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EVERETT, WA - Fans watching Friday night's game between Tri-City and Everett couldn't really be surprised that it went to a shootout, right?  It just seemed fitting since their last three meetings were decided by just one goal and with the ‘Tips sitting three points back of Tri-City in the division standings.


After taking a 2-0 lead into the third period, the Tri-City Americans (43-17-1-2, 89 pts) scored with 30.5 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, eventually taking down the Everett Silvertips (40-19-3-2, 85 pts) 4-3 in front of 7,015 fans at Comcast Arena.  With the win, Tri-City has now won two straight games and finished the regular season with a 5-2-0-1 record vs. Everett.  Meanwhile, Everett saw their four-game winning streak come to an end in just their second shootout loss of the season.


Both teams had a lot riding on Friday's contest, which was pegged by the Western Hockey League as one of the key, weekend match-ups.  An Everett win would create a near dead heat in the race for the division crown, while a Tri-City win would provide a little extra space between their closest division rival.  And, from the drop of the puck to start the game, the fans were treated to a thriller.


The two squads slugged it out in the first period, firing a combined 21 shots on goal.  Finally, with 2:33 remaining in the period, Tri-City broke the deadlock.  Neal Prokop forced a turnover deep in the Everett zone, then found Patrick Holland in the near circle.  From there, Holland shelved a backhander over the glove of a surprised Thomas Heemskerk, putting the Americans on the board first.


Then, just 1:09 into the second period, Brendan Shinnimin netted a face-off win from the left circle.  It was remarkably similar to the one he scored in Vancouver back on Oct. 17.  Despite the two-goal deficit, the Silvertips began their comeback attempt by outshooting the Americans 16 to 9 in the second frame, but could get nothing past Alexander Pechurskiy.


However, the third period was a different story.  Continuing to outchance the Americans to start the period, Everett's Clayton Cumisky took advantage of some sloppy play by Tri-City in their own end.  Just 1:08 into the period, Shane Harper passed the puck out of the corner to Cumisky, who then buried a shot from in the right circle.  With 5:02 remaining in regulation, Scott MacDonald picked off a loose puck and found Cumisky in the slot.  Cumisky then beat Pechurskiy shelf to tie the game at two.  Then, with all the momentum in their favor, Everett took the lead with 1:39 remaining in regulation.  After two failed clearing attempts by Tri-City and then a scramble in front Pechurskiy, MacDonald lifted a rebound over Pechurskiy to make it a 3-2 game.  It capped an impressive night for the duo, who entered the game with a combined eight goals on the season.


In a last ditch effort to tie the game, Pechurskiy was pulled for the extra attacker shortly after MacDonald's goal.  Then, with 30.5 seconds remaining, lightning struck when Shinnimin shoved in an Adam Hughesman rebound, tying it at 3 and sending the game to overtime.


In the overtime period, each team just missed ending the game in the first 30 seconds.  Only 15 seconds into the extra frame, Johnny Lazo fired a shot that went just wide after glancing off Heemskerk's glove.  Then, 15 seconds later, the 7,000+ crowd groaned in disbelief when Chris Langkow's shot rang off the left post.  After neither team could score, the contest headed into a shootout.


Everett, who was 6-1 in the shootout entering tonight's game, elected to go first, sending out Tyler Maxwell.  After his shot went wide, Maxwell gave way to Shinnimin, who beat Heemskerk as he was sliding across the crease.  However, the ‘Tips' Byron Froese counted to start round 2, then Lazo's attempt went wide, setting the stage for round three.  Tied at one apiece, Everett chose team-leading scorer Shane Harper to try and take the lead.  Pechurskiy, however, used his left pad to block the shot and put the Americans in position to get the win.  Head coach Jim Hiller then elected Kruise Reddick to take Tri-City's shot.  Reddick cut wide to his left then shelved his shot while coming across the crease, sending the Americans' bench onto the ice in celebration.  In the process, Tri-City picked up their first shootout win at Comcast Arena in five all-time chances.


Pechurskiy finished the night with a career-high 40 saves on 43 shots faced in the win.  Meanwhile, Heemskerk stopped 23 of the 26 shots he saw in the tough luck loss.  Tri-City ended the night 0-for-1 on the power play and a perfect 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.