For the second straight postseason Seattle finds themselves leading a first round playoff series, 3-0, and for the second straight year they achieved that 3-0 series lead by winning Game 3 in overtime, on a Tuesday, at the ShoWare Center. A season ago it was an Evan Wardley blast in overtime that bested the Kelowna Rockets in front of a packed 2-for-Tuesday crowd. This time around it was a Mathew Barzal shot that ricocheted in for the game winner against Everett that got the Joint on James Street jumpin'. Deja vu' anyone?
The game probably never should have gotten to OT. But Seattle's penchant for taking penalties allowed Everett to forge an early lead despite the T-birds dominating long stretches of the game. I wonder if Seattle's reputation makes it easier for the officials to call penalties on them? Afterall, the 'Birds were the most penalized team in the WHL during the regular season. Mind you, I though some of the calls against Seattle were marginal, but it just appears to me they are not getting the benefit of the doubt with some of the calls against them.
The circle of life. Go back to the end of the 2012 regular season. The T-birds last home game is against Everett that year. The two teams are battling for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. A win and Seattle is in. A T-bird loss vaults Everett past them in the standings and means Seattle needs to go to Portland the next day and earn a point against the Winterhawks or their season is over.
The Thunderbirds lead on numerous occasions but the Silvertips keep coming back to tie the game and then come from behind to win it in the third period (sound familiar?). The T-birds lose the next day in Portland as well and are eliminated from a chance at the postseason. Everett's prize was getting knocked out quickly in the first round of the playoffs by the Tri-City Americans.
Seattle's consolation prize? The T-birds fall in to the mix for the draft lottery and when there ping pong ball comes out first, they move up to the top of the draft and select Mathew Barzal. Fast forward to overtime of Game 3 last night. After battling from behind three times in regulation, the T-birds win it in overtime on a goal set up by Barzal. Just think, if Seattle had won that game against Everett back in March of 2012, there's is no way Barzal is on their roster to help them beat the 'Tips Tuesday night.
There might be many out there surprised to see Scott Eansor with a two goal night. Afterall, he had all of three goals in 59 regular season games. I'm sure his coaches and teammates aren't shocked by it though. He has that ability. Nice to see him finally get rewarded on the biggest stage in his hockey career so far. But Eansor contributed more then just two goals. He was a relentless forechecker and penalty killer. Remember, this is the guy who played even when under the weather earlier this season. He was sick enough that he threw up all over himself between periods one game and yet still came out and played the rest of that night in another jersey. No guts, no glory.
Nothing has been earned or won yet. It is still a best of seven series and it takes four wins to advance. The Thunderbirds still have work to do and Everett won't go quietly into the night. Next up, Game 4 Friday night at Comcast Arena in Everett. Bring your hard hats.