Well, it’s early in the preseason, so you’re going to get games like this: moments of greatness on both sides combined with bad mistakes, leading to a lot of back-and-forth. Everett led 2-0 after the first period, Tri-City led 4-2 after the second, and the Tips twice tied it in the third only to see the Americans’ Adam Hughesman score with 37.7 seconds remaining to win it. The killer for Everett was that Hughesman’s goal came just 22 seconds after the Tips had tied it at 5-5.
From Everett’s standpoint, the positives were individual performances. Landon Ferraro had a good game as he tallied three points and continued to show off his speed. Scott MacDonald had his second straight two-goal performance, serving further notice he’s ready to be a significant offensive contributor this season. And 16-year-old defenseman Nicholas Walters received second-pairing duties each of these past two games and held up to the challenge.
The biggest negative? Stick penalties. Everett took five hooking penalties and a tripping penalty, and overall the Tips gave Tri-City 10 power plays. The Tips also had breakdowns immediately after goals were scored. Not only did it happen with the game winner, the Americans scored twice in eight seconds during the second period.
One thing I’ll be keeping an eye on is Ryan Murray’s work load. The defensive phenom logged a lot of minutes tonight, and this was just preseason. Eventually the Tips defense is going to need to develop enough to give Murray the occasional break.
In the earlier games, Spokane dug out of a two-goal deficit in the final seven minutes to beat Seattle 4-3 in overtime on Levko Koper’s goal. I didn’t see any of the game, but I’m told Seattle controlled most of the play. In the second game Portland stormed back from a four-goal deficit to beat Sault Ste. Marie 6-5, Tyler Wotherspoon getting the winner in overtime. Happy to report that Portland’s Brad Ross is in midseason form (27 penalty minutes plus a game misconduct).
Jeez, which one do you want to choose? I suppose the decisive turning point was the last one, when the Americans scored the winner right after the Tips tied it.
HIT OF THE DAY
Tri-City’s Nils Moser had a nice takeout of Walters along the boards late in the third period.
First star: Brooks Macek, Tri-City. Hat trick led Tri-city’s offense.
Second star: MacDonald. Two goals, with four goals he’s the only Everett player with more than one so far in the preseason.
Third star: Tyler Schmidt, Tri-City. Solid defensively and added the play of a lifetime for a defenseman, leading the rush while short-handed, making a nice stickhandling move, then firing a bullet into the top corner.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Ferraro. One goal and two assists, both his goal and his pass that set up Tyler Maxwell’s tying goal were beauties.