Somewhere on high it was mandated the Everett Silvertips and Seattle Thunderbirds shall play close games from now until eternity.
For four-plus seasons the series between the I-5 rivals has been a dead heat. The previous four campaigns the 10-game season series was split 5-5. Last season six of the 10 games were decided by one goal. The previous three meetings this season were a 1-0 regulation result, a 2-1 overtime result and a 3-2 shootout result. It really doesn’t get any closer than that.
But despite how close the games had been this season, they’d all gone Everett’s way — until now. Seattle’s game winner was a fluke goal (see below). That said, I think it’s safe to say the T-birds had some karma coming their way following the nature of Everett’s victories earlier this season. And Seattle was the better team tonight and deserved the win.
After Wednesday’s 2-1 victory against Kamloops I wrote that I thought the injuries were starting to catch up to the Tips. With yet another regular on the sidelines (defenseman Tristen Pfeifer), the situation is continuing to build. Fifteen-year-old call-up Bryce Kindopp put in an admirable effort — he drew two Seattle penalties — but the Tips essentially played without a fourth line the final two periods. The extra minutes have been picked up by Everett’s top two lines, and it’s taking a toll.
It was an innocent enough looking play. At 17:12 of the second period with the score tied 2-2, a joust along the right boards in the Everett zone saw the puck pop straight up into the air. No one on the ice could locate the puck except for Seattle defenseman Scott Allan, who was manning the right point. Allan immediately fired a shot, catching all the Tips by surprise, including goaltender Austin Lotz. The puck snuck into the near corner to give the T-birds a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
First star: Donovan Neuls, Seattle. One goal and one assist, was part of a forecheck that caused Everett’s defense problems, making it difficult to break the puck out.
Second star: Noah Juulsen, Everett. One goal and one assist, was involved in both Tips goals, which both came on the power play.
Third star: Patrick Bajkov, Everett. One goal, but not sure he did enough to warrant a place among the stars.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Ethan Bear, Seattle. One goal, a very nimble move at the point to produce it, and he played well defensively.