How big is Saturday night’s home game against Seattle now?
Friday’s loss was Everett’s ninth straight. Seattle lost 3-2 at home to lowly Vancouver on Friday, but at least reached overtime to get a point and close within two of Everett for seventh place in the WHL’s Western Conference. However, the loss was Seattle’s seventh straight. So we have a classic case of the resistable force against the movable object. But someone has to win, and in the big picture Saturday’s result could be decisive in the playoff race.
By the way, Prince George, the other team involved in the race for the conference’s final two playoff berths, blew a lead and lost 5-3 to Medicine Hat. So the Cougars remained five points adrift of the Tips. Right now it’s looking a lot less like a sprint to the finish and a lot more like a crawl.
Everett’s issues against Spokane were familiar ones. Too often passes missed their mark. When they did arrive on target, too often they weren’t controlled cleanly. And when the Tips had shooting opportunities, too often they shot wide. On the defensive end the team committed fatal turnovers, both in its own zone and in the neutral zone.
That said, the three goals Everett scored were the most the Tips have scored in a game during the losing streak. Everett had a measly total of seven goals in the previous eight games. Three goals isn’t exactly an impressive total, but at least it’s a small step in the right direction for Everett’s offense. And the Tips put in a spirited effort in the third period, despite being down 5-2, and at least made something of a game of it down the stretch.
Spokane’s fourth goal was the killer. Everett trailed 3-1 midway through the second period, but was on the power play with a chance to get back in the game. However, the Chiefs broke three-on-two, and Dylan Walchuk redirected in Brenden Kichton’s centering feed to make it a three-goal game. Everett scored later on the power play after it became a five-on-three, but the shorty prevented the Tips from ever reaching that hurdle where one goal could tie it.
First star: Mitch Holmberg, Spokane. One goal and one assist, could pass as a burglar with all the pockets he picked tonight.
Second star: Kohl Bauml, Everett. Two goals, and had a chance at his hat trick late.
Third star: Kichton. Two assists, though I’ve seen him play more dominating games against Everett.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Ryan Harrison, Everett. Two assists, he and Bauml pretty much comprised Everett’s offense while at even strength.