Everett is in dire straits now.
The Tips and T-birds played their third straight closely-contested game, and for the third straight time it was Seattle that came out on top. The T-birds now own a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Only twice in WHL history has a team overturned a 3-0 deficit in a seven-game set. Everett is going to have to try and find a way to emulate Kelowna from last season, when the Rockets overcame a 3-0 deficit in the first round to defeat these same T-birds.
But while tonight’s game was another close one, the gameplay was drastically different. In Games 1 and 2 Everett outshot Seattle by a considerable margin, but struggled to capitalize on an edge in scoring chances. The Tips outshot the T-birds again — 31-29 tonight — but that number is misleading as Seattle was the aggressor throughout. The T-birds set the tone from the beginning with their physical play, forcing Everett goaltender Austin Lotz into four good saves before the game’s first whistle.
However, Seattle’s physical play also led to penalties, and the Tips were able to build a 2-1 lead in the first period on a pair of power-play goals. Indeed, Everett led on three different occasions, only for the T-birds to tie it up each time. Everett was then fortunate to get out of the third period as the Tips were forced to kill off the final 1:52 while short-handed, but Everett survived some scares.
Seattle’s physicality also took its toll as the Tips lost defenseman Noah Juulsen to injury in the first period. Juulsen was checked from behind by Jaimen Yakubowski and remained down on the ice. Juulsen eventually returned to the bench under his own power, but he later departed for the locker room and did not return. Yakubowski was given a double-minor for the hit.
Everett had the first good scoring chance in overtime as Zane Jones had a free look at goal, but Taran Kozun made the save. Less than a minute later Mathew Barzal won it for Seattle as he spun away from Everett defenseman Cole MacDonald in the corner, circled the net, got forced into the high slot, but still turned and slid a shot toward goal that glanced off traffic and trickled just inside the post.
First star: Barzal. One goal, overtime game winners often claim this spot.
Second star: Scott Eansor, Seattle. Two goals, caused the Tips all kinds of problems on the forecheck.
Third star: Patrick Bajkov, Everett. Two goals, three in the series for the 16-year-old.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Manraj Hayer, Everett. Three assists, and all three were primaries.
Game 1: Seattle 2, Everett 1
Game 2: Seattle 3, Everett 1
Game 3: Seattle 4, Everett 3 (OT)
Game 4: Seattle at Everett, Friday, 7:35 p.m.
Game 5 (if necessary): Everett at Seattle, Saturday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 6 (if necessary): Seattle at Everett, Monday, 7:05 p.m.
Game 7 (if necessary): Everett at Seattle, Wednesday, April 2, 7:05 p.m.