Where to begin…
I was fortunate last year that none of Everett’s playoff games went into overtime as seemed to be the lot in life for my predecessor Nick Patterson (who was in the building Friday night. Hmm…)
The Silvertips gutted out a 3-2 overtime win during a game in which they never trailed, but gave up two equalizing goals. The second one could have been particularly devastating as it came with less than six minutes to play in regulation. But the Tips regrouped and got the OT game-winner from Finnish forward Eetu Tuulola seven minutes into overtime.
Make no mistake: this was absolutely a must-win for Everett. The Tips did not want to go back to Victoria for a Sunday matinee down 3-2 in the series. With centers Devon Skoleski and Riley Sutter on the shelf for the first four games, the Tips have scraped by in this series utilizing strong defense and goaltending, and impressive performance on the power play. Sutter returned Friday and skated on the fourth line with Brandson Hein and Keith Anderson (also making his series debut).
The Tips finished 1-for-3 on the power play Friday while Victoria came up empty in its lone man advantage. Everett has scored eight of its 13 goals in this series via the power play.
Penalties have became a point of contention for Royals coach Dave Lowry who told the Victoria Times-Colonist this:
“Our guys play extremely hard and are frustrated by [the Silvertips’] hooking and cross-checking [not being called],” said Lowry.
“And then they [Silvertips] go down real easy.”
Meanwhile, Everett head coach Kevin Constantine has taken issue with what he perceives to be an uptick in uncalled slashing:
“We try to be a disciplined team during the year and we try to stay with that during the playoffs,” Constantine said. “So the playoffs they let a little more go. There is a little more hacking and whacking and both teams pick up their physical play and so the game is slightly different in the playoffs than it is during the regular season.”
So that’s where we’re at. Patrick Bajkov (five goals, five assists), Dominic Zwerger (two goals, eight assists) and Kevin Davis (one goal, six assists) are having tremendous series from a points perspective. Everett heads into Sunday’s matinee with a 3-2 series lead and guaranteed home-ice for an if-necessary seventh game.
The Turning Point
Let’s call it the intermission between the third period and overtime. It gave the Tips a chance to regroup and overcome what could have been another devastating late-game defeat.
1. Everett F Patrick Bajkov: The Nanaimo native had a goal and an assist.
2. Everett F Dominic Zwerger: The overager had two assists.
3. Victoria G Griffen Outhouse: The netminder had 30 saves on 33 shots.