The Tips ended a lot of agony tonight, and they did so in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Consider:
– Everett was in a slump, having lost six straight.
– Everett was playing a Spokane team it hadn’t beat in six attempts this season.
– Spokane had Eric Williams starting in goal, a goalie who owned the Tips, having given up just eight goals in six games.
– The Tips had a veritable all-star team in the stands wearing suits because of injuries, forcing Everett to play two skaters short and without a drafted defenseman and four of its top six forwards.
But the Tips found a way to win against a Spokane team that was tired itself — the Chiefs were finishing up a brutal road trip that saw Spokane play Tuesday in Kamloops, Wednesday in Kelowna, Friday in Portland and Saturday in Everett. It didn’t come easy — there’s no way the Tips were going to end the various skids in routine fashion. Even though Everett chased Williams with four goals in 29 minutes, the Tips had to survive an off night from its own goaltenders, too. And they nearly sabotaged themselves at the end (see below). But boy, did Everett need this one.
With eight seconds remaining in regulation, Everett’s Brayden Low (who otherwise played a fantastic game) took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. It’s was eerily similar to the situation a week earlier in Kent, when the Tips took a penalty in the final seconds of a tie game, giving Seattle a four-on-three power play in OT. Everett nearly killed off that penalty, but the T-birds scored in the dying seconds of the advantage to win it.
But this time the Tips put on a valiant display to kill the penalty, then a minute later received a power play of their own when Adam Helewka took a high-sticking penalty. Everett nearly needed the whole thing, but Joshua Winquist was able to set up Ivan Nikolishin in the right circle, and Nikolishin ripped a one-timer in to the net to give Everett a much-needed win.
First star: Kohl Bauml, Everett. One goal and two assists, skated well in his best game in some time.
Second star: Colton Bobyk, Spokane. Two goals, nearly had his hat trick in OT when he rang the crossbar.
Third star: Patrick Bajkov, Everett. One goal and one assist, the 16-year-old looked right at home on a makeshift top line.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Nikolishin. Two goals, the guy who scores the game winner in OT to end the losing streaks deserves a nod.
Give that man a raise: Marc Paquet, Everett. Not only is the Tips’ athletic trainer working overtime because of all of Everett’s injuries, he gets a big thanks from me for coming through with an ice bag each of the past two nights as I fought through pain.