Patrick Bajkov scored twice and Matt Fonteyne had three assists to lift Everett over Seattle in Game 1 of the opening round of the Western Hockey League playoffs.
EVERETT — Patrick Bajkov felt the Everett Silvertips had something to prove, and there was no doubt left among the 4,247 in attendance after a dominating 4-1 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 1 Friday of an opening-round Western Hockey League playoff series.
Bajkov scored twice and Matt Fonteyne had three assists to lift the Silvertips to a dominating 4-1 victory over the defending-champion Seattle Thunderbirds.
“It was important for us to get off to a quick start, and I was proud of our entire team for the way we came out being physical in all three periods,” Bajkov said. “That’s the way we have to play, with something to prove. We have to have a physical focus on each and every shift.”
Best-of-seven series (Everett leads, 1-0)
Game 1 — Everett 4, Seattle 1
Game 2 — Seattle @ Everett, Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 3 — Everett @ Seattle, Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4 — Everett @ Seattle, Friday, 7:35 p.m.
Game 5 — Seattle @ Everett, Saturday, March 3, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 6 — Everett @ Seattle, Tuesday, April 3, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7 — Seattle @ Everett, Wednesday, April 4, 7:05 p.m.*
* If necessary
The Thunderbirds have beaten the Silvertips in all three of the previous playoff matchups between the two franchises, but this one had a much different tone with Everett dominating from the start. Everett outshot Seattle in every period and 46-26 in the game.
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Bajkov, the Silvertips’ career leader in points (288), goals (112) and assists (176), scored twice in the second period to give the Silvertips an insurmountable three-goal cushion after 40 minutes.
Playing in his last season in Everett, the 20-year-old Bajkov, out of Nanaimo, B.C., was rewarded for his stellar Silvertips career by recently signing a contract with the NHL’s Florida Panthers.
Garrett Pilon opened the scoring with a beautiful shot at 10:55 of the first period. After taking a pass from Fonteyne, Pilon rifled the puck over Seattle goaltender Liam Hughes’ right shoulder.
That lone goal had to give the Thunderbirds a sinking feeling as they were going against Carter Hart, Everett’s franchise leader with 26 shutouts and 116 victories.
The hole got even deeper for Seattle when Bajkov scored short-handed 1:47 into the second.
“We had a power play and didn’t execute on the breakout and turned it over,” Seattle coach Matt O’Dette said. “That was a big momentum swing going in the wrong direction for us, and I felt from there we were chasing the game a little bit after that.”
Bajkov put the game out of reach at 3-0 when he added his second goal of the period on a shot from the point at 5:50.
Seattle kept some hope alive when Zack Andrusiak tipped a shot past Hart at 7:03, but it was short-lived as Bryce Kindopp scored unassisted three minutes later.
Hart made sure it stayed that way, stopping 25 of the 26 shots.
“You have to throw multiple opportunities at Hart to beat him,” O’Dette said. “You’re not going to beat him with perimeter shots and not if you don’t create those second and third chances.”