By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips remained on the ice, down on one knee, completely spent. Around them the modest-sized crowd at Comcast Arena gave them a standing ovation as loud as if it were a sellout.
The Tips weren’t going to go down without a fight, but the tank reached empty and Everett’s season came to an end.
The Tri-City Americans completed a four-game sweep of their first-round playoff series against Everett, prevailing 4-3 in overtime Wednesday night to end Everett’s season.
Despite being in an impossible 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven series against the top seed in the WHL’s Western Conference, Everett turned in an inspired performance, rallying from a 3-0 third-period deficit to force overtime.
However, with 1 minute, 7 seconds remaining in OT, the Tips were caught in a long shift. Eventually the Americans worked the puck to Zach Yuen at the top of the left circle, and Yuen’s one-timer found the top corner to end both the game and the series — and create that final image of Everett’s 2011-12 season.
“It would have been very easy for our kids to roll over, and they didn’t,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “Even when it was 3-0 I thought our guys we playing hard. But that’s a good team and they’re well deserving of this series.”
Brendan Shinnimin, Mason Wilgosh and Mitch Topping also scored for Tri-City. Ty Rimmer played a strong game in goal for the Americans. For the only time in the series Everett outshot the Americans, and Rimmer made 42 saves to keep Tri-City in front for most of the game.
Ryan Harrison, Ryan Murray and Josh Caron scored during Everett’s stirring third-period comeback. Caron’s goal tied it with just 40.4 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Kent Simpson finished with 35 saves in net for the Tips.
“We needed to empty the tanks for us to have a chance,” Ferner said. “They have a lot of experience over there, they have great hockey players. It’s disappointing for our group that we’re not going to play another game. But hopefully a series like that will pay dividends in the future for this organization.”
Harrison did not finish the game, however, as he took his second major penalty in as many games, this time for charging on a bad hit that left Tri-City’s Marcus Messier needing to be assisted off the ice.
Harrison had just returned from a one-game suspension for an interference major in Game 2.
Everett’s season was all but over when the Americans took a 3-0 lead into the third period.
However, the Tips mounted a spirited comeback. It began 6:10 into the period when, on the power play, Harrison took a shot cutting across the slot that Rimmer got a glove on, but the puck looped into the net to get Everett on the board.
When Harrison took his major at 8:39, giving Tri-City a five-minute power play, Everett’s chances seemed grim. However, just 31 seconds into the power play the Tips broke short-handed. Murray jumped into the play from his defensive position, took a delicate feed from Cody Fowlie, then roofed a backhander to pull the Tips within one.
Everett was energized and killed off the remainder of the penalty, but it wasn’t until Tri-City’s Sam Grist took a tripping penalty with 2:14 remaining that the Tips got their chance to tie it. A minute into the power play the Tips pulled Simpson for an extra attacker, and with 40.4 seconds remaining it paid off. Both teams collapsed on the net, the puck squirted free, and the Tips fed it to the high slot to Caron, who one-timed a shot into the corner to force overtime.
Overtime saw end-to-end action, with both goaltenders called upon to make good saves, before that last stretch of Tri-City pressure led to the winning goal.
Everett came out flying in the first period, hitting everything that moved. However, it was Tri-City that ended up with the goal. A long outlet pass by Adam Hughesman gave Shinnimin the angle on the defense, and Shinnimin scored around Simpson to give the Americans a 1-0 lead 6:05 into the game.
The second period was more of the same as the Tips continued to huff and puff, but the Americans found the net. Wilgosh made it 2-0 on the power play 31 seconds in, spinning a shot into the corner from the slot. Then Topping made it 3-0 at 9:58 as his slap shot from the point found the top corner.
The final verdict on Everett center Manraj Hayer’s suspension for his checking-from-behind double-minor during Saturday’s Game 2 was handed down Wednesday. Hayer was given three games, meaning he served the second of those games Wednesday. … Tri-City played without key winger Patrick Holland. Holland was given a one-game suspension for his clipping major penalty from Tuesday’s Game 3. … The Americans were also without rugged winger Jesse Mychan. The former Silvertip suffered a leg injury Tuesday.
Americans 4, Silvertips 3 (OT)
Tri-City 1 2 0 1—4
Everett 0 0 3 0—3
First Period—1, Tri-City, Shinnimin 3 (Plutnar, Hughesman), 6:05. Penalties—Shinnimin, Tri-City (roughing), 6:05; Yadlowski, Everett (roughing), 6:05; Caron, Everett (roughing), 6:05; Birkholz, Everett (hooking), 19:55.
Second Period—2, Tri-City, Wilgosh 3 (Feser, Hughesman), 0:31 (pp). 3, Tri-City, Topping 1 (Wilgosh, Shinnimin), 9:58. Penalties—Stromwall, Tri-City (tripping), 1:05; Birkholz, Everett (roughing), 2:56; Grist, Tri-City (interference), 17:32.
Third Period—4, Everett, Harrison 1 (Murray), 6:10 (pp). 5, Everett, Murray 3 (Fowlie, Bauml), 9:10 (sh). 6, Everett, Caron 1 (Winquist, Birkholz), 19:19 (pp). Penalties—Shinnimin, Tri-City (roughing), 5:36; Wilgosh, Tri-City (roughing), 5:36; Yadlowski, Everett (roughing), 5:36; Harrison, Everett (major-charging-game misconduct), 8:39; Grist, Tri-City (tripping), 17:46.
Overtime—7, Tri-City, Yuen 1 (Wilgosh), 18:53. Penalties—Chynoweth, Everett (delay of game), 9:04.
Shots on goal—Tri-City 10-6-7-16—39. Everett 11-12-12-10—45. Power-play opportunities—Tri-City 1 of 5. Everett 2 of 3.
Goalies—Tri-City, Rimmer 4-0 (45 shots, 42 saves). Everett, Simpson 0-4 (39 shots, 35 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.