The game has been over for about an hour-and-a-half, I'm sitting here in the press area at Comcast Arena, and I'm still trying to figure out how Everett won this game.
Frankly, the Tips didn't play a very well tonight. Everett looked sluggish and was not sharp in any aspect of the game. Medicine Hat outworked and outskated the Tips throughout. The final shot discrepancy was 41-18 in favor of the Tigers, and the game was every bit as one-sided as that shot total suggests.
But it was Daniel Cotton to the rescue for the Tips. Everett's back-up goaltender hadn't started a game in 11 days. But the Tips needed Cotton to be special tonight, and Cotton answered the bell. He had what I'd describe as a Kent Simpson type of performance. He didn't make much in the way of the spectacular highlight-reel stops, but he was always in the right position for the save.
Both Everett goals were scored by Carson Stadnyk, who had one goal in 24 games coming into the night. It was good to see something break right for the 17-year-old rookie, who has the ability to be a point producer. Everett coach Mark Ferner said something interesting following the game. Stadnyk and fellow rookie Ty Mappin have been playing on a line with overager Landon Oslanski, who has moved from defense to forward to alleviate Everett's shortage up front. Ferner said Oslanski has been very good for Stadnyk and Mappin because he pushes them to be better, but is supportive in the process. Oslanski, by the way, continues to look pretty darn good as a forward.
Meanwhile, Medicine Hat seemed to be lacking the cutting edge in front of goal. I think it's safe to say the Tigers missed injured star winger Hunter Shinkaruk tonight.
So a three-in-three weekend, which seemed headed for disaster for Everett following Friday night's debacle in Victoria, turned into four points for the Tips. Did anyone see that coming?
It seemed Everett's luck had run out when Medicine Hat's Curtis Valk tied it at 1-1 on the power play midway through the third period. However, the Tips somehow found a way to put another puck in the net, Oslanski winning a puck battle in the corner and feeding it out front, where a cutting Stadnyk redirected it under Tigers goalie Cam Lanigan for the game winner.
First star: Cotton. 40 saves, and he really saved Everett's tail tonight.
Second star: Stadnyk. Two goals, this may be just the spark he needed.
Third star: Valk. One goal, the only Medicine Hat player to beat Cotton.
The Herald's honorable mention: Boston Leier/Dylan Bredo, Medicine Hat. No points, but were plenty energetic.
Everett 2, Medicine Hat 1
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