EVERETT — Did the puck’s forward momentum stop or didn’t it?
Manraj Hayer is insistent it didn’t. The Moose Jaw Warriors were sure it did.
The officials agreed with Hayer.
Hayer’s shootout goal was confirmed, giving the Everett Silvertips a 4-3 victory over the Warriors at Comcast Arena.
Hayer was the only player to convert in the shootout as Everett prevailed 1-0. However, his conversion didn’t come without controversy.
Hayer’s shootout attempt was unconventional, to say the least. After the first five shooters were all denied, Hayer immediately lost control of the puck as he began his approach, with the puck sliding all the way to the left boards. He collected it, slowly cut in on goal from a tight angle, put on the brakes right in front of Moose Jaw goaltender Justin Paulic, then pulled the puck onto his forehand before tucking it into the near corner.
“I’ve never seen that before in hockey,” Hayer said about his improvised attempt. “I just lost it right off the beginning and it was kind of weird. But that was the move I was going to make. It started off weird, but it ended up right.”
After Hayer won it, the Warriors were incensed, claiming the puck’s forward momentum came to a halt, which should have nullified the goal and kept the shootout alive. As the Tips filed off the ice and into the locker room, the Warriors remained on the bench as captain Sam Fioretti pleaded with the officials. But it was to no avail.
Hayer had no hesitation when asked whether there was a chance the puck’s forward momentum came to a halt.
“I think it kept going forward,” Hayer said. “I think it was going forward for sure. I didn’t have to slow down or stop up to shoot the puck, I think it was going forward. So I think it was a good goal.”
Moose Jaw coach Mike Strothers refused to stop and comment as he walked away from the locker rooms following the game, barking, “Ask the refs,” as he continued walking.
As the Moose Jaw players finally filed off the bench toward the locker room, a fan grabbed one of the player’s sticks and yanked it away, creating an incident that was fortunate not to escalate.
Kohl Bauml, Patrick Bajkov and Cole MacDonald scored goals less than three minutes apart late in the second period for Everett (25-14-6-1), which never should have allowed the game to reach a shootout in the first place. The Tips outshot the Warriors 39-19 and led 3-1 going into the third period. But Moose Jaw’s Tanner Eberle scored twice in the third, including the tying goal with 33.4 seconds remaining, to earn the the Warriors a point.
“I think we were pretty good,” Hayer said. “The first two periods I think we dominated. We were physical and hard to play again, like coach (Kevin Constantine) wanted us. In the third, we might have let down a bit, they stepped their game up. But overall I think it was a pretty good game for us.”
Austin Lotz earned the win in goal for Everett, making 16 saves during regulation and overtime and three stops during the shootout.
Everett played without leading scorer Joshua Winquist. The overage winger was suspended by the league for a length to be determined for his kneeing major penalty against Spokane on Friday night.
Torrin White scored the other goal for Moose Jaw (13-26-3-4). Paulic finished with 36 saves in net for the Warriors.
The game was an effort in frustration for Everett through the first half. At the second-period media timeout, the Tips were outshooting the Warriors 24-10, yet trailed 1-0 as they lacked the cutting edge in front of the goal.
However, the floodgates burst open late in the second when Everett scored three times in 2 minutes, 15 seconds to take control of the game. Bauml got things started at 14:00 on the power play when he tucked a rebound past Paulic while being knocked to the ice. A mere 22 seconds later, Everett took the lead. The Tips forced a turnover in the Moose Jaw zone, with the puck coming free to Leedahl in the slot. Leedahl sent a pass across the slot to Bajkov, and Bajkov wired a shot back into the far corner to make it 2-1.
Everett kept up the pressure and made it 3-1 at 16:15 as MacDonald’s one timer from the top of the left circle found its way through traffic and into the far corner.
But Moose Jaw got the all-important early goal in the third period to make it a game again as Brayden Point danced through the Everett defense, then centered the puck, where it went off a crashing Eberle and into the net at 1:23. After a video review, the goal was upheld.
Everett had several chances to restore its two-goal lead late in the third, including having the goal light go off on one occasion, only for the goal to be waived off and confirmed by a video review. Then Eberle struck again with Paulic pulled for an extra attacker, scoring when a loose puck slid to him in front and setting up the shootout drama.
Silvertips 4, Warriors 3 (SO)
Moose Jaw 0 1 2 0 — 3
Everett 0 3 0 0 — 4
Everett won shootout 1-0
First Period—no goals. Penalties—Uhrich, Moose Jaw (fighting), 2:38; Betker, Everett (fighting), 2:38; McCarthy, Moose Jaw (goaltender interference), 3:08; Cooke, Moose Jaw (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:30; Aasman, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 5:30; Cooke, Moose Jaw (slashing), 8:08; Khaira, Everett (goaltender interference), 8:08; Stadnyk, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:08; Mueller, Everett (checking to the head), 10:00.
Second Period—1, Moose Jaw, White 13 (Point), 2:13. 2, Everett, Bauml 10 (Khaira, MacDonald), 14:00 (pp). 3, Everett, Bajkov 4 (Leedahl), 14:22. 4, Everett, MacDonald 2 (Low, Aasman), 16:15. Penalties—Eberle, Moose Jaw (tripping), 4:59; Uhrich, Moose Jaw (roughing), 4:59; Aasman, Everett (roughing), 4:59; Warkentine, Moose Jaw (hooking), 12:08; Stadnyk, Everett (elbowing), 17:59.
Third Period—5, Moose Jaw, Eberle 10 (Point, Johnson), 1:23. 6, Moose Jaw, Eberle 11 (Sleptsov, Fioretti), 19:26. Penalties—Jones, Everett (checking to the head), 4:39; Fioretti, Moose Jaw (roughing), 19:43; Bauml, Everett (slashing), 19:43.
Overtime—no goals. Penalties—none.
Shootout—Moose Jaw 0 (Point NG, White NG, Fioretti NG); Everett 1 (Bajkov NG, Fonteyne NG, Hayer G).
Shots on goal—Moose Jaw 6-7-5-1—19. Everett 12-18-9-0—39. Power-play opportunities—Moose Jaw 0 of 4. Everett 1 of 3.
Goalies—Moose Jaw, Paulic 8-19-3-4 (39 shots, 36 saves). Everett, Lotz 18-12-3-1 (19 shots, 16 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.