Everett Silvertips (8) at Tri-City Americans (4)
Everett leads series 2-1
Game 4: Thursday, April 26 – Toyota Centre, Kennewick, Wash. – 7:05 p.m. PT
The Everett Silvertips were perfect on the road in the 2018 WHL Playoffs. The Tri-City Americans had a perfect record at home in the 2018 WHL Playoffs.
Something had to give, and Monday night at the Toyota Centre in Kennewick, Wash., it gave in favour of the U.S. Division Champions.
An eight-goal explosion from the Silvertips, featuring a hat trick from Patrick Bajkov (Florida Panthers), moved the ‘Tips to a perfect 5-0 record on the road in the 2018 WHL Playoffs and a 2-1 series advantage in the Western Conference Championship.
The 8-4 final score makes sense, even when considering that into the early stages of the third, it appeared to be a contest that was going to go right down to the wire. Martin Fasko-Rudas and Bajkov opened the scoring to make it 2-0 for the visitors, but Americans captain Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) responded with his 13th goal of the post-season to make it a 2-1 game after 20 minutes.
Early in the second, a defensive lapse by the Silvertips gave Juuso Valimaki (Calgary Flames) a free shot on net that he made no mistake in converting on tying goal.
Even with their two-goal lead evaporating, the Silvertips kept charging. Reece Vitelli notched his third of the post-season minutes later and Ian Walker struck for his first of the WHL Playoffs 13:02 into the period to make it a 4-2 contest.
True to the craziness of a 12-goal game, the scoring only intensified in the third. Goals 58 seconds apart from Isaac Johnson and Rasmussen’s second of the contest once again tied up the score.
Looking for the championship calibre response in a sink-or-swim situation, the Silvertips turned in a Michael Phelps-esque performance with four goals in a 4:50 span to permanently seize control of the game.
Bajkov scored the game-winning goal on his second breakaway of the game, then completed his hat trick with the insurance goal minutes later. 2018 NHL Draft prospect Connor Dewar and Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals) rounded out the flurry of offence.
Pilon finished with a goal and three points, Vitelli had a goal and an assist, and Sean Richards had a pair of helpers to have the other multi-point performances outside of Bajkov’s hat trick.
Rasmussen had a pair of goals and three points to lead the home side. Valimaki added a goal and an assist for the only other multi-point performance from the Americans in the loss.
Monday’s contest was far from your typical defensive contest, but Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) shook off some tough goals to finish with 29 saves on 33 shots. Patrick Dea stopped 20 of 28 shots in 51:44 of action Beck Warm didn’t allow a goal in eight minutes of action.
#WHLPlayoffs schedule for Tuesday, April 24
Game 3 – Swift Current Broncos at Lethbridge Hurricanes – 7:00 p.m. MT (SC leads 2-0)