The Chilliwack Bruins relied on some last-second heroics to salvage a single point, but a hot goaltender made the difference as Everett beat the Bruins 3-2 in Everett Saturday night.
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Kent Simpson was the unquestioned first star, stopping 38 of 40 shots to earn his seventh win of the year.
Ryan Murray scored the winner in the extra session as the Tips beat Chilliwack for the second time in eight days.
The Silvertips scored the only goal in period one, with a familiar nemesis pulling the trigger. Abbotsford native Kellan Tochkin recorded his fifth of the season with assists to Tyler Maxwell and Chad Suer.
Suer started the play from the point, moving the puck down low to Maxwell. Maxwell found Tochkin with a cross-crease pass as he snuck behind Bruins defender Tyler Stahl. Tochkin’s tally was his eighth goal (and 14th point) in 11 career games against Chilliwack.
Shots on goal in the first period favoured Everett 9-8.
Tochkin was at it again early in period two, scoring his second of the game with the Silvertips up a man. Chilliwack’s Kevin Sundher was sent to the sin bin a 1:09 for high sticking and Everett’s league-worst power play went to work.
With Sundher’s penalty just about to expire, Tochkin worked off the side boards, snapping a shot that beat Bruins netminder Lucas Gore five-hole.
Chilliwack finally found their way past onto the scoreboard at 15:55. Blair Wentworth did the spadework, digging the puck out for Brandon Manning, who got his 11th of the season on a slap shot from the point.
Shots on goal in the second period favoured the Bruins 13-11.
A lighting quick third period went by with few whistles and several high quality scoring chances. Gore kept his team within striking distance with one particularly huge stop, making an initial save on ex-Bruin Scott MacDonald and then robbing Clayton Cumiskey on the rebound.
At the other end, Sundher and Jamie Crooks had excellent back-to-back opportunities to tie the game. First, Crooks hit the post on a feed from Sundher. Then, Sundher had the tap-in rebound roll off his stick as he stared down a wide open net.
The Bruins had a late man advantage when Markus McCrea hauled down Jesse Pauls. But the normally lethal Chilliwack power play (second best in the Western Hockey League at 27.7 per cent) fizzled. Everything came down to the last 10 seconds and a mad scramble around the Everett net. With Howse, Crooks and Roman Horak whacking away at the puck in the blue paint, it found its way across the line.
Crooks got credit for the tally, notching his seventh of the year. Video review confirmed a good goal, sending the game to overtime.
Just 24 seconds into the extra session, the Bruins got a gift. A dangerous gift, but a gift nonetheless when MacDonald crunched Mitch Topping into the boards from behind. Working with the four-on-three man advantage, the Bruins had seven shots on net. But Simpson stood on his head, paving the way for Ryan Murray’s winner in the last minute of OT.
With 23 seconds left, the 17-year-old teed up a one-timer that changed direction on its way into the net.
Josh Birkholtz and Cumiskey drew the assists.
Three stars were Simpson (first), Tochkin (second) and Manning (third).
The Bruins have five days off before returning action Friday at home, hosting the Tri-City Americans at Prospera Centre.
Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.