Spotlight on Silvertips’ roster battles in weekend tourney

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips continue their preseason preparations this weekend with a pair of games at the Tri-City Preseason Tournament in Kennewick.

Everett faces Seattle at 11 a.m. Friday, then plays Kootenay at 11 a.m. Saturday. They are the fourth and fifth games of Everett’s seven-game preseason schedule. The Tips are 1-2 thus far in the preseason.

Everett heads into those games with 28 players on the roster — 16 forwards, eight defensemen and four goaltenders. The team typically carries approximately 24 players during the regular season.

There are two primary roster battles still going on with the team, and this weekend’s games will play a role in determining how those battles are resolved.

The first battle is for back-up goaltender. Everett will carry two goalies during the season.

Austin Lotz is entering his third season as the No. 1 netminder and will have one of the spots. Three rookies are competing for the back-up job: 17-year-olds Nik Amundrud and Mario Petit and 16-year-old Carter Hart.

Amundrud, a third-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft, finished last season as Everett’s back-up after Daniel Cotton was suspended for violating team rules. However, Amundrud never got into a game. Petit, an undrafted player who was added to Everett’s 50-player protected list as a 15-year-old, had a good campaign last season playing midget AAA in Manitoba. Hart, an eighth-round pick in the 2013 bantam draft, appeared in two games as a call-up last season as a 15-year-old, but he hasn’t practiced or played yet this preseason because of a strained groin.

The second battle is to fill Everett’s three overage spots. The Tips currently have four overagers: defenseman Ben Betker and forwards Kohl Bauml, Zane Jones and Brayden Low. Betker is a lock for one of the spots as he’s expected to be a workhorse on defense. Bauml was an alternate captain last season and is one of the team’s speediest skaters. Jones and Low are both power forwards who worked hard during the offseason to get into shape, with Jones slimming down and Low bulking up.

Everett will be without the services of winger Dawson Leedahl this weekend. Leedahl is serving a two-game suspension handed down by the Western Hockey League for his checking-from-behind major penalty in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Portland.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.

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