The Tips have a challenging weekend ahead, with three games in three days in three different locations.
However, this is no ordinary three-in-three. The lineup: at home against Tri-City on Friday, at Spokane on Saturday, at Portland on Sunday. That’s the top three teams in the Western Conference. Portland has probably the most talent in the WHL, especially with its players returning from World Juniors. Meanwhile, Tri-City and Spokane are the two hottest teams in the league.
Making the weekend even more challenging for Everett is that Tri-City, Spokane and Portland are three of the highest-scoring teams in the league. The Tips, in contrast, are the league’s lowest-scoring team, and Everett has just two goals in three second-half games. Everett’s offense will need to improve drastically to keep up with this weekend’s opponents.
Yet, this weekend represents opportunity for the Tips, too. The trade deadline is Monday. Everett general manager Doug Soetaert has said he doesn’t plan on making any drastic changes to the team. This is a chance for the Tips to prove the roster as currently constructed is capable of competing with the conference’s best.
Everett will have a more-complete roster at its disposal this weekend. Defensemen Rasmus Rissanen and Nick Walters and winger Jari Erricson are all back from international duty and are available for Friday’s game. Rissanen helped Finland finish sixth at World Juniors, Walters and Erricson helped Team Pacific win the bronze medal at the U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Rissanen and Walters in particular will help secure a blue line that’s still missing overager Chad Suer because of a broken jaw.
There’s one other addition to Everett’s roster, but this change is in the office. Catherine D’Ambrosia has joined the office staff and is now manning the front desk. D’Ambrosia succeeds Katie Ray, who moved to Bellingham. So good luck Katie, and welcome Catherine!