There’s a part of me that just wants to cancel the rest of the schedule and have Everett and Seattle play one another the rest of the way. It’s just such great entertainment. And the sellout crowd of 8,456 tonight at Comcast Arena not only provided a tremendous background, the fans were treated to a thriller.
Kohl Bauml made sure the home crowd went home happy. The 17-year-old rookie has been on fire of late, and he took it a step further tonight, completing his hat trick by scoring the winner in overtime. I continue to marvel that the 5-foot-7, 160-pound Bauml does so much damage from in close as his three goals came on two rebounds and one jam on a mad scramble. The little guy isn’t afraid at all to mix it up in the dirty areas.
Bauml was given a chance at his hat trick by Josh Birkholz, who’s tipped goal with 45.2 seconds remaining in regulation got the game to OT.
It was justice as Everett deserved the win tonight. The Tips were the better team, especially in the third period, but Seattle was getting the puck luck. It actually felt a little like the game against Kelowna last Sunday. You can bet the Tips are glad they found a way to win it in OT and didn’t have to go to another shootout.
The winning goal came on the power play, and that continued a trend. Everett went 2-for-3 on the power play, and the Tips are 13-for-41 (31.7 percent) in January. Not only that, the Tips look great on the power play, too, with good, crisp puck movement and traffic in front. Is this really the same power play that looked so static earlier in the season?
Don’t look now, but the Tips are creeping back into the playoff hunt. Both Victoria and Prince George lost (along with Seattle getting just the one point), so the Tips now trail PG by three points, Victoria by six and Seattle by seven. Everett still has 10 games remaining against those three teams, too. Could the Tips really get themselves back in this thing?
This game had a lot of pivotal moments, but to be honest I never really felt it turn. Everett always seemed to me to be the likelier team to score.
HIT OF THE DAY
I didn’t actually see it, but based on the crowd reaction I have to think Ryan Harrison’s hit on Luke Lockhart late in the second period was a doozy.
First star: Bauml. Three goals, congrats on the first career WHL hat trick. 18 points in the past 16 games for the 17-year-old rookie.
Second star: Birkholz. Two goals and two assists, both those goals were huge as they tied the score in the third period.
Third star: Luke Lockhart, Seattle. Two assists, obligatory Seattle star for a game that went to OT.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Harrison. Two assists, and he may have actually been the best player on the ice. But hard to crack a hat trick and four points.