A laughing Austin Lotz on his breakaway save on Brian Williams:
“I told myself, ‘Don’t fall over when he cuts across,’ and I fell over when he cut across, so I was a little pissed off at myself. But I got lucky that he actually shot it at the one place I was covering.”
Everett’s first three games saw lots of pucks go into the net, with lopsided final scores. Therefore, goaltending wasn’t really a big factor. Tonight was a different story as this was a tight, low-scoring affair. Therefore goaltending was very much an important factor, and Lotz was up to the challenge. His slip against Williams was pretty much the only foot he put wrong.
One observation about Tri-City. It sure seemed like every time Williams was on the ice the Americans went for the home-run pass (that’s how he was freed up for his breakaway). If that’s been a regular part of Tri-City’s offense, it helps explain why Williams scored eight goals in his previous four contests.
Everett PA announcer Greg Piland pretty much had the night off. There were just two goals and three penalties the entire game, and the Tips scored on their only power play. It was also a nice touch by the Tips to have the recipients of the three stars toss hats into the stands for fans.
Now on to Linden Penner. Just before the game started the Tips made a deal, sending the hulking winger to Calgary in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2014 bantam draft. The pick starts as a seventh rounder, but could upgrade to a fifth rounder depending on how many games Penner appears in for the Hitmen.
Penner’s stay in Everett was brief. He was listed by the Tips last season while he was having a solid season for the AJHL’s Whitecourt Wolverines as a 17-year-old. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound native of Sherwood Park, Alberta, even earned a trip to rookie training camp with the NHL’s Calgary Flames. But he ended up playing in just one game with the Tips without scoring.
The trade gets Everett’s roster to a manageable number of 24. However, that includes 13 forwards and nine defensemen. So either the Tips will be scratching a lot of defensemen this season, or some of those d-men are going to see some games on the fourth line.
There’s also still the possibility of roster movement. Everett has been collecting mid-to-late round 2014 draft picks like crazy — by my count the Tips have two fifths, three sixths, and now three sevenths. So if Everett general manager Garry Davidson believes he needs to add forward depth, he has the resources to do so.
Lotz made two breakaway saves with the Tips leading 1-0. The first was the sprawling one on Williams late in the second period. The second was a kick save on Lucas Nickles early in the third. Both of those preserved Everett leads.
First star: Lotz. 29 saves, it was his second career shutout.
Second star: Jujhar Khaira, Everett. One goal and one assist, tough to deal with in front.
Third star: Joshua Winquist, Everett. Two assists, and I had a real hard time picking between Lotz and Winquist for first star. Winquist was superb. His breathtaking rush to set up Everett’s first goal was magical as he stick handled through a seam that didn’t even seem to be there as he raced up the ice, then set up the trailing Khaira.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Patrick Bajkov, Everett. One assist, the 16-year-old looked pretty comfortable on a line with Khaira and Winquist. I also want to mention Ben Betker, who played some hard minutes on defense.