I think we can safely say Joshua Winquist is an important player for the Tips. Winquist returned to the lineup after missing the previous 13 games because of a groin strain an mononucleosis, and he made a telling contribution to Everett’s victory. Not only did he notch two assists, he helped spark linemates Tyler Sandhu (two goals) and Manraj Hayer (two assists), whose offensive numbers stagnated in Winquist’s absence. Winquist was on a roll when he was shelved in late October, and the fear was that the layoff would kill his momentum. However, he looked like his normal self tonight as he picked up right where he left off.
Otherwise, it was a game that looked like one played by two teams with sub-.400 winning percentages. Neither team looked particularly sharp, there were some bizarre goaltending moments (particularly on Kootenay’s end), and even the boards had a bad night with a number of bad bounces.
But though it hasn’t necessarily been pretty, the Tips can take solace from the fact they’re finally getting some results at home. Everett won just one of its first eight home games, and as of a week ago I had yet to personally witness a Tips win. But Everett has now won three straight at home.
My favorite thing from the night was this pregame anecdote. Everett and Kootenay came into the game as the two lowest-scoring teams in the league. Ice general manager Jeff Chynoweth visited the press area before the game and joked that with the way these two teams struggle to score, the first goal may end up being the game winner. So of course we had five goals in the game’s first 10 minutes. It always seems to happen that way, doesn’t it?
The game’s critical moment probably came midway through the third period. Kootenay had just pulled within one when Austin Vetterl found himself with a short-handed breakaway. But Tips netminder Daniel Cotton made the save, and Everett hung on the rest of the way.
First star: Sandhu. Two goals, the first multi-goal effort of the 16-year-old’s WHL career.
Second star: Winquist. Two assists, welcome back to the lineup.
Third star: Jakub Prochazka, Kootenay. One goal, it was his tally in the third that made it interesting.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Hayer. Two assists, that line had a good night.