By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — As Kohl Bauml skated out to accept his first star award following the Everett Silvertips’ game Saturday night, he was greeted by a thunderous ovation from the sellout Comcast Arena crowd of 8,456, as well as an ice surface littered with hats.
Bauml couldn’t have written a more dramatic script for his first career WHL hat trick.
The suddenly lethal 17-year-old rookie gave Everett the victory with his third goal of the game, giving the Tips a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Bauml put home a rebound of a Ryan Murray shot while on the power play, creating complete pandemonium as the Silvertips streamed onto the ice in celebration, the crowd erupted into a frenzy and hats began cascading onto the ice.
“I can’t even explain how it felt,” Bauml said. “I saw it go in, I turned around and I just jumped. I ended up going right into (teammate Josh) Birkholz’s arms and he just lifted me up. It was a great feeling, probably one of the highlights of my hockey career so far.
“That’s a big two points we got there, chasing them in the standings,” Bauml added. “It’s huge, and getting that first hat trick is awful nice.”
Birkholz scored the other two Everett goals, including the tying goal with 45.2 seconds remaining in regulation, and added two assists as the Tips (10-28-1-8) inched ever closer to the playoff race. With both Victoria and Prince George losing Saturday, Everett finds itself just six points out of the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference — and just one more point behind the seventh-place T-birds.
“Seattle’s a team we’re still chasing for a playoff spot,” Birkholz said. “One-hundred percent our goal is still to make the playoffs. I think going into the third period down a goal raised our energy a little bit and got a little fire under our butts.”
Kent Simpson earned the win in goal for the Tips, making 23 saves.
Connor Sanvido, Colin Jacobs, Jared Hauf and Justin Hickman scored for Seattle (17-25-1-1). Calvin Pickard made 30 saves in net for the T-birds.
Everett was the superior team throughout Saturday, but was constantly the victim of bad puck luck. When Seattle’s Tyler Alos threw the puck blindly out front, only for Hickman to tip it under Simpson to give the T-birds a 4-3 lead with 3:10 remaining, it seemed it was not going to be Everett’s night.
But the goal came against the run of play, and the Tips continued to apply the pressure and were rewarded. With Simpson pulled for an extra attacker, Josh Winquist just flipped the puck goalward from the left point. Birkholz, who had just come off the bench as the extra attacker, raced in front and tipped it past Pickard to tie it up and force overtime.
“It was one of those hope plays,” Birkholz said. “I saw Winny was going to fire it on net, so I thought I’d go in there and just try to get my stick on it. Luckily, I got the toe of my blade on it and it went in.”
That set up Bauml to be the hero. One minute, 59 seconds into overtime Seattle’s Colin Jacobs tripped up Cody Fowlie, giving Everett a four-on-three power play. The Tips threatened, with Pickard making a lunging save to deny Winquist. But with time winding down in the power play, Murray wound up from the center point. Though Pickard made the stop, Bauml — the smallest player on the ice — was camped out on the doorstep to tuck away the rebound.
The hat trick was just the latest of Bauml’s exploits. Saturday’s three goals gave the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in his past 16 games. He had seven points in 30 games prior to that.
“The last three games he has seven points, five goals,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said of Bauml. “Kohl had a great game. I thought (Ryan) Harrison had a great game. We had a lot of guys do the right things. Reid (Petryk) was very good for us, Cody Fowlie worked extremely hard, our ‘D’ did a good job moving pucks and being simple.
“There were a lot of guys who don’t necessarily show up on the scoresheet who did a great job tonight. That’s what you need, you need those foot soldiers.”
Despite playing well, Everett found itself playing from behind. Seattle opened the scoring 8:57 into the game when Sanvido put in a loose puck, and the T-birds went ahead 2-0 on a five-on-three goal from Jacobs 2:23 into the second.
Everett stormed back behind Bauml as he put in a rebound at 4:28 and jammed one in on a mad scramble in front at 6:27 tying it up. But Seattle regained the lead at 16:26 when Hauf’s harmless-looking shot from the right point took a deflection into the far corner.
The Tips tied it again when Birkholz, free on goal, blew a shot past Pickard 6:58 into the third, setting up the dramatic finale.
Silvertips 5, Thunderbirds 4 (OT)
First Period—1, Seattle, Sanvido 4 (Swenson, Lockhart), 8:57. Penalties—Walters, Everett (interference), 5:05; Hickman, Seattle (fighting), 13:13; Harrison, Everett (fighting), 13:13; Doty, Seattle (fighting), 14:12; Grayson, Everett (fighting), 14:12; Winquist, Everett (delay of game), 18:45.
Second Period—2, Seattle, Jacobs 4 (Sutter, Lockhart), 2:23. 3, Everett, Bauml 10 (Birkholz, Harrison), 4:28. 4, Everett, Bauml 11 (Harrison, Murray), 6:27 (pp). 5, Seattle, Hauf 2 (Swenson), 16:26. Penalties—Walters, Everett (interference), 1:09; Morden, Everett (delay of game), 1:18; Sutter, Seattle (high sticking), 4:40; Walters, Everett (roughing), 12:25; Hickman, Seattle (hooking), 17:40.
Third Period—6, Everett, Birkholz 19 (Petryk, Adam), 6:58. 7, Seattle, Hickman 8 (Alos, Lund), 16:50. 8, Everett, Birkholz 20 (Winquist), 19:14. Penalties—Fowlie, Everett (tripping), 0:46.
Overtime—9, Everett, Bauml 12 (Murray, Birkholz), 3:21 (pp). Penalties—Jacobs, Seattle (tripping), 1:59.
Shots on goal—Seattle 6-12-9-0—27. Everett 6-9-15-5—35. Power-play opportunities—Seattle 1 of 6. Everett 2 of 3.
Goalies—Seattle, Pickard 17-20-1-1 (35 shots, 30 saves). Everett, Simpson 8-23-1-5 (27 shots, 23 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.