Let’s go Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone tonight:
– Everett gave a first taste of the WHL to 15-year-olds Jantzen Leslie and Bryce Kindopp, and both held their own just fine.
– Remi Laurencelle scored Everett’s goal and skated the puck pretty well. He was also involved in Everett’s goal Friday, so maybe he’ll be able to give Everett something offensively this season.
– The Tips fielded their two 17-year-old goaltenders, Mario Petit and Nik Amundrud, and neither did anything to hurt their chances in the battle for the back-up spot.
– Everett had several defensemen who looked lost tonight, particularly when they had the puck. They were fumbling the puck around, making bad outlet passes and skating it into dead ends. Granted, three of what would be Everett’s top six were in the stands tonight (four if you count Mirco Mueller, who was in attendance as a spectator as he spends the weekend away from San Jose). But Everett is going to need steadier play from its blue liners.
– Spokane outhit Everett noticeably. A few Everett players just got drilled.
– The power play. Oh, the power play.
Really, this was the story of the game for Everett. The Tips had 11 power plays tonight, including two five-on-threes. Yet Everett converted just once. After two periods the power plays were 9-1 in Everett’s advantage, yet the Tips trailed 2-1. Everett finished with an overall power-play advantage of 11-5, but could only outshoot Spokane 32-29.
And the numbers are backed up by the eye test. This wasn’t a case of the Tips getting unlucky or running into a hot goaltender. Sure, Spokane’s penalty kill deserves some credit, especially for blocking shots. But the Tips struggled just getting set up in the offensive zone, and on those rare occasions when they did the puck moved way too slow.
Granted, Everett scratched several players who would be candidates for the top power-play unit, and at this point in preseason preparations the team hasn’t had much time to work on special teams. But it was not pretty tonight.