By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips slammed head first into a brick wall Wednesday night. And that wall’s name was Eric Comrie.
The Tri-City Americans goaltender built an impenetrable barrier in front of his net, turning aside all 35 shots he faced as the Tips were defeated 2-0 at Comcast Arena.
Everett lobbed everything in its arsenal at Comrie’s wall, outshooting the Americans 35-22, and that pressure increased as the game progressed as the Tips poured 18 shots on net in the third period.
However Comrie, Tri-City’s 17-year-old netminder in his first season as the No. 1, came up big time and time again, turning away countless quality scoring chances by the Tips.
“I was just seeing the puck,” Comrie said. “My defense was doing such a good job clearing the traffic. It was letting me see everything.”
Comrie’s heroics made goals by Malte Stromwall and Jordan Messier stand up for the Americans (2-3-0-0), who have earned both their victories this season against the Tips.
“He was outstanding,” Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said of Comrie. “He’s been good since the start of the season, we’ve just given up too many chances. Tonight there were a few too many, too, but he made some great saves.”
Austin Lotz made 20 saves in goal for Everett (1-3-0-1), which was shut out for the second time in just five games this season. However, Everett coach Mark Ferner was satisfied with the way his team played, if not the result.
“I thought we did a lot of real good things,” Ferner said. “We talk to our kids about process all the time. Maybe we deserved a better fate tonight, we didn’t get. But the process was pretty good.
“After two periods I just told our guys to not get frustrated, keep throwing pucks at the net and something good is going to happen,” Ferner added. “It was just one of those nights were nothing got behind (Comrie). Not from a lack of effort, however.”
Everett was particularly dangerous during the second half of the game, beginning with a lengthy five-on-three power play midway through the second period when Tri-City led 1-0. However, the Americans survived the five-on-three, thanks in large part to Comrie’s spectacular glove save on Ryan Murray from the high slot.
“That one felt really good,” Comrie said about the save on Murray. “I just knew I had to make that save. It was a 1-0 game at that point. If they score it’s 1-1, they still have a power play and it’s a different looking game.”
Everett continued to press, forcing more quality saves out of Comrie. And on the rare occasions the Tips did beat Comrie, the iron came to Tri-City’s rescue. The most important of those came early in the third period when Kohl Bauml was played in free on goal and got Comrie down, but put his attempt off the post.
“Give the kid credit,” Ferner said of Comrie. “He played well, he was playing with a lot of confidence. I felt if we could have got one, maybe we could have got things rolling a bit better. But it wasn’t to be.”
Tri-City broke the ice on the power play 7 minutes, 42 seconds into the game. Drydn Dow’s outlet pass gave Stromwall an opening down the middle, and Stromwall fired a wrister into the corner to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
Everett had chances to tie it later in the first period. However, Comrie made a miracle save on Landon Oslanski on a rebound in transition.
The Tips had several great scoring chances in the second period, but Comrie turned them all aside. First, Everett had a five-on-three power play, but Oslanski had a shot deflect off the post and Comrie made big saves on Murray and Reid Petryk. Then shortly after Connor Rankin missed an open net for the Americans, Comrie came up big again, stoning Petryk on a breakaway.
Tri-City got the all-important insurance goal at 9:52 of the third. Lotz spilled Justin Hamonic’s shot from the point, and Messier hacked the rebound over a downed Lotz to make it a two-goal game.
Everett still had plenty left in the tank, but Comrie made big saves on Tyler Sandhu and Joshua Winquist to preserve the shutout.
Everett welcomed overage winger Ryan Harrison back to the lineup. Harrison, the Tips’ leading returning scorer, sat out the first four games serving a suspension for a charging major penalty that carried over from last season’s playoffs. … Everett had a 5-2 advantage in power plays. It was the first time this season the Tips have had more power plays than their opponent.
Americans 2, Silvertips 0
First Period—1, Tri-City, Stromwall 4 (Dow), 7:42 (pp). Penalties—Grayson, Everett (checking from behind), 6:26; M. Messier, Tri-City (tripping), 13:55.
Second Period—no goals. Penalties—Yuen, Tri-City (tripping), 9:41; Grist, Tri-City (checking from behind), 10:16; Winquist, Everett (hooking), 13:17; Walter, Tri-City (fighting), 17:07; Grayson, Everett (fighting), 17:07.
Third Period—2, Tri-City, J. Messier 1 (Hamonic, Dallman), 9:52. Penalties—Grist, Tri-City (interference), 7:22; Plutnar, Tri-City (tripping), 16:35.
Shots on goal—Tri-City 9-9-4—22. Everett 8-9-18—35. Power-play opportunities—Tri-City 1 of 2. Everett 0 of 5.
Goalies—Tri-City, Comrie 2-3-0-0 (35 shots, 35 saves). Everett, Lotz 1-3-0-0 (22 shots, 20 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.