Jonny Lambos reported to Angel of the Winds Arena on Monday morning and was in good spirits, according to Everett Silvertips coach Dennis Williams.
That was a relief for Lambos and the Tips after the overage defenseman suffered a frightening-looking injury during Everett’s 4-2 home victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Sunday evening.
The game was just 12 seconds old when Lambos, retrieving a puck behind the Everett goal, was leveled by a hard hit from Seattle’s Lucas Ciona. Lambos remained prone on the ice as the training staffs from both teams attended to him. Lambos eventually was placed on a backboard and taken to the hospital via ambulance.
“That was the first time I’ve been involved in something like that since I’ve been here,” said Williams, who was hired in 2017. “I think it was concerning for both teams, for both staffs and for the fans, you don’t want to see anything like that happen to any player from any team. I don’t think it was a malicious hit, I think it was an unfortunate incident. Johnny is an ultimate team player, and there were definitely a lot of worried faces on the bench after he went down.”
The good news was that Lambos, who has two goals and 15 assists in 40 games this season, was released from the hospital and back at the arena to greet his teammates after the game was over.
An update on Jonny:
Back in the building in time for post-game hugs.
— Everett Silvertips (@WHLsilvertips) January 31, 2022
Williams, who did not go into detail about the nature of Lambos’ injury, said he did not know how long Lambos might be out.
“He’s doing well,” Williams said. “I saw him this morning and he was in good spirits. The No. 1 priority is his health, and we’re going to take some time and see how that progresses.”
The Tips responded to Lambos’ injury in a positive manner, scoring a big victory over a T-birds team that routed Everett 5-1 when the teams last met on Jan. 15 in Kent. Indeed, the Tips essentially won the game in the minutes following the injury, outshooting Seattle 18-7 in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
The victory capped off a perfect three-in-three weekend for Everett (30-7-2-2), which also won 3-0 at Tri-City on Friday and 6-1 at home against Prince George on Saturday. The Tips remain seven points ahead of Kamloops for first place in the Western Conference.
Three stars of the week
Third star: Jackson Berezowski. The 19-year-old winger potted four goals across the three games. Berezowski is now riding a 13-game point streak, Everett’s longest of the season and the longest active streak in the WHL. He scored goals in 12 of those games and now ranks second in the league with 29 goals.
Second star: Braden Holt. The 18-year-old goaltender was a rock in net, going 2-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .964 save percentage in two starts. He recorded his third shutout of the season in the victory at Tri-City, then made 32 saves — including 16 in the third period — against Seattle.
First star: Jacob Wright. The 19-year-old winger had some kind of week, scoring three goals and dishing out four primary assists. He did his best work in the most important game, as against Seattle he scored both first-period goals, then made the play that set up the goal that made it 3-1 and stood up as the game winner.
The week ahead
Everett has another three-in-three weekend coming up. The schedule wasn’t originally configured that way, but it became a three-in-three when the Tips’ home game against Kelowna, originally scheduled for Jan. 21, was moved to Sunday because the Rockets were placed on pause due to COVID-19 protocols. The consolation for Everett is that there’s no travel as all three games are at home.
Given how heavily-weighted this season’s schedule is to division foes because of the elimination of inter-conference games, it’s also an unusual week in which the Tips don’t face a U.S. Division rival, as all three of this weekend’s opponents — Victoria (12-23-4-1) on Friday, Prince George (17-21-1-1) on Saturday, Kelowna (22-10-1-3) on Sunday — reside in the B.C. Division.
The Rockets are the danger team of the three, as Kelowna has won six straight to pull itself into the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Finishing in the top three in the conference — thus avoiding the four-versus-five first-round matchup — appears to be vital as the conference has diverged into five haves and five have-nots since the trade deadline.