Wednesday night at the Langley Events Centre the Vancouver Giants fell 5-2 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Ryan Bowen and Ryan Vandervlis each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes while rookie forward Dylan Cozens chimed in with two assists. Rookie netminder Reece Klassen earned his first WHL victory between the pipes for Lethbridge turning aside 21 of the 23 shots fired his way. Tyler Benson and Ty Ronning had the goals in response for the Giants. Benson finished the night with a goal and one assist while Ronning’s third period goal extended his goal-scoring streak to 11 consecutive games. It was the Giants first loss at home since November 3rd.
Through 20 minutes the Hurricanes held a 13-7 edge in shots and a 2-1 edge in goals. Giorgio Estephan opened the game’s scoring for the visitors at 10:54 when he parked himself in front of the goal and one-timed a pass from behind the Giants net via Dylan Cozens past Giants starter David Tendeck. Tendeck finished the night with 35 saves on 39 shots faced and suffered his first 32 loss since November 3rd.
Tyler Benson countered with a goal for Vancouver at 14:26 of the first. Bowen Byram made a terrific play at the Lethbridge blueline to keep the play onside, and then spun around and placed a perfect backhand pass on the tape of Benson. The Giants captain then did the rest, beating a defenceman wide down the right and wing and snapped a low shot past Klassen to even the score.
With under a minute remaining in the first though the Hurricanes snagged the lead back when Ryan Bowen finished off a three-on-one rush at the 19:32 mark of the period.
Lethbridge added two more strikes in the second period with one goal coming early and the other in the later stages. At 1:52 Ryan Vandervlis tucked home his 10th of the season. The puck was visible between the two pads of Tendeck and Vandervlis had the presence of mind to poke the puck free and in while the referee still had sight of the puck.
Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Jordy Bellerive further increased the Hurricanes late at 16:58 as he buried his 12th of the season past Tendeck on a backhand in close. Through two periods the Hurricanes held a 26-17 lead in shots and a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard.
Ty Ronning did his best to catapult a Giants comeback when he buried his 24th of the season off a Tyler Benson pass at 9:06 of the third. The goal ensured that Ronning’s goal-scoring streak arrived at the 11-game mark – Matching the longest goal-scoring streak of the season in the WHL previously set by Swift Current Broncos forward Aleksi Heponiemi.
That’s as close as the Giants would come however. Despite a valiant push in the final minutes of the game, Lethbridge ended all hopes of a comeback when Taylor Ross scored his third of the season into the empty net to help the Hurricanes to their ninth victory of the season and their second victory on the road in as many nights.
The final shots were 40-23 for Lethbridge who went zero-for-two on the power play. The Giants finished the game zero-for-one on their lone chance. Fortunately for the Giants, the Prince George Cougars and Kelowna Rockets both lost Wednesday as well which means the Giants still hold sole possession of third place in the B.C. Division with their 10-10-2-2 record. Friday night they’ll wrap up their three-game home stand when they once again host the Kelowna Rockets at the Langley Events Centre.
- Tyler Benson has now recorded three goals and eight assists for 11 points in his past five games.
- Ty Ronning has now notched 14 goals and five assists for 19 points over the course of his 11-game goal-scoring streak.
- Dawson Holt (upper-body) and Marcus Kichton (lower-body) both returned to the Giants lineup after being sidelined with injuries earlier in November.