KENT – The Everett Silvertips held three separate one-goal leads Tuesday night, but were unable to hold off the Seattle Thunderbirds in a dramatic 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at the ShoWare Center. Their series deficit now at 3-0, the Silvertips return to their home ice looking for a change of fortune to prolong the series with a do-or-die Game 4 coming up Friday night at 7:35 pm at Comcast Arena.
Rookie forward Patrick Bajkov scored twice on the powerplay in the game, giving him three of Everett’s five goals in the series. Manraj Hayer was responsible for the primary assist on all three Silvertip goals, the other of which was scored by Mirco Mueller – who also had an assist. Austin Lotz (0-3) turned away 25 shots in goal before Mathew Barzal’s turnaround shot caromed off Justin Hickman in front slipped over the goal line in overtime to give Seattle the victory.
Despite getting off to a slow start, the Silvertips scored a powerplay goal on their first shot as Manraj Hayer picked up a deflected shot and made a quick pass to Patrick Bajkov for a one-timer over the shoulder of Taran Kozun. The Thunderbirds tied the game during a delayed penalty when Russell Maxwell’s blind backhand pass from the corner crossed to Branden Troock, who slammed it in at the far post. With one minute left in the period and Everett back on the powerplay, Zane Jones helped win the puck off the wall to Hayer, who again set up Bajkov for a one-timer into the open net to give the ‘Tips a 2-1 lead after one.
Early in the second period off a draw win in the Everett zone, Seattle’s Jerret Smith fired a shot that was tipped by Scott Eansor and floated over the shoulder of Austin Lotz to tie the game at two. Shortly after the goal Lotz stoned Branden Troock on a scoring chance to prevent the T-Birds from going ahead. The ‘Tips regained the lead for a third time late in the period off a nice rush in transition. Mirco Mueller broke up a Seattle rush and went the other way with Hayer and Josh Winquist, who combined to feed him at the goal mouth for a shot that rolled off Kozun and into the net. Shots were 22-21 for the Thunderbirds after two periods of play, but Everett held a 3-2 advantage.
Scott Eansor tied the game for Seattle early in the third off a pass from Jaimen Yakubowski, who held the puck inside the Everett blueline on a clearing attempt to set up Eansor’s chance. The ‘Tips had two more powerplays in the third and the T-Birds had one late as the teams traded a few chances the rest of the way – none better than Ivan Nikolishin’s wrap-around attempt that clanged off the near post of an open net with 3:19 left in regulation.
Zane Jones had the first good luck in early overtime after Jujhar Khaira carried the puck into the Seattle zone, but Kozun turned the shot away. Less than a minute later, Mathew Barzal cut around the Everett net and into the shot under pressure before releasing an innocent-looking shot that deflected off Justin Hickman in the goal crease and trickled in along the post to give Seattle the victory and a 3-0 series lead.
Final shots were 31-29 in favor of the Silvertips. Goaltender Taran Kozun (3-0) turned away 28 shots in 64 minutes for the Thunderbirds. Everett finished 2 for 7 on the powerplay, while the penalty killing unit was a perfect 3 for 3 against Seattle’s man-advantage.
CLICK HERE for Box Score
Game 4 of the series is coming up at 7:35 pm Friday night at Comcast Arena as the Silvertips look to earn their first win of the series and keep their season alive to force a Game 5 Saturday in Kent. Good seats are still available to join the “Sea of Green” Friday night as the ‘Tips play their second home playoff game in downtown Everett.
Single game playoff tickets are on sale online at www.everettsilvertips.com, by phone at (866) 332-8499 or at the Comcast Arena box office. Visit our website or call 425-252-5100 for more information. To keep up with all the latest team news, “like” the Everett Silvertips Hockey Club on Facebook or follow @WHLSilvertips on Twitter.