Friday’s game: off-ice implications?

At first glance, Friday’s game at Comcast Arena between the Everett Silvertips and Vancouver Giants seems pretty meaningless. It’s two teams that are above .500, but well off the pace in the Western Conference.

But come March 16, Friday’s result may have been worth a lot of money.

Everett is in seventh place in the conference with 62 points. Vancouver is in sixth with 63. The Tips, of course, have guaranteed to season ticket holders that Everett will finish no worse than sixth in the conference this season. Otherwise, the season ticket holders who renewed early last season will receive a $100 credit toward next season’s season tickets. Everett assistant general manager Zoran Rajcic estimated that would be between $75,000-90,000.

Friday’s game is the last between the teams this season, so it’s the last time Everett has direct control over a four-pointer against Vancouver. Since the Giants lost 3-2 to Victoria on Monday, the Tips will move back into the safe zone with any kind of victory Friday.

But while the game may have major significance with regards to the guarantee, it’s equally likely it won’t. Everett still has two games in hand on Vancouver, so even with a regulation loss the Tips would still have sixth place in its own hands.

And with 16 games remaining in the season, there’s still a lot that can happen. Eighth-place Tri-City is right there, just three points back having played the same number of games as Everett. Even Prince George, seven points back in ninth place, can’t be discounted. For that matter, it’s also possible Everett could catch fifth-place Spokane, which is just seven points ahead of the Tips after Everett knocked off the Chiefs 3-2 Sunday.

So while Friday’s game may ultimately have a huge influence on the guarantee, let’s not get carried away.

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