Rookie goaltender Braden Holt made his WHL debut Friday night against Prince George. (Photo by Chris Mast)

Rookie goaltender Braden Holt made his WHL debut Friday night against Prince George. (Photo by Chris Mast)

Silvertips weekend wrap: Braden Holt makes his WHL debut

The rookie goaltender was subbed in during Friday’s 4-3 loss to Prince George

It wasn’t the Western Hockey League debut that was scripted in Braden Holt’s mind, but Friday was a night to remember for the Everett Silvertips’ 16-year-old rookie goaltender.

Holt was in the crease for the first time this season in the Silvertips’ 4-3 loss to the Prince George Cougars when Keegan Karki was yanked after relinquishing three first-period goals on seven shots.

“It felt really good,” Holt said of his WHL debut. “I was pretty nervous at first, but after the first (save), the crowd erupted and it helped boost the confidence up quite a bit and take the nerves off.”

Holt was inserted between the pipes at the 15:36 mark of the first period after the Cougars built a 3-1 lead.

“It was three (goals) on seven shots,” Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams said. “I had to do something to generate some energy on the bench and give a different outlook. … It wasn’t scripted or planned, but that’s what you have to do sometimes.”

Holt performed admirably in his two-plus periods, stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced, good for a .950 save percentage.

“I thought he played sound,” Williams said. “I’m sure he was a little nervous, but I thought he did a nice job and he gave us the boost we needed. Unfortunately, on that last goal he let in, it was a bit of a bad read by our defenseman there. … But hey, at the end of the day, that’s something you can build confidence in.”

Prince George stunner

Sure, Prince George is in last place in the WHL’s Western Conference, but the Cougars’ record is a bit deceiving, Williams said.

The Cougars entered Friday’s contest playing .500 hockey over their previous 10 games (4-4-2), including wins over B.C. Division favorites Kamloops and Vancouver.

“We got out-worked and out-competed and that’s something we strive to (do to) other teams,” Williams said. “As we said to our guys, ‘You sit here and you look at their record and say, “OK, we got Prince George. They’re in last place.” Well, you’ll be fooled.’

“As I said to our guys, I don’t know if we came out and respected them right away. It’s something we talked about yesterday and today. We got what we absolutely deserved and we have to refocus and reset. We think it’s going to be a cake walk but the first 30 games are nothing. This part (of the schedule) is the grind part. This is the part that gets you prepared for the rest of the season. But we need much better effort and much better execution by our group.”

Tips rebound at Kamloops

After a disappointing result on home ice against Prince George, the Silvertips rebounded Saturday, scoring a 7-5 road win over the Kamloops Blazers. The seven goals were a season-high for the Silvertips.

Cole Fonstad had perhaps his best game as a Silvertip with a season-high four points (one goal, three assists). The former Prince Albert Raider was dynamic on the rush and created plenty of juicy chances throughout the game.

The Silvertips stuck with Karki in net after he was pulled Friday and he earned the win with 36 saves, tying his career-high.

Bryce Kindopp scored two more goals to tie Spokane’s Adam Beckman for the WHL lead with 27 goals on the season.

More WHL firsts

In the Silvertips’ win over Kamloops on Saturday, Olen Zellweger collected his first career WHL goal to put Everett up 4-2 in the second period. The 16-year-old rookie defenseman pinched up and finished a pass from Conrad Mitchell for the first goal of his young WHL career.

Rookie defenseman Aidan Sutter recorded the secondary assist on Zellweger’s goal. It was Sutter’s first WHL point.

Standings watch

The Silvertips remain tied with Portland atop the U.S. Division with 52 points.

Josh Horton covers the Silvertips for the Herald. Follow him on Twitter, @JoshHortonEDH

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