For three seasons Everett and Seattle haven’t been very good. But I have to say, over those three years the games between the teams sure have been compelling, and tonight was no exception. This one was witnessed by an electric sold-out crowd that created what had to be about the best ever atmosphere for a game between two teams that had combined to lose 16 straight.
And Seattle did what it needed to win. The T-birds scored twice in the final 1:08 of the first period, just moments after Everett had opened the scoring. Seattle then survived the second period and shut the Tips down in the third before securing the victory late.
The loss was Everett’s 10th straight, matching the franchise’s worst ever losing streak, which happened last season. And throughout the skid the refrain has been the same: The Tips can’t find the net. Not enough shots on goal (21 tonight), not enough cutting edge when presented with scoring chances.
And suddenly the race for the Western Conference’s final two playoff berths has tightened like a vice. Seattle has caught Everett for seventh place and has a game in hand. Prince George, which also has a game in hand, is now just three points back. The Tips have to get things turned around fast or the franchise’s streak of making the playoffs in every season of existence is going to evaporate.
It turned on a dime late in the first. Everett’s Manraj Hayer had just given the Tips the lead with a bullet shot on the power play. But before the home crowd was even done celebrating, Seattle tied it on Alexander Delnov’s one-timer in the slot 32 seconds later. Then another 54 seconds later Roberts Lipsbergs lasered a shot off the rush into the top corner, giving the T-birds what turned out to be all the goals they needed.
First star: Brandon Glover, Seattle. 20 saves, made some key stops in the second period.
Second star: Delnov. One goal, it came when Seattle needed it most.
Third star: Hayer. One goal, it was a great shot.
The Herald’s honorable mention: none. I’m not sure I’d describe anyone as a star tonight.