It was a Valentine’s Day to remember for the Vancouver Giants as Brendan Gallagher scored 3 goals, becoming the most prolific goal scorer in Vancouver Giants franchise history, in a 5-4 shootout win over the Tri-City Americans Tuesday night at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Washington. With the win, the Giants snapped their 7 game losing streak (including playoffs) vs. the Americans.
The game also marked the 296th regular season game of Neil Manning’s career becoming the all-time leader in games played in a Vancouver Giants uniform. Tri-City opened the scoring on the power play, before the Giants responded on their own man advantage; David Musil’s slapper beat Eric Comrie for his 3rd goal of the season to tie the game 1-1. With the Giants on another power play, the Americans would get a 2-on-1 the other way and would convert as Justin Feser beat Adam Morrison to give Tri-City a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.
Brendan Gallagher set the franchise record for goals in style, scoring his 32nd of the year and 127th of his career on a breakaway to even the score at 2-2. The Americans would retake the lead with 3:42 left in the period to go ahead 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Early in the third period Cain Franson was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a breakaway; unfortunately, he would be stopped by Comrie. Right off the ensuing faceoff Gallagher potted his 2nd goal of the game and 33rd of the year to tie the game at 3-3. Then with 2:31 left in regulation, Gallagher ripped home his hat trick goal to give the Giants their first lead of the night, 4-3. However, Franson would be sent to the penalty box with 1:30 left in the game and the Americans would make them pay. With Comrie on the bench and an extra attacker on the ice, Zach Yuen tied the game at 4-4 to send it into overtime.
In overtime, the Giants would get a power play, but were unable to capitalize. They outshot Tri-City 6-1 in the extra frame, but could not beat Comrie, so a shootout was needed. Cain Franson would redeem himself, scoring the game winner. Brendan Gallagher also scored, as Adam Morrison stopped both shooters he faced. Morrison has now stopped 13 straight shooters and 22 of 26 shooters he has faced this year. Giants win 5-4.
Gallagher now has 129 career goals in a Giants uniform and with the 3 points trails Adam Courchaine by 4 points for the most points in franchise history.
The win was also Don Hay’s 549th victory as a head coach in the WHL, moving him into 3rd place for all-time regular season wins as a head coach, passing Ernie ‘Punch’ McLean and trailing only Saskatoon Blades head coach Lorne Molleken and Ken Hodge.
The Giants are back in action Wednesday night when they take on the Spokane Chiefs. The two teams are tied with 69 points on the year, but the Chiefs have 2 games in hand. Puck drop is 7:05 pm. The pregame show begins at 6:30 pm on AM 650.