Welcome back to the lineup, Jujhar Khaira.
Khaira returned from his 10-game absence because of an upper-body injury, and he created the winning goal in overtime when he took the puck away from Vancouver goaltender Payton Lee behind the Giants net, then feathered a pass out front for Ivan Nikolishin to put away. Today was supposed to be a case of easing Khaira back into the lineup, as he played on the fourth line. However, it sure seemed like he was involved a lot physically, as he was the recipient of multiple hits and was part of a third-period fight (in what I think was a case of mistaken identity on the part of Vancouver’s Tim Traber). Khaira seems to have come through unscathed.
This was a tough game for Everett. The Tips didn’t have quite the jump or sharpness as in recent home games, while Vancouver did a good job making it difficult for the Tips to do what they wanted to do. Everett’s 26-24 shot advantage was a stark contrast to the 36-16 average from the previous four games at Comcast Arena.
Everett’s first goal was scored by Darcy DeRoose, the newcomer’s first career WHL goal. DeRoose had a good game and he seems to have settled in well in his first four games with the team. It’s interesting that the 18-year-old was deemed unworthy of a spot on the protected list of a 7-12-2-2 Moose Jaw team, yet seems to be finding a regular role with the 14-3-3-0 Tips.
Former Silvertip Trent Lofthouse scored for Vancouver. I seem to recall Lofthouse also scoring for Victoria when the Royals visited Comcast Arena last season. Apparently he still enjoys playing in Everett.
It’s hard for me to say this game had a definitive turning point. I suppose Lee’s big save on Manraj Hayer’s one-timer early in the third period, when Everett led 3-2, was crucial for the Giants getting a point out of this one.
First star: Hayer. Two assists, strong game from the overager.
Second star: Dalton Sward, Vancouver. One goal and one assist, picked his spots well.
Third star: DeRoose. One goal, congrats on the first in the Dub.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Brett Kulak, Vancouver. One assist, controlled things from the back for the Giants.