Well, Everett needs an epic comeback to win this series, and the Tips took an emphatic first step with tonight's result. Everett has been unable to win the close ones in this series, so the Tips made sure that wasn't going to be an issue in Game 4. Seattle now holds a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, which is only series still going in the Western Conference.
Jujhar Khaira was the man tonight. The big power forward has had moments where he's flashed the ability to be a completely dominant player in this league. Tonight was one of those moments. He scored the game's opening goal with a power move just 1:27 into the game, then put in two rebounds on the power play early in the third period to complete his hat trick and end any thoughts of a Seattle comeback.
Everett also managed to maintain its strong start to the game following Khaira's opener. The Tips' first period was the team's best period of the series so far, and it staked Everett to a 3-0 lead. The Tips desperately needed a start like that after getting overrun physically in the first period of Tuesday's Game 3 in Kent.
Seattle was not exactly the picture of sportsmanship in defeat. First, Evan Wardley pointed at Everett's Logan Aasman and jawed at there crowd while Aasman was down injured. Then 19-year-old veteran Sam McKechnie picked a fight with 5-foot-9 16-year-old Matt Fonteyne, who had a grand total of 10 penalty minutes during the regular season.
Everett still has a long way to go if it wants to become just the third team in WHL history to rally from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series. The next step is in Game 5 Saturday night in Kent.
--- UPDATE, 11:05 p.m.
Two quick things:
First, I forgot to mention that Everett defenseman Cole MacDonald left the game in the second period and did not return. I did not see what happened to MacDonald. It's the second straight game in which the Tips have lost a defenseman, following Noah Juulsen's injury Tuesday.
Second, I was just informed the Tips raised more than $5,000 for Oso mudslide relief at tonight's game, so good job fans!
Although Khaira scored in the game's opening moments, the T-birds immediately had a chance to tie it as they received a power play 48 seconds later. However, during the power play Everett's Manraj Hayer corralled the puck in the high slot and steamed the opposite direction one-on-one. Hayer spied Joshua Winquist jumping into the play, sent a perfect backhand saucer pass across, and Winquist put the shot away. So instead of Seattle potentially tying it right back up, Everett had its first two-goal lead of the series.
First star: Khaira. Three goals, was an absolute beast as he played with energy and determination.
Second star: Brayden Low, Everett. One goal and one assist, worked well in tandem with Khaira.
Third star: Winquist. One goal and one assist, the goal was the record-breaking scorer's first of the series.
The Herald's honorable mention: Matt Pufahl, Everett. One assist, played like a captain with some brave blocks early in the game.
Everett 6, Seattle 1
Game 1: Seattle 2, Everett 1
Game 2: Seattle 3, Everett 1
Game 3: Seattle 4, Everett 3 (OT)
Game 4: Everett 6, Seattle 1 (Seattle leads 3-1)
Game 5: Everett at Seattle, Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 6 (if necessary): Seattle at Everett, Monday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Everett at Seattle, Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.
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