Everett coach Kevin Constantine is always stressing how a team’s start is more important than it’s finish. That turned out to be the case tonight. The Tips got into penalty trouble early in the game, and Seattle led 2-0 after 11:44 thanks to two power-play goals.
Everett improved from that point, outshooting Seattle 26-10 over the final two periods, including 19-4 in the second period. However, the only thing the Tips were able to produce from that was a five-on-three goal.
Then in the third period Seattle did a good job of slowing the game down and preventing the Tips from getting quality scoring chances.
I don’t think either side was thrilled with the officiating tonight. Constantine was particularly agitated during the sequence that led to Seattle’s second goal. Everett’s Jujhar Khaira was given a goaltender interference penalty that Constantine argued vociferously. Then the T-birds scored on a slap shot from the point by Shea Theodore, a play in which the Tips though Everett goaltender Austin Lotz was interfered with. Then in the second period Seattle was whistled for three penalties in the first 4:28, drawing the ire of the Seattle bench.
Lastly, I saw something new tonight. With 5:22 remaining in the third period the game had to be stopped because Seattle’s Justin Hickman got his hand stuck between two panels of glass. Hickman was eventually able to free himself and finished out the game. The stoppage, by the way, ended a stretch of about 10 minutes without a whistle.
As important as those goaltender-contact incidents turned out to be, Everett really needed to score more than once during the second period.
First star: Taran Kozun, Seattle. 38 saves, this is why the T-birds got him at the trade deadline.
Second star: Patrick Bajkov, Everett. One goal, excellent first playoff game for the 16-year-old.
Third star: Russell Maxwell, Seattle. One goal, staked Seattle to an early lead.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Mirco Mueller, Everett. No points, but did some nice work defensively, especially when he thwarted a Seattle two-on-one late in the second period.
Game 1: Seattle 2, Everett 1 (Seattle leads 1-0)
Game 2: Seattle at Everett, Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
Game 3: Everett at Seattle, Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4: Seattle at Everett, Friday, 7:35 p.m.
Game 5 (if necessary): Everett at Seattle, Saturday, March 29, 7:05 p.m.
Game 6 (if necessary): Seattle at Everett, Monday, March 31, 7:05 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Everett at Seattle, Wednesday, April 2, 7:05 p.m.