Tips gut one out

Saturday night’s Game 2 wasn’t about Everett’s trademark skill. Saturday night’s game was about guts. Everett’s usual offensive acumen was notably absent for the most part in Game 2 against the Prince George Cougars, but the Tips made up for it with determination to win 3-2 in overtime. Jesse Smyke’s overtime winner typified that determination as he scored despite being hooked. Now the Tips take a 2-0 lead into Game 3 Tuesday in Prince George.

A few observations:

– I think Prince George is in trouble. OK, they’re down 2-0, so I guess that makes me captain obvious. But it already looks like Everett’s depth is wearing down the Cougars. In the first two games Prince George basically played three lines and two defensive pairings, where Everett used its full complement of four lines and three defensive pairings. Sure, the Cougars will be able to alleviate that some at home having the last change after whistles. But Prince George appeared tired late in the second period Saturday and throughout the third. Before overtime I thought to myself that Prince George needed to score on it’s first shift with the teams playing four-on-four — and the Cougars nearly did — or it was all over. Then on the winning goal Smyke blew past the Cougar defensemen as if they were skating in quicksand.

– Peter Mueller is something special. When he decides to do it, he seems capable of winning games all by himself. He conjured up both his goals Saturday on his own.

– Dane Crowley played a nice game for Everett. He was one of the few Everett players who wasn’t fighting the puck.

– Everett may be winning, but the Tips could use a little help from their power play. Everett’s power play has been subpar throughout the playoffs and was an ugly 0-for-4 Saturday. Both Spokane and Prince George have done a good job preventing the Tips from getting the puck to Mueller at the point. Everett needs Zach Hamill and Kyle Beach to step up on the power play and make opponents pay for focusing so much attention on Mueller.

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