PRINCE GEORGE, BC - Two players scored their first career WHL goals to help the Everett Silvertips earn a 5-2 win over the Prince George Cougars Friday night at CN Centre. The Silvertips now trail the Cougars by a single point in the standings and will have the chance to move into ninth place in the Western Conference when the teams meet again Saturday night.
Dominik Bittner not only scored his first WHL goal in the victory, but added a second before the first period was out. Ryan Chynoweth also netted his first career score as the 'Tips built a 4-1 lead after two periods. Josh Birkholz and Kohl Bauml found the back of the net and Kent Simpson turned aside 34 shots in goal.
Prince George jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal as Spencer Asuchak fought his way down the ice and tucked the puck past Kent Simpson three minutes in. The Silvertips tied it less than 90 seconds later however; as Dominik Bittner's long wrister from the point was deflected over Drew Owsley's shoulder to make it 1-1. Bittner then gave Everett the lead later in the period, intercepting a clearing attempt and charging in from the point before sniping a perfect shot top-corner just under the crossbar to put the 'Tips on top 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Josh Birkholz extended the lead with a highlight-reel tally at 4:23 of the second. Birkholz picked up the puck just inside the blueline and stickhandled through the Prince George defense before roofing the puck over Owsley's glove from in tight for his 22nd goal of the season. The Silvertips made it 4-1 before the end of a strong middle period as Prince George native Jari Erricson moved in close before backhanding a pass across the crease to Ryan Chynoweth, who banged home his first goal at the 18:35 mark.
The Cougars cut into the lead in the first minute of the third when Asuchak scored immediately after a faceoff win by Jordan Tkatch, putting the score at 4-2. Kent Simpson made a few key saves for Everett while facing a total of 16 third-period shots, and then Bauml shot the puck into an empty net from center ice with less than two minutes left to cap off the 5-2 Silvertips win.
Kent Simpson (9-24-1-5) reached 60 wins in his Silvertips career with the 34-save effort as the 'Tips outshot the Cougars 37-36. Drew Owsley (14-25-0-1) finished with 32 saves in the loss for Prince George. Both teams finished 0 for 3 on the powerplay.