Ryan Murray admitted last week that, while he was happy and excited to be back in Everett with his junior club, winning some games would make it a whole lot better.
He can now check that item off the list -- however, it's only the first step for the Silvertips, who have a tall ladder to climb up the division standings.
They did themselves no favors in the opening weeks of the season. Everett was swept at home by Prince George to begin 2012-13, including a heartbreaking loss in the series finale. The Silvertips held a 6-3 lead in the third period but lost in a shootout.
Murray said the shootout loss was the toughest to take, because he felt the team played a solid game for 50 minutes before the Cougars started their rally. The mistakes compounded themselves and before they knew it, Everett was looking at overtime in a 6-6 tie. All the work they had put in to get to that point was erased by a brutal stretch in the third period, which Murray said was the hardest part.
The Silvertips hit the road last weekend looking to get in the win column for the first time this season, and they came away with a weekend split. They traveled to Kennewick, Wash. on Thursday night to face the Tri-City Americans, hoping to get out to an early lead and put the pressure on the home team.
Manraj Hayer opened the scoring for the Silvertips with a shorthanded goal just 2:16 into the game, but the Americans rallied for the next three goals -- including the empty-net dagger by Justin Feser with less than five seconds left in regulation.
Murray said the Tri-City game was one that Everett could have and probably should have won.
"We played pretty well, I thought," Murray told BlueJackets.com. "We didn't convert on our chances but we did a good job getting shots on net and creating opportunities. The goals just didn't go in for us, but I don't think we played a bad game at all."
Then it was on to Vancouver to face the Giants at Pacific Coliseum, a building that has seen its fair share of WHL success over the year. In order to come away with a win, the Silvertips would need to play their best game of the year.
According to Murray, they did just that.
Mirco Mueller scored another early goal for the Silvertips at 2:08 of the opening period, and after the Giants tied it up minutes later, Everett answered with a pair of goals to take a 3-1 lead in the second period.
Murray assisted on Reid Petryk's first of two goals on the night for the two-goal advantage, giving him three helpers on the season. The Silvertips closed it out on a late third period goal by Joshua Winquist, giving Everett a 5-3 lead it would not relinquish.
"I think we played a lot better in Vancouver, everything kind of came together for us," Murray said. "We got great goaltending, had solid defense and didn't give them a whole lot. It was probably our best game of the year so far, and our most complete game, too."
And from a personal standpoint, the Blue Jackets second overall pick in 2012 is finally starting to get settled back in Everett amidst the uncertainty at the NHL level.
"I'm feeling good right now," he said. "The first couple of days back on the ice here, things felt a bit off. But it's coming together now and the team has been playing better too, which always helps."
Might his trusty guitar have anything to do with the comfort level?
"Oh no," Murray said, laughing. "The boys usually get sick of me playing so I just keep it low-key. I dabble here and there."