This weekend may be the defining moment for Everett’s run-in. Here’s the current situation in the U.S. Division standings:
Portland, 73 points
Everett has home games against Seattle on Friday and Spokane on Saturday. Win those games and the Tips maintain contact with the T-birds and Chiefs in the jockeying for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Lose those games and Everett will likely have too much ground to make up in the final 19 games of the season to be a factor against Seattle or Spokane.
Indeed, the Tips have reached the danger point with regards to their guarantee. Everett issued a guarantee to season ticket holders last February that the Tips would finish no worse than sixth in the Western Conference this season. Otherwise, those season ticket holders will receive a $100 credit toward their tickets for 2014-15. For much of the season the guarantee seemed academic. But Wednesday saw the Vancouver Giants catch Everett for sixth place in the conference, so the race is on.
Everett will again be short-handed for this weekend’s games, as forwards Manraj Hayer (lower body), Zane Jones (upper body), Logan Aasman (finger) and Tyler Sandhu (upper body) remain out. However, defenseman Ben Betker, who’s missed three games with a lower-body injury stemming from blocking a shot, practiced today and is hoping to be in the lineup Friday.
The Tips also returned defenseman Carter Cochrane to his junior A team, the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. Cochrane was called up for Wednesday’s 8-1 loss in Portland.