A late game comeback bid fell just short for the Vancouver Giants (5-6-1-1) on Friday night at the Langley Events Centre. Prince George Cougars (5-5-2-2) netminder Tavin Grant denied Giants leading scorer Ty Ronning on a breakaway in the final minute of the third to help his team hang on for a 2-1 victory. Ryan Schoettler and Dennis Cholowski had goals for Prince George while Giants captain Tyler Benson, in his first WHL game since January 2nd, scored in the third period to help launch their comeback attempt.
Playing in their first home game in a span of 20 days, the Giants started strong outshooting the Cougars 17-9 in the opening period. The only goal of the period came via the Cougars defenceman Ryan Schoettler at the 9:24 mark. Schoettler’s original shot from the right point was blocked by Owen Hardy, but with the Giants forward down and out Schoettler’s second attempt found its way past Giants goaltender Todd Scott and home for his first of the season.
Period two was a tough one for Vancouver as they managed only four shots on the Cougars net while Prince George countered with 10. Detroit Red Wings prospect (and Langley native) Dennis Cholowski increased the Cougars lead to 2-0 when his shot from the right point snuck through a maze of bodies and past Scott at 11:46. Prince George took their 2-0 lead into the second intermission and kept it that way until the final five minutes of the third period.
With time winding down, Giants captain Tyler Benson got the crowd fired up when he took a pass off the right wing from Brendan Semchuk, skated into the right circle and zapped a shot under the bar and in for his first of the season. Benson was named the game’s third star after finishing the game with a goal, six shots on goal and two penalty minutes.
With time winding down and their net empty, the Giants continued to apply pressure. After a near-miss on the empty net, the Giants came back on the attack and Ty Ronning was sent in alone on a breakaway. The Giants leading scorer made a quick move to his forehand, but Grant remained calm, kicked out his left pad and denied the Giants sniper point blank. Seconds later the clock hit zero and the Cougars celebrated their 2-1 road victory.
Vancouver ended the night zero-for-three on the power play but were four-for-four killing penalties. The final shots were 33-29 for the Giants who head right back on the road tomorrow. They’ll square off with the Victoria Royals tomorrow night (7:05 PM) and Sunday afternoon (3:05 PM) at the Save on Foods Memorial Centre.
- Dating back to last season, Tyler Benson has recorded four goals and 13 assists for 17 points in his past nine WHL games.
- With an assist tonight, Brendan Semchuk has now earned at least a point in five of his last six games. During that span he’s scored three goals and added five assists.