue may have been a factor for Seattle, which was playing its fourth game in five nights that included a long bus trip to Prince George.

“I really liked the way we played in the first half of the game, but there was a lot to improve on in the second half of the game,” Seattle coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “If we had been able to score a couple of goals early when we had some really good chances, it would have been a different game.”

The one constant was Hart, who came into the game allowing a league-best 1.98 goals a game with an outstanding .925 save percentage.

“He’s definitely a good goalie, but we have to get more traffic in front of the net,” Konowalchuk said. “When we didn’t score, then we tried to pass to get a better and better shot instead of putting it on goal.”

After a scoreless first period in which Everett failed to cash in on a pair of power-play chances, the Silvertips took control in the second period.

The Silvertips broke the tie when McDonald planted himself in front of the Seattle net and tipped a shot by Kevin Davis into the top shelf. Only 25 seconds later, a turnover in the Seattle end led to Connor Dewar’s sixth goal of the season.

Two more Everett goals in the third period — the second of the night by MacDonald and one by Kevin Davis — and that was it for Seattle goaltender Landon Bow.

The loss was the first for Bow (4-1) after he was acquired in a trade with Swift Current.

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