Ahem, let me get my southern accent prepared ...
Trent Lofthouse is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get.
Tips broadcaster Travis Huntington and I were just talking about this earlier in the week. Lofthouse is a player with a lot of tools, but who hasn't necessarily figured out how they all function just yet. Today was a great example of that. During the first period Lofthouse was in his lost phase, making wrong decisions and turning the puck over. But as soon as he scored his first goal early in the second he was a completely different player, and he went on to record Everett's first hat trick of the season. Not bad for a player who had six goals in 27 contests coming into the night.
Overall it was a much better performance by Everett than in Friday's 5-1 loss to Seattle. But one also has to take into account the opposition. One-third of Everett's 12 wins this season have come against Vancouver as the Tips are now 4-0 against the Giants, the team with the worst record in the league. If Everett makes the playoffs, the Tips will have to send a thank you note to Vancouver.
During the game a tweet came from the Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget League announcing that Josh Blanchard was recently listed by Everett. I looked him up and he's a late-birthdate 96-born forward, originally drafted by Portland, who came into the weekend with 19 goals and 18 assists in 20 games. He's a little guy, listed at 5-foot-6 and 145 pounds. I couldn't tell you how good a prospect he really is or whether he's interested in the WHL (though he now lists himself as a Silvertips prospects on his Twitter page), but it's no small feat to be leading the BCMML in goals.
Although Everett controlled play through most of the game, Vancouver scored early in the third period to make it a new game at 2-1. But two minutes later Brayden Low took advantage of a miscommunication between two Vancouver players, stealing the puck and feeding Lofthouse, who had just come off the bench and was streaking unmarked toward the net. Lofthouse snapped his shot into the top corner to restore Everett's two-goal lead.
First star: Lofthouse. Three goals, first career hat trick, got himself into great scoring positions.
Second star: Landon Oslanski, Everett. One goal, did some really good work switching once again back to defense.
Third star: Austin Lotz, Everett. 20 saves, wasn't overly tested, but did what he had to do and really needed the win.
The Herald's honorable mention: Low. One assist, was the leader in a strong night from Everett's fourth line.
Everett 4, Vancouver 1
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