By Nick Patterson Herald Writer
EVERETT — Not even a healthy Austin Lotz could have saved the Everett Silvertips on Tuesday night.
With their No. 1 goaltender watching from the stands, the Silvertips were completely outclassed by the Portland Winterhawks, falling 6-0 at Comcast Arena.
Portland came into the game with the WHL’s best record, and the Winterhawks were a perfect 7-0 against the Tips. Based on Tuesday’s domination, there’s no reason to believe either of those situations will change anytime soon. Portland skated rings around Everett, and the Winterhawks led 4-0 before the game even reached the nine-minute mark.
“It’s tough to try to make something happen against that team,” interim coach Garry Davidson said. “They have the puck all night long and they just don’t give it away. It’s hard to get it back from them.”
Everett’s one hope might have been Lotz, who has been red hot of late, including making a franchise-record 65 saves in last Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss at Kamloops. But Lotz limped off the ice at the end of practice Monday, and he was scratched Tuesday with what Davidson described as a lower-body injury. Lotz was seen wearing a walking boot on his left foot.
“He definitely won’t be around for the weekend,” Davidson said of Lotz. “We’ll have to see Sunday or Monday where he’s at as far as the following week goes.”
Ty Rattie scored two goals and Nicolas Petan added a goal and two assists for Portland (40-7-1-2), which officially clinched a playoff spot with the victory. The Winterhawks became the first team in the league to book their spot in the postseason.
“I didn’t know that,” acting Portland coach Travis Green said. “It’s nice, but we just go one game at a time here.
“Our team was good tonight,” Green added. “We got some power plays early and took advantage of it. When you have the lead it’s a lot easier to play, especially on the road. Then the last two periods were real strong, not just offensively, but I liked how our guys played defensively and were hard on the puck.”
Taylor Leier, Presten Kopeck and Troy Rutkowski scored the other goals for Portland. Brendan Burke had an easy time of it in the Winterhawks net, needing just 17 saves to post the shutout.
Daniel Cotton, who was slated to start in net for Everett on Tuesday even before Lotz’s injury, did what he could to limit the damage, making 35 saves.
Adding further injury to insult, the Tips also lost leading scorer Joshua Winquist during the game. Winquist left early in the second period having aggravated what Davidson said was a nagging upper-body injury. Winquist returned for one shift later in the period, but indicated afterward he couldn’t continue. Davidson described Winquist’s status as questionable going forward.
The game was effectively over before it even reached the midpoint of the first period as the Winterhawks scored four times during what was a disastrous 3:38 for the Tips early in the period.
It began with an own goal as Everett defenseman Connor Cox inadvertently put a rebound into his own net at 4:28 during a Portland power play. Rattie was credited with the goal. The following shift was a nightmare for the Tips as Brayden Low and Michael Zipp took penalties on the same play, giving Portland a full two minutes of five-on-three. Petan sniped the top corner from the top of the left circle at 5:36 to make it 2-0.
“(Taking penalties) is not the way you can start against a team with that much firepower,” Davidson said.
The Tips managed to kill off the second penalty, but Portland scored 22 seconds after it expired, Leier redirecting Oliver Bjorkstrand’s centering feed over Cotton. Davidson called timeout to try and stem the tide, but it was just another 44 seconds before it was 4-0, Kopeck finishing off a nice passing move in transition.
With Lotz unable to dress, the Silvertips brought in Bryce Fink to serve as the emergency back-up goaltender. The 19-year-old Fink plays for the Mountlake Terrace-based Seattle Junior Totems. Davidson said he was working on bringing in 15-year-old Nik Amundrud, who’s already signed an education contract with the Tips, to back up Cotton over the weekend. … Everett was already banged up before the news about Lotz and Winquist as wingers Ryan Harrison (concussion) and Lucas Grayson (lower body) and defensemen Ryan Murray (shoulder), Austin Adam (concussion) and Ayrton Nikkel (finger) were scratched because of injuries.
Winterhawks 6, Silvertips 0
Portland 4 1 1 —6
Everett 0 0 0 —0
First Period—1, Portland, Rattie 26 (Petan, Jones), 4:28 (pp). 2, Portland, Petan 34 (Jones, Leipsic), 5:36 (pp). 3, Portland, Leier 19 (Bjorkstrand, De Leo), 7:22. 4, Portland, Kopeck 8 (Wotherspoon, De Champlain), 8:06. Penalties—Zipp, Everett (high sticking), 4:28 (pp); Low, Everett (holding), 5:00; Zipp, Everett (tripping), 5:00; Petan, Portland (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:00; Winquist, Everett (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:00; De Champlain, Portland (roughing), 15:43.
Second Period—5, Portland, Rutkowski 17 (Peters), 6:35. Penalties—Baker, Portland (hooking), 9:32; Leipsic, Portland (roughing), 18:02; Petryk, Everett (checking from behind), 18:02; Oslanski, Everett (roughing), 18:02.
Third Period—6, Portland, Rattie 27 (Wotherspoon, Petan), 5:17. Penalties—Kopeck, Portland (hooking), 15:05.
Shots on goal—Portland 14-17-10—41. Everett 4-9-4—17. Power-play opportunities—Portland 2 of 4. Everett 0 of 3.
Goalies—Portland, Burke 16-4-1-0 (17 shots, 17 saves). Everett, Cotton 9-11-0-0 (41 shots, 35 saves).
Check out Nick Patterson’s Silvertips blog at http://www.heraldnet.com/silvertipsblog, and follow him on Twitter at NickHPatterson.