(1090 The Fan) —A desperate Everett Silvertips squad was simply too much for Taran Kozun and Seattle to handle in Game 4, Friday night.
Looking to finish off the Silvertips with a 4-game sweep of their best-of-seven series, the Thunderbirds just could not match the desperate energy of the Silvertips who received a superb effort from center Jujhar Khaira.
Khaira, who had not scored all series, delivered a hat trick while teammate Brayden Low provided a goal and an assist as Everett extended its season at least one more night with a dominating 6-1 victory in front of 4,908 at the Comcast Arena.
This one was all about the start for Everett. After dropping a heart-breaking Game 3 in overtime to Seattle on Tuesday, Everett scored early and often against Kozun, Friday. The team came out on fire, scoring three goals including one short-handed, within the first eight minutes to take a 3-0 lead and put Seattle firmly on its heels for the rest of the contest.
In fact, Seattle didn’t generate a shot on goal until over 11 minutes had been played in the period.
“They jumped on us and we weren’t ready to play,” Seattle head coach Steve Konowalchuk said. “We had a bad start, they had a good start and that was the game.”
It all started when Khaira freed himself from a Seattle defender and slid a puck past Kozun at 1:27. Josh Winquist then made it 2-0 just over a minute later when he took a pass from Manraj Hayer and beat Kozun short-handed at 2:32.
Khaira, 19, then found Low who slid a puck just between Kozun’s left pad and the goal post at 7:57 for the quick 3-0 lead that the Thunderbirds would never recover from..”
“We knew they were going to come out and play desperate, we wanted to match them and, like I said, the start of the game dictated the way the rest of the game went,” Seattle defenseman Adam Henry said.
Jared Hauf put Seattle on the board in the final minutes of the second period after he threw a slapshot from the left point at the net. The traffic in front prevented Tips’ goalie Austin Lotz from seeing it before it had already found the back of the goal.
But that would be all the offense the T-Birds would generate in Game 4. The team seemed to be just a bit off all night. Their passing was just a bit out of reach, their puck control slightly loose and their defense a step late.
“We had as many turnovers in that first period as we had in the first three games,” commented Konowalchuk on his team’s sloppy play. “Give them credit, they played a good hockey game and we weren’t sharp enough.”
Everett would add three third-period goals, two by Khaira for his first hat trick of the season. Those two goals — coming at 3:30 and 5:21 — both came on the power play as Seattle got a little careless late and the Tips took advantage to put the game out of reach. Kozun finished with 23 saves before being pulled midway through the third period.
Carson Stadnyk scored his second goal of the series, 6:48 into the period, to cap the scoring. Ivan Nikolishin added two assists for the Tips and Winquist, the team’s leading scorer in the regular season, had a goal and an assist.
For the game, the Silvertips finished 2-for-6 on their power play while holding Seattle scoreless on four chances. Everett also out shot the T-Birds 34-18.
“It’s only one loss,” noted Konowalchuk. “So we just got to get back and play our game better than what we did tonight.”
The series now shifts to Kent for Game 5, Saturday night, where Seattle will look to put away Everett and move on to the second round of the playoffs where No. 1 seed Kelowna awaits.
1. EVT Jujhar Khaira (1) (Low, Nikolishin), 1:27
2. EVT Josh Winquist (1) (Hayer), 2:32 (SH)
3. EVT Brayden Low (1) (Khaira, Nikolishin), 7:57
4. SEA Jared Hauf (1) (Gropp, Barzal), 18:22
5. Jujhar Khaira (2) (Leedahl, Pufahl), 3:30 (PP)
6. Jujhar Khaira (3) (Leedahl), 5:21 (PP)
7. Carson Stadnyk (2) (Betker, Winquist), 6:48
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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