Who’s been the Everett Silvertips’ breakout performer of the 2022-23 WHL season? Without question it’s been Austin Roest, and on Sunday he emphasized that point with yet another highlight performance.
Roest achieved another milestone as he recorded his first career WHL hat trick to spark the Tips’ 8-3 victory over the Spokane Chiefs at Spokane Arena.
Roest, an 18-year-old from Coldstream, B.C., has always been a promising player for the Tips. He was a premium selection in the 2019 prospects draft, as he was taken in the third round with Everett’s second pick of the draft. He had a big season as a 15-year-old, scoring more than two points per game in the B.C. Elite Hockey League’s under-16 division. He showed promise as a 16-year-old rookie during the coronavirus-shortened 2020-21 WHL season, and he took another step forward last season.
But no one expected him to explode the way he has this season. Roest currently has 16 goals and 19 assists in 23 games. His 35 points lead the Tips in scoring by a wide margin and are tied for seventh in the entire WHL. He’s already surpassed his point total from last season, when he put up 32 points in 59 contests. And he’s done it all while moving from the wing to center, requiring him to also take on greater defensive responsibilities.
On Sunday it was more of the same as he took control of the game during a 10-minute stretch of the second period against the Chiefs. Everett was leading 2-0 when Roest scored a mere nine seconds into the second period, wiring a wrister from the slot off the rush past Chiefs goaltender Dawson Cowan’s blocker to make it 3-0.
After Everett went ahead 4-0 it was Roest again, as his wrister from the right circle again beat Cowan stick side. He completed his hat trick less than a minute later, tipping in Julien Maze’s centering pass on a three-on-one. Roest’s three goals came in the span of 10:02.
Roest was passed over in the 2022 NHL draft. But he did receive a development camp invite by the Colorado Avalanche, and he was recently given a late-round designation by NHL Central Scouting for the 2023 draft. No doubt his scoring output is catching the eyes of scouts.
Roest’s exploits helped Everett snap a five-game losing streak. The Tips are now 13-9-1-0 and are on an island in third place in the U.S. Division, as Portland and Seattle have pulled away at the top, while Tri-City and Spokane are both under .500.
Three stars of the week
Third star: Jackson Berezowski. The 20-year-old winger returned from a six-game absence because of a lower-body injury and registered a goal and four assists across two games, including a four-assist effort in Sunday’s victory at Spokane.
Second star: Jesse Heslop. The winger’s impressive 16-year-old season continued as he notched two goals and two assists. With 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 21 games, he’s on pace for the second-highest scoring season ever by an Everett 16-year-old.
First star: Roest. In total he had three goals and two assists in Everett’s three games. He’s failed to register a point in just five of the Tips’ 23 games this season, and he has 13 multi-point efforts.
The week ahead
Everett begins a four-game homestand with a pair of contests at Angel of the Winds Arena this weekend. The Tips play six of their final eight games before the holiday break at home.
The first game is against Portland on Saturday, the third meeting between the two teams in a span of 16 days. Everett is 0-2 against the Winterhawks this season. Portland (17-3-1-1) has the best record in the Western Conference, but has lost its last two. The Winterhawks are led by 20-year-old forward Robbie Fromm-Delorme (11 goals, 19 assists) and are buoyed by the league’s top power play (30.1%).
The week concludes against Kelowna on Sunday. The teams split their previous two meetings. The Rockets (9-10-1-0) are in fourth in the B.C. Division, and 17-year-old forward Andrew Cristall (16 goals, 23 assists) continues to put up points at an impressive rate.