WHL playoffs: Silvertips mum on Hart’s status for weekend

EVERETT — Will he or won’t he play?

“He” would be star Everett Silvertips goaltender Carter Hart, who was named the Western Conference Goaltender of the Year by the Western Hockey League on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alberta, was named the Tips’ MVP in last weekend’s regular-season home finale against Victoria. Yet Hart had to accept the award in a suit rather than his hockey gear because he missed Everett’s final four regular-season games with a lower-body injury.

He also hasn’t practiced all week.

The Silvertips organization isn’t saying whether or not Hart will play, but his week-plus absence would make it seem very unlikely he will play this weekend.

“No update,” was all head coach Kevin Constantine offered when asked about Hart on Thursday.

If Hart can’t go it’s up to backup Mario Petit.

“Playing or not playing, I’m always prepared and ready to play,” Petit said. “To get that kind of start would be a privilege to play in front of such a great team and great group of guys. Everyone is putting their (bodies) on the line here — kind of like a battlefield on ice.”

The 18-year-old Petit appeared in 15 games and had a 2.80 goals-against average, an .883 save percentage and a 3-3-4 record. He recorded 24 saves while facing 26 shots in Everett’s 3-2 overtime win at Portland on March 13.

Petit started nine games this season, including the final four of the regular season.

“You’ve gotta perform because you’re not performing there is always the next guy in line waiting for his chance.” Petit said. “I’m just really happy that guy is me and I’ve been very patient and kept trying to get better.”

Hart finished the regular season with a league-best 35 wins, was second in goals-against average (2.14), games played (63) and minutes played (3,693), tied for second in shutouts (six) and fifth in save percentage (.918).

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