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Everett Silvertips’ defence holds out against Royals

EVERETT 3 VICTORIA 1 It was one of those irresistible force versus immovable object equations.
VictoriaÕs Ralph Jarratt, left, and EverettÕs Graham Milar run into the referee during Saturday nightÕs action.


It was one of those irresistible force versus immovable object equations. Something had to give as the Victoria Royals, who scored a franchise record 18 goals in their previous two games and 24 over the previous three, met the best defensive team in the Western Hockey League.

The Everett Silvertips (9-2-2), who have allowed the fewest goals in the WHL, defeated the Royals 3-1 Saturday night before 4,424 fans at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre despite being outplayed and outshot 38-13 by Victoria.

It doesn’t hurt the Silvertips to have Philadelphia Flyers second-round draft pick Carter Hart in goal and Montreal Canadiens first-round draft pick Noah Juulsen on defence. Both showed why they are such obvious candidates for the Canadian team to the 2017 world junior championships as Juulsen scored twice Saturday and Hart was simply outstanding in the crease.

“It was a good game and we did a lot of good things. We generated 38 shots and gave up only 13. I have no problem with how we played,” said Victoria coach Dave Lowry.

“But there is a reason why Everett is the top team in the American Division and one of the best in the conference.”

The Silvertips have been well constructed by GM Garry Davidson, former GM and head coach in the BCHL of both the Victoria Salsa and Nanaimo Clippers, while the Royals are the defending WHL regular-season champions. With all due respect to Prince George’s fast start and Victoria’s relatively slow one at 7-6, few people would be shocked to see a Silvertips-Royals Western Conference final next spring.

“The Silvertips don’t give up much defensively and they have a very good goalie,” said Victoria forward Jared Dmytriw.

Abbotsford-native Juulsen scored Everett’s first goal in the first period on a screen provided by Nanaimo product Patrick Bajkov.

The Victoria power play, which has scored 11 times in the last four games, levelled through Regan Nagy at 4:05 of the second period. Over-ager Dominic Zwerger beat Victoria goaltender Griffen Outhouse on a wrap-around to make it 2-1 at 13:25 of the second period on just Everett’s eighth shot of the game. That proved to be decisive as Juulsen ended it late in the third with an empty-net goal with Victoria on a two-man advantage.

“It was a bit frustrating coming off two big games and scoring only once tonight,” said Victoria forward Matthew Phillips.

“Our effort was there. But [Silvertips] play a defensive style with one of the best goalies in the league.”

The Royals now embark on a road swing through Kamloops on Tuesday, Kelowna on Wednesday, Tri City on Friday and Everett next Saturday.

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