The Everett Silvertips faced off against the Tri City Americans in Kennewick last night, in a game that was as wild as it was close. Not being able to make the drive to the Tri Cities, I contented myself with following the game on the radio, and I have to say this: If you can’t make it to a Silvertips game, you absolutely MUST tune in to North Sound AM 1380 and listen to Jon Rosen call the plays. His enthusiasm alone will almost make you feel as though you are at the game.
That enthusiasm took flight just under two minutes into the first period, when Dan Iwanski scored to put the Silvertips on the board. Iwanski’s goal came as the Silvertips were on a 5-on-3 power play (Tri City’s Lane Werbowski and Taylor Procyshen were in the box for interference and spearing, respectively). Iwanski took a rebound by Taylor Ellington and shot it past goaltender Chet Pickard. (Note: I was surprised but pleased to see Pickard in net. I had heard that the hit he took from Spokane’s Ryan Letts earlier this month may have knocked him out of action for the rest of the season, so seeing him play was very encouraging.)
Everett capitalized on another power play nearly three minutes later. This time, Ryan White took a pass from Daniel Bartek and beat Pickard. The Silvertips were now up 2-0, but as with any good team, it would only be a matter of time before the Americans got on the board. Johnny Lazo scored at the 6:43 mark to cut Everett’s lead in half. But the Silvertips made sure that was the only goal Tri City scored in the first and the clock ran down with Everett still ahead, 2-1. Shots on goal were pretty even: Everett 11, Tri City 10.
The second period featured some aggressive play by the Americans. Jon Rosen's play by play spotlighted the frustration being felt by the Silvertips’ bench as Tri City scored several times, first to tie, then to go ahead. Tyler Schmidt’s goal came on an Americans power play at 5:40, as Trevor Bauer sat out a tripping minor. Adam Hughesman scored just under three minutes later, to put Tri City ahead, 3-2. Hughesman got past Thomas Heemskerk again at 13:56, to double the Americans lead. The second period ended with Tri City ahead 4-2, and outshooting the ‘Tips 13-9.
The third period got really wild, and it was hard for Jon Rosen to keep his excitement in check. Just under the 6 minute mark, Everett’s Ryan White scored his second goal of the game to bring the ‘Tips within one again. Jesse Burt and Daniel Bartek got the assists. Then, a ten minute stretch of furious play at either end of the ice ended with Tri City’s Lane Werbowski slipping past Thomas Heemskerk to put the Americans back up, 5-3. Everett answered nine seconds later, when Tyler Maxwell beat Chet Pickard on a Shane Harper rebound to bring the ‘Tips to within one.
Here’s where it really got heated. The Silvertips pulled Heemskerk to put an extra attacker on with about two minutes to go in the period. They fired shot after shot, and Chet Pickard turned each one away. It looked as though Tri City would run the clock down and squeak by with a win right there, but they didn’t count on Silvertip Daniel Bartek. With 22 seconds left in regulation, Bartek found the net and tied it up 5-5 to force the game into overtime. Shots on goal: Everett 7, Tri City 12.
Both teams played hard in overtime. Heemskerk and Pickard seemed impenetrable in goal and play ping-ponged from end to end, until eleven minutes in. Justin Feser scored for Tri City to clinch a Game 1 victory, 6-5.
Game 2 gets under way at 7:05pm tonight in Kennewick. The teams will then come to Everett for Games 3 and 4 at Comcast Arena. Game 3 takes place on Wednesday, March 25; Game 4 on Friday, March 27. Both games begin at 7:05. You can find more information about the games and tickets by clicking here.
NOTE: During the intermission between the third period and overtime play, Jon Rosen interviewed Everett Herald reporter Nick Patterson, who has covered the Silvertips since their inception. The two discussed the game so far, before turning their attention to a young player who has just joined the Silvertips’ ranks and had suited up for his very first game. According to Rosen and Patterson, defenseman Ryan Murray is definitely a player to watch. He was a first round pick of the Silvertips in the WHL Bantam Draft. And Number 27 is just 15 years old! He doesn’t turn 16 until September. Murray assisted on Everett’s first goal (Iwanski at 1:55 of the first period). Murray has played lights out hockey for the Moose Jaw Junior Warriors of the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey Association. In 41 games this season with Moose Jaw, Ryan has 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points. Click here to read what Nick Patterson had to say about Ryan Murray back in February.