Everett takes opener 3-2 over Americans, who rallied from an 0-2 deficit with two power-play goals in the second period.
EVERETT — Garrett Pilon, the son of an NHL tough guy, put his skills on display with a pair of pretty goals to lift the Everett Silvertips to a 3-2 win over the Tri-City Americans on Friday night in the opener of the best-of-seven Western Conference championship series.
A third-round NHL pick of the Washington Capitals, Pilon got Everett off to a strong start when he lifted a shot over Patrick Dea at 1:05 of the first period.
“A big start was something we were really keying on,” Pilon said. “That was a big goal for our group and gave us confidence going forward.”
It was a goal that highlighted the skill of Pilon, the son of Rich Pilon, who lasted 14 years in the NHL (mostly with the New York Islanders) by the power of his fists.
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For Tri-City, which swept Kelowna and Victoria in the first two rounds, being behind was something new. In their eight straight wins in the playoffs in the first two rounds, the Americans had trailed in only one of their wins, a wild 9-7 victory over Kelowna in the first round.
Pilon’s goal set the tone as the Silvertips out-hustled the talented Americans for the entire first period and led 2-0 when Connor Dewar scored a fortunate goal when his shot from behind the net was inadvertently knocked in by defenseman Jake Bean.
The Americans, who have three first-round NHL picks, got back into the game with a pair of power-play goals early in the second period.
Morgan Geekie, a third-round pick by Carolina, scored his 16th goal of the playoffs to pull the Americans close. The Americans scored another power-play goal, this one unassisted by Rasmussen, when the Americans got their own luck.
Everett goaltender Carter Hart lost control of the puck behind the net and Rassmussen tucked it in before Hart could get back in position.
The Silvertips took a 3-2 lead when Sean Richards won a battle in the corner and got the puck to Riley Sutter. He made a quick pass to Pilon, who roofed in his second goal of the game and eighth of the playoffs.
Pilon came within a cross bar of a hat trick when he narrowly missed an empty net in the final seconds.
“It was a little bit of panic,” he said. “It was a tough angle and I was a little rushed. After I missed I just wanted to make sure we didn’t get scored on the other way.”
Game 2 is Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in Everett.