The Tips have been waiting for this. Everett has been regularly outshooting its opponents, but it wasn’t translating into goals. However, the Tips offense busted out in a big way in the third period, scoring four times to breach the dam.
It was an absolutely dominating performance by Jujhar Khaira that sparked the outburst. Khaira scored twice and had the primary assist on a third during the period. What has to be particularly satisfying for the Tips is that Khaira did pretty much all his damage down low or in front. He was brought in during the offseason with the hope he could be a dominating power forward. He was a beast tonight, and if he can continue that level of play he’ll be a nightmare for opponents the rest of the season. The theory is that newcomer Zane Jones — who arrived Friday, but not in time to dress — will play alongside Khaira. That could be an incredibly difficult line for opposing defenses to handle.
Though this one finished 6-3, it never should have been that close. The Tips outshot the Americans 40-15, but Everett’s goaltenders didn’t have the best night. Daniel Cotton was pulled after allowing two goals on nine shots, and all three Tri-City goals are ones the netminders probably wanted back.
The victory not only ended Everett’s four-game losing streak, it also ended a six-game skid at home. The last time the Tips won a home game was Nov. 30 in a 5-1 victory over Saskatoon.
Not sure it was the most pivotal moment, but the one that stood out most to me came with less than five minutes remaining. Everett’s lead was just 4-3, but Khaira went into beast mode. He was all effort as he outfought the defense while chasing the puck behind the Tri-City net, then whipped a pass out front for Carson Stadnyk to put away. That was that kind of play an elite scoring power forward makes, and it gave the Tips the insurance they needed.
First star: Khaira. Two goals and two assists, he was a dominator.
Second star: Joshua Winquist, Everett. One goal and one assist, looked like himself for the first time since returning from injury.
Third star: Patrick Bajkov, Everett. One goal, plus multiple other scoring chances.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Ivan Nikolishin, Everett. Two assists, both primaries.