It was all going right for the Tips tonight. Then in an instant it all went wrong.
Everett needed two results to go its way tonight to have a chance at climbing past Seattle for the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Both results were going Everett’s way late in the third period. The Tips led Victoria 3-2, and Seattle trailed Portland 5-4. But the Tips allowed the tying goal with 2:23 remaining in regulation, then lost in overtime. Then Seattle scored the tying goal with 1:02 remaining in its game to earn a point (the T-birds eventually lost in a shootout). The dropped point by Everett combined with the earned point by Seattle means the Tips are locked into the eighth seed, no matter what happens Sunday against Tri-City.
Everett had this one. The Tips put 30 shots on net in the first two periods, which is more than they typically have in an entire game. They led 2-0 early in the second period and had a golden opportunity to go up 4-2 late in the third. Had Everett won, the Tips would still control their own destiny for seventh.
But Victoria picked up the pace in the third, Everett was unable to respond, and the Royals deserved to at least tie it. Full credit to Victoria for coming to play in the third, considering the Royals had nothing to play for.
This means Everett plays Scotty Munro Trophy winner Portland in the first round of the playoffs. Playing Kelowna in the first round would have been no easy task, but you can bet everyone is trying to avoid the Winterhawks.
Two Everett players scored their first career WHL points tonight. Fifteen-year-old call-up forward Matt Fonteyne made his WHL debut and earned an assist on Everett’s third goal. Defenseman Micheal Zipp picked up an assist on Everett’s first goal.
Everett’s leading scorer Joshua Winquist had the game on his stick at the far post with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, but somehow couldn’t get the puck into the net. Victoria tied it moments later.
First star: Stathis Soumelidis, Everett. One goal and one assist, how is it possible the only piece of the Gordie Howe hat trick he missed was the fight?
Second star: Cole MacDonald, Everett. Two assists, but both were pretty incidental.
Third star: Jack Walker, Victoria. One goal, a pretty good looking 16-year-old, even as a defenseman playing forward. In fact, I like a lot of Victoria’s 16-year-olds. Particularly d-man Joe Hicketts, who scored the game winner.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Logan Nelson, Victoria. Scored the tying goal, set up the winner.
One heck of a first start award: Michael Herringer, Victoria. 36 saves in his first career WHL start. I have a hard time giving a star to a goalie who gives up a wrister off the rush from the blue line, but the 16-year-old call-up was otherwise excellent, including a couple highway robberies.