Everett’s slide continued as the Christmas break approaches. This was the Tips’ fourth straight loss and sixth in their past seven games.
Spokane goaltender Eric Williams was a big part of that. Williams has had Everett’s number this season. In four starts against the Tips, Williams is 4-0 with two shutouts. He’s allowed just five goals on 116 shots, which equates to a .957 save percentage. Though the Tips outshot the Chiefs 29-20, Williams wasn’t required to make too many difficult saves, but he made two huge stops when Spokane was leading 1-0 to maintain the Chiefs’ lead.
Otherwise, Everett just doesn’t seem quite as sharp as it did earlier in the season. Passes aren’t quite on the tape, pucks are fumbled just a bit, and guys aren’t quite as quick to the play. I still think the Tips appear a bit fatigued (this was the team’s fourth game in five nights, with key personnel unavailable), and that may be the cause.
If the Tips want to staunch the bleeding before Christmas, they have to go into Portland on Tuesday and beat the defending league champions. Portland will be without most of its big guns because of international tournaments, but they’re still the Winterhawks, so Everett has a difficult task ahead in order to make it a happier Christmas.
Williams’ biggest save came late in the second period. The Chiefs were leading 1-0 when Winquist dug out a loose puck in front. It appeared Winquist had a gimme goal, but Williams somehow thrust his leg across the crease to deny Winquist and preserve Spokane’s lead.
First star: Williams. 29 saves, enough said.
Second star: Mike Aviani, Spokane. One goal, gave Spokane third-period insurance.
Third star: Winquist. Drew Williams’ two best saves.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Cole Wedman, Spokane. Strong in his own end.