People in the hockey world are fond of saying that the most important player on the team is the goaltender. Well, right now Everett’s goaltending situation is a mess.
No. 1 Austin Lotz is out injured, suffering a groin strain during Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Seattle. He’s expected to miss seven-to-10 days.
Lotz’s back-up, Cole Holowenko, is struggling mightily. Holowenko allowed three goals on nine shots after coming on for Lotz on Saturday, then gave up four goals on 16 shots before being removed early in the second period tonight. A couple of the goals he allowed tonight were downright ugly.
The Tips were forced to trade for Daniel Cotton from Seattle earlier Sunday just to have someone to dress as the back-up. Cotton hadn’t even dressed for Seattle this season, but there he was in the game tonight after 26 minutes. Full credit to him as he stopped 14 of 14 in relief, despite the crazy circumstances. Incidentally, the conditions of the trade were not whether Cotton played, but whether Cotton is still with the team at an unspecified future date, so the Tips haven’t surrendered their sixth rounder in 2014 just yet.
Everett departs for its six-game swing through the East Division first thing Tuesday morning. There’s uncertainty about whether Lotz will be able to play at all during the trip. So who all boards the bus?
Aside from the goaltending, Everett didn’t play particularly well tonight for nearly 40 minutes. However, the Tips rallied late, pulling within one after falling behind 4-0, and the Tips had chances to tie it before the Americans scored into the empty net with one-tenth of a second remaining. But before scoring the first goal Everett didn’t do a whole lot.
The goal that ultimately hurt Everett the most was Tri-City’s fourth. Beau McCue was in the corner and trying to send a centering feed out front. Holowenko reached out to poke it away. However, the puck tipped off Holowenko’s stick, over his shoulder and into the net to make it 4-0.
HIT OF THE DAY
Late in the game, after the Tips pulled back to within 4-3, Everett was on the penalty kill when Ryan Harrison laid a big hit on Mitch Topping into the boards behind the Tri-City net, freeing the puck and nearly leading to a short-handed scoring chance.
First star: Justin Feser, Tri-City. One goal and one assist, the latest in Tri-City’s production line of star overage forwards.
Second star: Brian Williams, Tri-City. One goal and one assist, gives me an opportunity for a shout out to Claremont, Calif.
Third star: Harrison. One goal and one assist, the Tips need this kind of production from Harrison.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Trent Lofthouse, Everett. One goal, part of an effective fourth line alongside Carson Stadnyk and Dawson Leedahl.