One moment defined tonight’s game.
Midway through the second period Everett had what appeared to be a sure goal. Manraj Hayer was getting hooked as he sped toward goal, but still managed to get a shot off. The rebound rocketed straight out, where Carson Stadnyk seemingly swept it into the net for the game’s first goal.
But there was Spokane goaltender Eric Williams, somehow not only making the save, but managing to cleanly glove the puck in the process. I can still see him on his stomach, holding his glove in the air with the puck in it like a baseball outfielder who had just made a diving catch.
Williams was the story tonight. Spokane came into the game 4-1 and leading the U.S. Division, and the Chiefs accomplished that almost entirely on the backs of overage forwards Mitch Holmberg and Mike Aviani, who combined for 29 points in Spokane’s first five games. Everett did an excellent job of containing those two. But it was Spokane’s third overager, Williams, who stole the show. He made a number of excellent saves and he looked utterly confident throughout. The Tips outshot the Chiefs 31-21, including 13-3 in the third period. Williams is the primary reason why Spokane came away with the full two points, while Everett had to settle for one.
Everett’s power play, which came into the game scoring at a 40-percent clip, was less effective tonight, going 0-for-4 and creating few chances. Credit Spokane’s penalty killing for largely keeping the Tips to the perimeter.
Everett now heads out on its first road trip of the season. It begins with games Tuesday and Wednesday in Alberta, then ends with a pair at Prince George on Friday and Saturday. The Tips’ only road game thus far was at Vancouver, so this will be Everett’s first true taste of the road.
See above. I’m still not sure how Williams made that save.
First star: Williams. 31 saves, this was a legitimate shutout.
Second star: Austin Lotz, Everett. 20 saves, he was equally good as Williams before allowing the game winner in OT, one he probably would want back.
Third star: Liam Stewart, Spokane. Scored the goal in OT off the rush from an angle, beating Lotz at the near post.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Austin Adam, Everett. What a tremendous game in the defensive zone for the Tips defenseman. Used his big frame to great effect to keep Spokane’s forwards at bay, and at times he had Holmberg completely nullified. The job on Holmberg and Aviani was a team effort, but Adam was the standout for me.