It was a good effort by Everett before a sellout crowd on fan appreciation night. The Tips outshot Portland 37-32, goaltender Luke Siemens was solid, and Portland wasn’t the same kind of offensive threat it was the previous night.
Unfortunately for the Tips, they just don’t have the offense. Everett is lacking the type of high-end skill required to take full advantage of getting the puck into dangerous positions, and the Tips never seem to quite be in the right position to put home rebounds.
It didn’t help that the Tips once again found themselves playing without captain Landon Ferraro. Ferraro, who just returned from hernia surgery, picked up a groin injury. Everett coach Craig Hartsburg said Ferraro could recover in time for Wednesday’s game at Tri-City. Overage defenseman Chad Suer was also out because of a gash in his leg that swelled up.
Everett needs those two, along with No. 1 netminder Kent Simpson (sprained ankle) back for next week’s final run-in. The Tips fell into eighth place in the Western Conference standings, a point behind Prince George. More importantly, Everett is now just two points clear of ninth-place Kamloops (with two games in hand) and four points clear of 10th-place Seattle. The Tips need to hold off both those teams to earn a playoff berth.
Portland got into penalty trouble in the second period, with the Tips first tying it up on the power play and then receiving a lengthy five-on-three. However, despite a lot of possession in the zone, Everett couldn’t trouble Portland goaltender Keith Hamilton during the five-on-three, which was by far the Tips’ best chance at taking the lead.
HIT OF THE DAY
Late in the first period Portland’s Riley Boychuk caught an off-balance Scott MacDonald square, sending MacDonald straight down onto his back.
First star: Nino Niederreiter, Portland. One goal and was a pest.
Second star: Ryan Murray, Everett. One assist and was absolutely everywhere on the ice.
Third star: Hamilton. 36 saves, did what he had to do.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Brennan Yadlowski, Everett. One assist, played solid in his own end.
Portland 2, Everett 1
MVP – Ryan Murray and Kent Simpson
Rookie of the Year – Jari Erricson
Unsung Hero – Clayton Cumiskey
Coaches Award – Ryan Murray
Most Improved Player – Josh Winquist
Iron Man Award – Ryan Murray, Brennan Yadlowski
Scholastic Player of the Year – Evan Morden
Community Relations Award – Landon Ferraro
FIERCE Predator Award (booster club) – Landon Ferraro