This one looked like it was over before it really even began.
I’m not sure the Tips could have started any worse. The fans were still settling into their seats when Everett’s Dawson Leedahl was heading back to the locker room after being assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for checking from behind. Brandon proceeded to score three times during the five-minute power play. The kicker? The Wheat Kings only put three shots on goal during the entire power play, but all three went in. Lights out, game over, right?
It sure seemed that way when the Wheat Kings took a 5-1 lead into the second intermission. But credit to the Tips for making that game interesting in the third. Everett outshot Brandon 24-5 in the third (38-17 for the game as a whole), scored twice in the first seven minutes, then kept up the pressure. Everett created several scoring chances and easily could have pulled within one, but the Tips couldn’t find the back of the net again.
We also saw shades of Kevin Constantine from his first stint as Everett’s coach. Constantine was renown for pulling his goaltender for an extra attacker early, and he was back at it again tonight. Trailing 5-3, Constantine called Daniel Cotton to the bench in favor of an extra skater with 7:53 remaining. Cotton bounced back in and out of goal two more times because of face-offs in the neutral zone. But for four minutes the Tips kept the puck in the Brandon zone before the Wheat Kings were finally able to break out with control and score into the empty net to end it.
As for Cotton, it was a rough start to his stint as Everett’s workhorse goalie. Cotton, who will have to carry the load while Austin Lotz is sidelined with his ankle injury, allowed goals on four of the first five shots he faced and finished with 11 saves on 16 shots. He hadn’t played since Oct. 12, so it may have been a case of working out the rust.
Both teams had four-game streaks come to an end, Everett’s winning streak and Brandon’s losing streak.
Not too hard to figure this one out. It was just 35 seconds into the game when Leedahl hit a bent-over Richard Nejezchleb from behind and into the boards in front of the Everett bench and was given a major penalty and game misconduct. Brandon went hog wild on the ensuing five-minute power play to put the Tips in a hole too deep to climb from.
First star: Jayce Hawryluk, Brandon. Three goals and one assist, and he easily could have scored five. He was a constant terror in the Everett zone.
Second star: Joshua Winquist, Everett. Two goals and one assist, helped get the Tips back in it.
Third star: Colton Waltz, Brandon. Two assists, solid game from a Brandon blueliner I didn’t know anything about.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Cole MacDonald, Everett. There weren’t a lot of bright spots for the Tips in this one, but MacDonald had some good moments as a defenseman playing forward, and he showed how it’s done when it comes to getting shots from the point on net during the power play.