Everett fielded a slightly less experienced team tonight than it did in Friday’s preseason-opening 2-1 victory over Victoria, and it showed as the Tips weren’t nearly as sharp. With the likes of overage forwards Joshua Winquist and Reid Petryk, as well as No. 1 goaltender Austin Lotz, getting the night off, it was up to Everett’s younger players to try and generate offense. They struggled at times, particularly in the first period. But Everett found a way to come from behind twice, then Manraj Hayer made a nice backhand move in the sixth round of the shootout to make Everett 2-0 in the preseason.
Everett, despite winning and having an 8-4 power-play advantage, managed just 22 shots on goal. Part of that was the struggles controlling the puck. Part of that was Spokane blocking every shot in sight. The Chiefs, who also fielded a young lineup (Spokane didn’t even bother bringing its overagers to Everett for the tournament), clogged up the shooting lanes worse than Rapunzel’s shower drain as shots had a hard time getting past the slot, let alone making it to the goaltender.
Hayer had an eventful endgame. The overage center, who’s one of four player competing for three overage roster spots, scored the tying goal late in regulation on the power play as his centering feed deflected off defender Jeremy McIntosh and under goaltender Trevor Martin. Then he took a bad checking-from-behind penalty, forcing the Tips to survive a Spokane power play to get to overtime. Finally, he made a slick move to give Everett the 2-1 shootout victory.
Daniel Cotton went the distance in goal for Everett and put in a solid performance. What impressed me most was the way he controlled his crease. The Chiefs managed to get the puck in close on several occasions tonight, but Cotton did a good job of blocking things off down low, then pouncing on loose pucks in close before Spokane had a chance to take advantage.
Of Everett’s young players, defenseman Noah Juulsen probably had the best game. He had one memorable hip check and couple nice sequences starting the rush. I thought Matt Fonteyne skated pretty well today, too.
Killing off that late Spokane power play saved the game for the Tips.