Tri-City Americans coach Mike Williamson knew before training camp started in August that the team would be without starting goaltender Evan Sarthou for the foreseeable future with a lower-body injury.
The third-year coach also knew there was no need to panic with Nick Sanders and Beck Warm ready to step into the crease.
“We knew coming in that we had three guys with experience, two who had been here all last year, and one who joined us for parts of last year,” Williamson said. “It’s unfortunate that Evan was hurt, but we had guys come in with experience. They have played well and have given us a chance in these games.”
The Americans are 2-2-0-0 going into Wednesday and Friday games at Everett this week. Warm is 2-1-0-0, while Sanders took the loss last Saturday at Spokane. Williamson said Tuesday afternoon that he hadn’t named a starter for this week’s games.
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“We told them it is day-by-day and game-by-game, based on performance,” Williamson said. “We feel comfortable with either guy. They just have to make sure when they get the nod that they give the team a chance.”
Warm, 17, was juggling small green balls and tossing them against the wall in the lower level of Toyota Center before practice Tuesday, working on his hand-eye coordination and reflexes.
A rookie from West Vancouver, British Columbia, the 6-foot, 175-pound Warm got the nod on opening night, and twice more since.
“Whenever you get a chance to go out and play, you do it,” Warm said. “You control what you can. The team has played well in front of me all three games. I just try to do my best.”
He said he was a little nervous for the home opener — an 8-3 victory over Spokane — but otherwise playing in the WHL is like any other game.
“It’s the same game I have been playing since I was little,” he said. “Nothing changes. I just play my game.”
A key factor with Warm and Sanders is they have a good working relationship.
“They are both competitive, they want the net, and they want to perform well and get wins,” Williamson said. “When the other guy gets the nod and is in there, they are supportive of each other. It is a healthy relationship.”
While both goalies’ main focus is on stopping the puck, Sanders also must keep on top of his Type I diabetes. He was diagnosed when he was 10 years old, and now at 18, he has a handle on things.
“It does change a few things,” Sanders said. “I have to be more aware than most people of my body, and know what my blood sugar levels are at all times.”
During a game, Sanders will test himself when he comes off the ice after a period, and again before he goes back out.
“If something’s off, then my game is off and that will affect the team, and I don’t want to do that,” Sanders said. “Quite often between periods, I’ll give myself a shot (of insulin) to keep myself down. For the most part, it’s good. Especially since I have been playing with it for eight years.”
Off the ice, Sanders wears an insulin pump to regulate his levels. He also got a tattoo this summer depicting his condition on his right forearm because he can’t always wear his MedicAlert bracelet.
“I don’t wear my pump during games,” Sanders said. “It’s not feasible. If something happened, like a scramble in front of the net and it came off, I don’t have to worry about something dangling from me while I’m trying to do my job and let the puck go in the net.”
NHL Central Scouting rankings
Americans forward Michael Rasmussen, defenseman Juuso Välimäki and Sarthou were named on the preliminary watch list Tuesday.
Rasmussen and Välimäki were two of five WHL players assigned an ‘A’ rating, which indicates a first-round candidate for the 2017 NHL draft.
Sarthou earned received a ‘C’ rating, indicating a fourth-to-sixth round candidate.
Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574