I can’t imagine this game turned out the way anyone was expecting. When Everett faced Kamloops 10 days earlier, the Tips surrendered a franchise-record 69 shots on goal. Everett was severely short-handed tonight, playing two skaters down, and the scratch list was almost exclusively veterans as 12 of the 18 players Everett dressed were rookies. It had all the makings of a Blazers bloodbath.
But the Tips turned in an inspired effort and picked up a hard-earned point. Through two periods Everett was outshooting Kamloops 22-11 — who could have seen that coming? The Tips had to hang on in the third as the Blazers got rolling, but Daniel Cotton was strong in goal to ensure Everett got something out of the game.
The loss means Everett has still lost four straight. But both games this weekend were dropped in shootouts, meaning the Tips picked up two points. If asked before the weekend began, given the circumstances and the level of competition, I’m sure the Tips gladly would have taken two points. Now if only the Tips could solve that whole shootout thing. That said, both teams essentially put their four best guys out in the shootout. Kamloops’ four have scored a combined 286 points, Everett’s four have scored 104. Advantage Kamloops.
Everything remained the same in the Western Conference playoff race as Everett, Seattle and Prince George all got one point tonight. That means the seventh-place Tips are still four points ahead of the T-birds and eight points ahead of the Cougars.
Everett’s first goal was vital. Kamloops scored 3:31 into the game, and it would have been easy envisioning the game quickly getting out of hand. But Landon Oslanski answered 3:07 later to announce the Tips were going to be a competitor in this one.
First star: Oslanski. Two goals, both on slap shots from the point that were two powerful for Kamloops goalie Cole Cheveldave to keep out.
Second star: Cotton. 30 saves, came up huge in the third period when the Blazers were pressing.
Third star: Brendan Ranford, Kamloops. One assist, not sure he did anything to separate himself from any of Kamloops’ other single-point guys.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Both teams had a player who didn’t hit the scoresheet tonight, but who I thought played fantastic games. Everett defenseman Mirco Mueller won all his battles and was very controlled with his outlet passes. Kamloops winger Cole Ully missed some glorious scoring chances, but he sure had a lot of them, twice drawing iron.