So, I was pretty sure Kohl Bauml was dead.
It was the second period and Bauml just got decked by Kamloops defenseman Ryan Rehill at center ice, a hit that resulted in a major penalty for interference and a game misconduct for Rehill as Bauml didn’t have the puck. Bauml was prone on the ice for several moments, and Tips athletic trainer Marc Paquet raced onto the ice to attend to Bauml. I was pretty sure I was going to see Bauml’s name on next week’s injury report.
But after a minute or so Bauml skated off under his own power, and somehow he was back on the bench before the period was over. Then on the first shift of the third period, who scores the game’s only goal? That’s right, the guy who was resurrected from the dead.
This was the second straight 1-0 game at Comcast Arena, so where are the goals? Well, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Everett fired off 38 shots on goal tonight, and lord knows how many it would have been had the Tips been able to hit the net. Time and again Everett got the puck into good scoring positions, only to blaze shots wide or over.
Taran Kozun probably had something to do with that. The Kamloops goaltender was phenomenal tonight. Two of his saves were Plays of the Week material as he committed absolute highway robbery on Manraj Hayer in the second period and Joshua Winquist late in the third. Without Kozun, Everett wins this game more comfortably.
OK, stick with me on this one. With 30.6 seconds remaining, Kamloops’ Sam Grist took a penalty in the process of preventing Logan Aasman from scoring an empty-net goal. Game over, right? Well, no. The Tips played the power play straight up, with four forwards and one defenseman on the ice, and when Carson Stadnyk’s feed from behind the net into the slot went awry, it began a Kamloops break the other way with about 15 seconds remaining. Tim Bozon, Kamloops’ most talented player, got the puck on the left and started bearing down on goal. It’s one of those, “This can’t be happening,” moments, where everything Everett worked for could end up down the drain.That’s when Matt Pufahl came diving across Bozon’s path to knock the puck away before it could get on goal. As Tips broadcaster Travis Huntington said, that’s the play of a captain.
First star: Austin Lotz, Everett. 23 saves for his second shutout of the season.
Second star: Kozun. 37 saves. Let’s be honest, he was the game’s true first star tonight.
Third star: Bauml. One goal, heck of a bounce back from that hit.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Pufahl. One assist. A really good all-around game tonight, and it was his centering feed that caused the havoc the eventually led to Bauml’s goal.