Not much mystery to this one. Portland just completely outclassed Everett. The Winterhawks are a perfect 8-for-8 against the Tips this season. In the past two meetings, both in Everett, Portland has outscored the Tips 14-0.
At times Portland seems to be playing a completely different sport than Everett. Every pass is hard, to the tape, and controlled cleanly by the receiver. When the Winterhawks were on the rush during a power play, they were doing things entering the zone the Tips could only dream of doing. The score could have been worse, but the Winterhawks emphasized defense over offense the final two periods. Very, very impressive performance by the team with the best record in the WHL.
As for the Tips, they continue to have injury added to insult. No. 1 goaltender Austin Lotz was scratched before the game with a lower-body injury (his left foot was in a walking boot), and leading scorer Joshua Winquist departed in the second period with an aggravation of was was described as a chronic upper-body injury. Tips general manager Garry Davidson said Lotz is definitely out for the weekend and will be re-evaluated early next week, while Winquist is questionable going forward.
How ridiculous has Everett’s injury situation gotten? Here’s who wasn’t on the bench when the game ended:
– Captain and star defenseman Ryan Murray, who’s done for the season because of a shoulder injury.
– Overage winger Ryan Harrison (concussion), the team’s leading returning scorer from last season.
– Winquist (upper body), the team’s leading scorer this season.
– Lotz (lower body), the team’s No. 1 goaltender who had been on fire lately.
– Two would-be regular defensemen in Austin Adam (concussion) and Ayrton Nikkel (finger).
– Enforcer Lucas Grayson (lower body).
Seattle Totems goaltender Bryce Fink served as Everett’s emergency back-up tonight. Davidson said he was working on bringing in 15-year-old Nik Amundrud, who’s already signed an education contract with the Tips, to man the gate over the weekend. But beyond that, who knows what the Tips will do with their goaltending if Lotz is sidelined for a significant amount of time?
If anyone knows an available goalie aged 16-19, you might want to give the Tips a call (yes, that was written with tongue in cheek).
You knew it was going to be that kind of night for the Tips when defenseman Connor Cox inadvertently put the puck into his own net during a Portland power play just 4:28 into the game. That began a four-goal Portland burst in just 3:38 which effectively ended the game as a contest.
First star: Nicolas Petan, Portland. One goal and two assists, he’s running away with the league scoring title as a 17-year-old.
Second star: Ty Rattie, Portland. Two goals, though I’m not sure how much credit he deserves on that first one.
Third star: Seth Jones, Portland. Two assists, clever with the puck at the point on the power play.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Presten Kopeck, Portland. One goal, appears to have improved greatly over the course of the season.
Deserves some sort of acknowledgment: Daniel Cotton, Everett. 35 saves, and boy did he face a lot of quality scoring chances tonight. He appears set for a heavy workload going forward.