With Christmas just two weeks away, Everett goaltender Austin Lotz was in full Grinch mode Tuesday night — the one with a heart full of unwashed socks.
Lotz stopped 45 of 46 shots through overtime, then turned away all three Tri-City players in the shootout to lead the Silvertips to a 2-1 victory over the Americans before an announced crowd of 4,071 at the Toyota Center.
“We generated enough chances to win, but give their goalie credit,” said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller, whose team has lost two in a row. “We just need to score some goals, that’s all. They need that to feel good.”
Everett, which won just its second game against Tri-City in six chances, rebounded from a poor showing in the first period.
“I wasn’t happy with our first period,” Everett coach Mark Ferner said. “I challenged the kids. We wouldn’t have been where we were without Lotz in net. He was out best player tonight. Austin was in the zone. We needed that. He needed that.”
Tuesday was the final home game for the Americans (18-12-1-2, 39 points) before Christmas. They have two games on the road — Saturday at Spokane and Dec. 18 at Seattle — before the players head home for a little holiday cheer.
The Silvertips (13-20-0-2, 38 points) will finish up the first half of their season with a home-and-home with Portland on Friday and Sunday.
The Silvertips, who trailed the Americans since late in the first period, tied the score at 10:46 of the third as Carson Stadnyk’s shot was stopped by Tri-City goalie Eric Comrie, but Comrie couldn’t control the rebound. Stadnyk skated in, picked up the loose puck and buried it for his sixth goal of the season.
Comrie finished with 29 saves, but he has lost his last six starts.
“Eric played terrific,” Hiller said. “You give up one goal, you expect to win. We have to score more goals for him.”
The Americans outshot the Silvertips 16-7 in the third, but Lotz denied them all, including a shot by Ryan Chynoweth with 44.4 seconds left in regulation.
After a scoreless overtime, Everett’s first man up, Josh Winquist, was the only player to score in the shootout.
“It was one of those road games we found a way to win,” Ferner said.
With a 1-0 lead, the Americans had to rely on their penalty kill unit in the second period to stay ahead.
The Silvertips picked up four power plays in the second — including three consecutive ones starting at 9:33 when Chynoweth went to the box for checking from behind.
Wil Tomchuk joined him for a few seconds with a cross check, and Justin Hamonic had a seat next to Tomchuk after giving Everett’s Ryan Harrison a little face wash with his glove at 12:04.
Everett had a 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:20, but it couldn’t find the net. Over the three power plays, the Silvertips had just five shots on goal.
“Eric made some really nice saves 5-on-3, and (Drydn) Dow blocked upwards of 10 shots tonight,” Hiller said.
With Jesse Mychan in the box for boarding, the Silvertips went back on the power play at 15:49, but they had no luck against Comrie and the Americans’ defense.
Justin Feser ended an eight-game goal drought in the first period, connecting on the power play at 17:28 to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
“Feser’s goal was a good one,” Hiller said. “That one-timer was as good as you are going to see.”
Feser, who leads the Americans with 18 goals and 38 points, had not scored a goal since potting two on Nov. 17 against Kelowna.
With the goal, Feser tied Stu Barnes for eighth on the team’s all-time points list with 285 points. Dylan Gyori is seventh with 286 points.
Everett, which already has lost top defender Ryan Murray to a season-ending shoulder injury, will be without defenseman Mirco Mueller, who departed for the World Junior Hockey Championships on Sunday morning to join the Swiss team. Mueller won’t be back until after Jan. 5. ... Everett is in the midst of its 10th season in the WHL. Over the course of 683 regular-season games, the Silvertips are 337-276-26-26 with 17 ties. They have won three U.S Division titles (2004, 2006, 2007), and they have made the playoffs each season.