Unfortunately for the Tips, that last 10 percent proved fatal.
Everett controlled play, but was punished for its mistakes as the Tips fell 3-2 to the rival Seattle Thunderbirds at Comcast Arena.
Playing its first game of the second half of the Western Hockey League season, Everett dominated the puck, outshooting Seattle 38-21, including 28-8 in the final two periods. However, the Tips, playing without their two overage forwards, were lacking the cutting edge in front of goal.
Then at the other end, Everett had three lapses that led to Seattle odd-man rushes, and the T-birds converted all three.
"Overall I thought we played a heck of a game," Everett center Kohl Bauml said. "We had a couple of errant passes, a couple mental breakdowns, tired at the end of shifts. But those things happen in hockey. We didn't make a lot of mistakes tonight, but the ones we made cost us."
Justin Myles played a solid game in goal for Seattle, finishing with 36 saves. He made two beauties in the third period to preserve the T-birds' lead.
Justin Hickman, Shea Theodore and Sam McKechnie scored the goals for Seattle (22-10-1-3), which caught Everett for second place in the U.S. Division. Seattle has one game in hand.
Carson Stadnyk and Jujhar Khaira scored for Everett (21-11-1-3). Austin Lotz made 18 saves.
The teams play again tonight in Kent.
Both teams were playing severely short-handed and were unable to field a full lineup, as both played one skater down. Most notable for Everett was the absence of leading scorer Joshua Winquist. The overage winger was scratched with an unspecified injury, joining fellow overage forward Manraj Hayer (concussion) on the sidelines. Therefore, the Tips played without their two best offensive weapons, and that limited Everett's ability to put the puck in the net.
"They did a good job keeping us to the outside, limiting our high-quality scoring chances," Bauml said of the T-birds. "Their goalie played a heck of a game, you have to give him credit. But if we play like that, nine times out of 10 we're going to win the hockey game. It was one of our better games all year, especially coming back after Christmas break."
Seattle opened the scoring 5 minutes in while short-handed. Hickman intercepted Patrick Bajkov's pass to the point and headed on a breakaway. He beat Lotz with a move to his backhand to give the T-birds a 1-0 lead.
Everett answered at 9:57. Stadnyk held off a defender, put a shot past Myles, then bowled Myles over. Stadnyk was given a goaltender interference penalty, but the goal stood to make it 1-1.
The T-birds regained the lead at 15:16. While skating four-on-four, Seattle found itself with a three-on-one. Alexander Delnov set up Theodore, who skated around Lotz to make it 2-1.
The second period was all Everett, as the Tips outshot the T-birds 15-4, and Everett tied it on the power play at 7:56. Cole MacDonald's shot from the point smacked the post flush, but Khaira found the rebound and backhanded it in to knot the score 2-2.
However, the Tips allowed another odd-man rush in the period's final minute, and the T-birds converted, McKechnie having all kinds of time in front after being found by Seth Swenson to give Seattle a 3-2 lead going into the third.
"That was a little deflating, just a bad bounce off of a pass," Bauml said. "They got the bounce and we just couldn't buy one of those."
Everett continued to control play in the third period, but Myles made sure the Tips didn't tie it. He made a huge pad save on Matt Fonteyne midway through the period, then made a flying recovery save on Ivan Nikolishin on a rebound in the dying seconds to clinch it.
In addition to Winquist and Hayer, Everett also was without three regular defensemen as Mirco Mueller (World Junior Hockey Championships), Kevin Davis (U-17 World Hockey Challenge) and Noah Juulsen (U-17s) were away on international duty. ... With the three d-men gone, 16-year-old call-up defenseman Jordan Wharrie made his WHL debut. ... Seattle was also missing five players, including veteran wingers Connor Honey (upper body) and Jaimen Yakubowski (upper body) and 16-year-old phenom Mathew Barzal (upper body).
Check out Nick Patterson's Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.
Thunderbirds 3, Silvertips 2
Seattle 2 1 0--3
Everett 1 1 0--2
First Period--1, Seattle, Hickman 12, 5:00 (sh). 2, Everett, Stadnyk 12 (Leedahl, Zipp), 9:57. 3, Seattle, Theodore 14 (Delnov), 15:16. Penalties--Henry, Seattle (hooking), 3:54; Pufahl, Everett (holding), 6:06; Stadnyk, Everett (goaltender interference), 9:57; Elliot, Seattle (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:14; Adam, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:14; Troock, Seattle (hooking), 17:37.
Second Period--4, Everett, Khaira 8 (MacDonald), 7:56 (pp). 5, Seattle, McKechnie 4 (Swenson), 19:27. Penalties--Betker, Everett (holding), 0:50; Delnov, Seattle (tripping), 7:11; Wardley, Seattle (fighting), 8:26; DeRoose, Everett (fighting), 8:26; Theodore, Seattle (cross checking), 11:35; Spencer, Seattle (hooking), 15:41; Nikolishin, Everett (interference), 16:06.
Third Period--none. Penalties--Wharrie, Everett (tripping), 5:00; Eansor, Seattle (high sticking), 19:16.
Shots on goal--Seattle 13-4-4--21. Everett 10-15-13--38. Power-play opportunities--Seattle 0 of 5. Everett 1 of 6.
Goalies--Seattle, Lotz 16-9-1-0 (21 shots, 18 saves). Everett, Myles 11-5-0-0 (38 shots, 36 saves).
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