(Everett, WA) The Everett Silvertips got their first view of what 19-year-old goalie and offseason signing Keegan Karki can bring in Saturday night’s 5-3 preseason win over the Spokane Chiefs.
The Sartell, Minnesota, native was in fine form in his WHL debut, stopping 26-of-29.
“It’s always nice to get the win. Especially as a goalie. I’m sure he had some nerves and jitters. He hasn’t played in quite some time. I was happy with his game and when it comes to goaltending there was a few times where he scrambled. At the end of the day, it’s about getting that first one under your belt and gaining confidence from it. He gave us a chance to win,” said Everett head coach Dennis Williams of his netminder’s game.
Karki seemed to get better as the game went on, making two stellar stops in the third period, including one off a Luke Toporowski semi-breakaway and one where he got enough on a shot from Bear Hughes to keep the puck out, much to the chagrin of the Chiefs on the ice who had already begun to celebrate.
“First game in the WHL felt pretty good. Getting used to the level of play here… working on foot movement and different angles… lots of awareness on tracking,” said Karki when asked about how he handled the speed of the game in the WHL.
Even with Karki playing well, Everett and Spokane were tied at two after 40 minutes. They remained tied until Max Patterson netted a goal with just over 13 minutes left in regulation.
The Silvertips (2-0) won their second of the preseason, while the Chiefs (0-2) fell for the second day in a row at the Everett preseason tournament. The Chiefs got all three goals on the power play and went 3-for-6 overall.
Everett got two points from Max Patterson and three from Justyn Gurney to lead the way. They also added the first ever WHL goal from Jack Lambert.
The Silvertips started the scoring in the game when import forward Michal Gut put home his second in as many games off the rush.
“It was a nice goal to get there from him. You can see him getting tired at the end of the game and wasn’t moving his feet too much. It will take some time. You can see he has very high-end skill and possesses the puck well. He’s another coachable kid,” said Williams of his rookie import.
Spokane tied up the game off a strange bounce behind the Everett net. Bear Hughes skated away with his second point in as many days.
Everett then took the lead back 6:46 into the middle frame as, off the rush again, Lambert backhanded a pass from Gurney by a diving Lukas Parik, the Spokane goalie.
Parik stopped 13-of-15 in the game, before he was switched out to give 2002-born goalie Campbell Arnold the net.
The Chiefs answered again with Adam Beckman wiring home a power-play goal from above the faceoff dots. That tied the game at two.
In the third, Karki faced his test from the Chiefs early and made some big stops. That opened the door for the Silvertips to find the net behind Arnold. Everett retook the lead with a goal from Patterson and added another from Gurney to make it 4-2 with 8:25 left in regulation.
Then, a late penalty on Lambert opened the door for the Chiefs power play. Beckman sniped another shot by Karki on the man advantage with Arnold pulled for a 6-on-4 advantage.
Gurney put his second goal of the game into the empty net, but there had been opportunities for the Chiefs to tie it.
The Chiefs now have to turn around and take on the Vancouver Giants Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m. Everett closes out the tournament with a 7 p.m. tilt with the rival Seattle Thunderbirds.
-Gage Goncalves of Everett and Matt Leduc of Spokane got into a tussle in the first period. This meant that they both were given game misconducts.
-Everett then went down to 10 forwards as Jackson Berezowski left the game and did not return.