(1090 The Fan) — In a game in which Seattle never led until it piled on Mathew Barzal at 3:47 into overtime, the Thunderbirds earned a thrilling 4-3 victory to take a 3-0 series lead against Everett in front of 5,176 at the ShoWare Center.
Scott Eansor scored two goals, including the equalizer which eventually carried Seattle into overtime, Tuesday night. Branden Troock also scored and center Russell Maxwell continued his playoff point streak with an assist.
It was the first overtime playoff game for Seattle since it dropped Game 7 to Kelowna last season.
“I did like that,” Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk said afterwards about his team’s overtime win. “I don’t know if there’s anything better than overtime hockey in the playoffs, especially when you get the win.”
The shot by Barzal came as he made a pirouette move in the slot and slid a shot that seemed to ricochet off a defender’s skate into the corner of the net, past a stunned Austin Lotz, the Everett goalie.
As Barzal and coach Konowalchuk noted afterwards, the goal was a great example of why you simply have to put pucks on the net as often as you can in playoff hockey.
“We have been stressing about pucks on net all series, so I threw one on net, I don’t know if it hit something or what, but it was a good goal,” Barzal said.
“To be honest, I think (Justin Hickman) touched it, but even if he didn’t, it’s memorable for me.”
“That’s what you try to do in overtime,” echoed Konowalchuk. “You crash the net and when you crash the net, you get (a goal) tonight. A good play by Barzy making a nice move. Pretty poised play for a young kid.”
On the other end, it was a crushing defeat for Everett.
The two teams alternated goals all night, with Everett skating out to a 2-1 lead on the back of its special teams. The unit, which had been stifled through the first two games of the series by Seattle, opened with two early goals on four first-period chances.
Those two goals came from forward Patrick Bajkov at 5:54 and 19:00, improving upon the 1-for-11 mark his Silvertips squad posted to start the series.
The Thunderbirds continued to put stress on their penalty kill unit all game long, going to the box on seven separate occasions, including a double minor on Jaimen Yakubowski for checking to the back of Everett’s Noah Juulsen. Juulsen never returned.
After tying the score at 1-1 momentarily on Troock’s goal 13:32 into the first, Seattle would re-tie the score at 4:02 into the second period when Eansor tipped a Jerret Smith feed from in the slot up and over Lotz.
Everett kept coming, though. At 17:54 of the middle period, Silvertips’ defenseman Mirco Mueller completed a pretty tic-tac-toe passing effort for his first goal of the postseason. Mueller finished with a goal and an assist while Manraj Hayer had three assists for Everett.
The Silvertips maintained their 1-goal advantage into the third period until the 4:31 mark when Eansor slid a slap shot through the five hole of Lotz to knot the score at 3-3.
Taran Kozun finished with 28 saves while his counterpart, Lotz, finished with 25 for Everett. The series now heads back to Everett where the Silvertips will have their backs up against the wall facing elimination, Friday night.
“It’s going to be a really crazy game,” Hickman said. “We’re going to have to really come focused and come prepared for another hard-fought game. We haven’t won anything yet.”
1. EVT Patrick Bajkov (2) (Hayer, Mueller), 5:54 (PP)
2. SEA Branden Troock (2) (Lipsbergs, Maxwell), 13:32
3. EVT Patrick Bajkov (3) (Hayer), 19:00 (PP)
4. SEA Scott Eansor (1) (Smith), 4:02
5. EVT Mirco Mueller (1) (Hayer, Winquist), 17:54
6. SEA Scott Eansor (2) (Yakubowski), 4:31
7. SEA Mathew Barzal (1) (Hickman, Gropp), 3:47
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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