OK, let me get into my Jack Handey voice, as here come some deep thoughts:
– If you take a gander at the league stats, you find Everett goaltender Austin Lotz topping the goaltender rankings courtesy of his 1.76 goals against average. He also leads the league in save percentage at .934. What do those number look like? Well, they’re eerily similar to the type of numbers former Silvertip goalies Jeff Harvey, Michael Wall and Leland Irving put up during Kevin Constantine’s first stint as Everett’s coach. Coincidence? I think not. Especially considering how many fewer shots per game Lotz is facing this season. Last season Lotz faced 36.1 shots per 60 minutes, this season it’s 26.8. That’s a big reason why his goals against average has been cut in half.
– Last season was Everett’s rebuilding season, when the Tips went with the full youth movement. This season Everett is no longer thinking about rebuilding and is instead focusing on winning games, so you’d think the team would be older. Well, that’s not really the case. Alan Caldwell keeps running track of the vital statistics of each WHL team, and the average age of Everett’s current players is 17.88 years, which is tied for second-youngest in the league. That’s based largely on the team’s four 16-year-olds, as well as having just five 19-year-olds. You can’t say those 16-year-olds are just along for the ride, either, as they’ve played in 31 of a possible 36 games and received regular shifts.
– After Everett split its two games in Prince George, I became curious. My recollection was that the Tips rarely came away with a sweep from its two-game set in Prince George, even though the Cougars haven’t exactly scorched the standings since Everett entered the league in 2003. Turns out I was wrong. The Tips won both games in the great white north five times the previous 10 seasons, including during the dog days of 2010-11 and 2011-12. So scratch that theory.
– The Seattle Thunderbirds are off to a fantastic start, and they just added another big piece as their first-round bantam pick from 2011, winger Ryan Gropp, gave up his commitment to the University of North Dakota to join the T-birds Wednesday. How does that affect the Tips? First, it will make the second half, when Everett and Seattle play nine times, that much more challenging for the Tips. Second, Gropp had been playing for Penticton of the BCHL, which is a major feeder to the NCAA. Who else has been playing for Penticton? None other than Everett’s first-round pick in this year’s bantam draft, center Tyson Jost, who’s played two games with the Vees as an affiliated player. Jost has not signed with Everett, so I suspect the Tips are taking note when a player leaves Penticton for the WHL.