The big question following exhibition play was whether Everett’s offensive explosion was a fluke of the preseason, or a harbinger of things to come. Well, if one game is any indication, the Tips could be in for quite the offensive turnaround this season.
Everett did pretty much everything tonight it did during the preseason, when the Tips finished 7-0 and scored the most goals of any team in the WHL. The Tips were first to the puck, won the battles along the boards, maintained possession for long stretches in the offensive zone, and put the puck in the net with regularity.
It actually took a while for Everett to get things going. The Tips showed flashes of both promise and nerves during the first period, and it was tied 2-2 going into the second. But Everett came out at the start of the second and just dominated play, keeping the Cougars pinned and scoring four times in the first 11 minutes to turn the game into a rout.
Just how long has it been since the fans at Comcast Arena have been able to cheer an offensive performance like tonight’s? Everett hadn’t scored eight goals in a regular season game since the Tips beat Portland 10-4 at home on Oct. 11, 2009. That said, the eight goals only matched Everett’s highest output during the preseason, when the Tips scored eight twice.
However, it’s still too early to put too much stock into the preseason or Saturday’s performance. Prince George also had an impressive preseason, going 5-0 and giving up just eight goals in the process. The Cougars have now given up 17 goals in their first two games.
Whatever happened during the first intermission seemed to do the trick for the Tips. Everett killed off the remaining 20 seconds of a Prince George power play to start the second period, then scored 21 seconds later. That began the deluge.
First star: Joshua Winquist, Everett. Three goals and one assist, there’s nothing quite like an opening-day hat trick.
Second star: Manraj Hayer, Everett. Two goals, continued his scoring ways from the preseason.
Third star: Dawson Leedahl, Everett. Two goals and one assist, showed the value of just throwing the puck at the net, no matter how tight the angle.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Kevin Davis, Everett. No points, but basically did nothing wrong. The 16-year-old may have been Everett’s best defenseman.