SEATTLE – It’s becoming an agonizingly familiar script for the Everett Silvertips at KeyArena:
Get an early lead.
Fail to pad the lead.
Give up the tying goal toward the end of the second period.
Get outplayed in the third period.
Give up the go-ahead goal.
Lose by one.
The script held to form Saturday night as the Tips once again fell in the home of the Seattle Thunderbirds, losing 2-1.
This time Greg Scott played the role of spoiler as far as the Tips are concerned, scoring both goals, including the game winner early in the third period.
“It’s a very similar trend,” a frustrated Everett coach Kevin Constantine said. “I wish our guys would suck it up and have some pride one night and change that, because the third period when we got down we played hard. Why then? Why do you play hard when you’re down? Why not play hard all the time? It’s a trend here and that’s bothersome.”
Everett has played five games at KeyArena this season. Four of those were losses – all by a single goal. The last three meetings in Seattle ended 2-1.
“I think we came out strong, but we just let it go away,” said John Lammers, who scored Everett’s lone goal.
“Any time you have a good team like Seattle it’s going to be a close game like that,” Lammers added about the trend in Seattle. “Any time you have two good teams playing against each other, that’s the type of game that comes out.”
Bryan Bridges made 21 saves in goal for Seattle (31-28-1-4), which kept its slim hopes for the U.S. Division title alive. Everett (37-23-2-3) leads Seattle by 12 points, with the Tips having seven games remaining and the T-birds having eight games left.
Leland Irving finished with 26 saves in goal for Everett.
Seattle was clearly motivated to erase the memories of Friday night’s 6-2 loss at Everett. The T-birds came out hitting everything that moved in an attempt to throw the Tips off their game. It worked, just like it has previously at KeyArena.
“A lot of it is momentum,” Scott said, “We lay a few good hits and I think that really gets a roller coaster going.
“We came out hard and hit everything,” Scott said. “We really focused on hitting this game. The coach (Rob Sumner) emphasized that we have to hit these guys and make an impression, so they know that when they’re getting the puck in corners we’re going to hit them. Make them think twice.”
Scott scored the tying goal on a rebound with 26.1 seconds remaining in the second period, then gave the T-birds the lead at 4:09 in the third. The T-birds broke away two-on-one, with Scott skating the puck into the zone on the right. Scott held the puck, then put a shot past Irving at the far post to give the T-birds the lead.
Everett tried to fight back, but created little, and Irving had to make a great double stop on Kyle Pess and Scott on another two-on-one just to keep the Tips within one.
Everett opened the scoring with a power-play goal 5:50 into the game. Peter Mueller got the puck with space in the left corner. He drifted in and spied Lammers pinching in from the left point. Mueller fed Lammers, who slid a one-timer past Bridges to make it 1-0.
The score remained the same through much of the first two periods, but Seattle got the key goal in the waning the seconds of the second period. The T-birds broke three-on-two with Tyler Johnson firing from the right. Irving saved the shot, but the rebound came right out front where Scott forced it home to tie it at 1-1.
Slap shots: Mueller had to leave the game midway through the second period after blocking a Scott Jackson shot. Mueller returned in the third period, but still had to be aided off the ice at the end of the game. … Everett defenseman Graham Potuer struggled off the ice late in the third period and didn’t return after taking a brutal hit into the boards from Seattle’s Ryan Gibbons, a play on which no penalty was called. … Everett right wing Jesse Smyke did not play because of a leg injury suffered late in Friday’s game. He joined defensemen Cody Thoring (ankle), Jonathan Harty (back) and Zach Sim (shoulder) as injury scratches. … Seattle again played without leading scorer Roman Tomanek. Tomanek was suspended indefinitely by the T-birds for unspecified reasons.
Thunderbirds 2, Silvertips 1
First Period-1, Everett, Lammers 35 (Mueller, Hamill), 5:50 (pp). Penalties-Johnson, Seattle (interference), 4:57; Fransoo, Everett (holding), 6:13; Klinkhammer, Seattle (roughing), 8:42; Potuer, Everett (elbowing), 15:47.
Second Period-2, Seattle, Scott 7 (Johnson, Pess), 19:33. Penalties-Durand, Seattle (interference), 6:39; Mueller, Everett (diving), 6:39; Dailey, Everett (high sticking-high sticking), 19:33.
Third Period-3, Seattle, Scott 8 (Jackson), 4:09. Penalties-Hickey, Seattle (tripping), 5:16; Everett bench (unsportsmanlike conduct, served by Alic), 11:45.
Shots on goal-Everett 8-8-6-22. Seattle 7-12-9-28. Power-play opportunities-Everett 1 of 3. Seattle 0 of 5.
Goalies-Everett, Irving 34-20-1-3 (28 shots, 26 saves). Seattle, Bridges 19-12-1-2 (22 shots, 21 saves).