The Vancouver Giants (21-20-3-2) have pulled within two points of a top-three playoff spot in the B.C. Division standings. Friday night at the LEC in front of 3938 strong, the Giants earned a 5-4 overtime victory over the Kamloops Blazers (32-13-2-1). Eric Florchuk sent the home crowd home happy with his 16th goal of the season that came on a backhand deke with 26 seconds remaining in the extra frame. Florchuk (1G, 2A), Bowen Byram (1G, 2A) and Tristen Nielsen (3A) all recorded three points for the Giants while goaltender David Tendeck made 26 saves. Connor Zary responded with two goals and an assist for Kamloops. It makred the first victory in five tries for the Giants against Kamloops. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night in a rematch in Kamloops.
GIANTS INCH WITHIN TWO POINTS OF THE ROCKETS
KAM – Josh Pillar (13) struck for Kamloops at 14:10 of the first period on a shorthanded breakaway to move the visitors ahead 1-0.
KAM – Connor Zary’s (29) first of two goals on the night came on a power play goal at 17:07. Zane Franklin and Orrin Centazzo both assisted.
Shots: 12 – 8 Vancouver
VAN – 56 seconds into the middle frame, Michal Kvasnica (4) snuck one through a maze of bodies and past Dylan Garand to put the Giants on the board. His goal came on a power play and was assisted by Bowen Byram and Eric Florchuk.
VAN – Justin Sourdif (15) tied the score at 2-2 at the 4:44 mark off snap shot from the right-wing circle that snuck under the crossbar and home. Sourdif’s goal was set up by Tristen Nielsen.
VAN – Exactly four minutes later at 8:44, Milos Roman (15) then parked himself in front of Kamloops goal and deflected a Bowen Byram point-shot past Garand to give the Giants a 3-2 lead.
VAN – Bowen Byram wired home his fourth of the season on a five-on-three power play at 12:27 to stake the Giants to a 4-2 lead.
Shots: 12-7 Vancouver
KAM – Connor Zary moved Kamloops back within a goal at 4:17 on a five-on-three power play chance. Zary’s 30th of the season and second of the night was set up by Max Martin and Libor Zabransky.
KAM – Orrin Centazzo (34) put Kamloops back even at 12:14 when he poked home a Connor Zary rebound. Ryan Hughes added the second assist.
Shots: 12 – 5 Kamloops
VAN – With under 30 seconds remaining in overtime, Eric Florchuk (16) picked up a Justin Sourdif pass in his own zone and sprinted up the ice wide down the left wing. Florchuk beat his defender wide, cut to the front of the net and slid a backhand deke past Dylan Garand, giving the Giants the 5-4 overtime victory.
Shots: 3-2 Kamloops
Final Score: Vancouver 5 – Kamloops 4 (OT)
Final Shots: 31 – 30 Vancouver
David Tendeck: 26/30 saves for Vancouver (13-13-1-1)
Dylan Garand: 26/31 saves for Kamloops (26-9-2-1)
Giants Power Play: 2/8
Blazers Power Play: 2/6
- Bowen Byram (VAN – 1G, 2A)
- Connor Zary (KAM – 2G, 1A)
- Tristen Nielsen (VAN – 3A)
Next Game: A rematch with Kamloops tomorrow night at 7:00 PM at the Sandman Centre.
“That was a good game. When we play the right way we can play with anybody. The Blazers have played well against us this year so it was good to get the first win against them. Now it’s going to be an even tougher game tomorrow in Kamloops,” – The overtime hero Eric Florchuk.
“We knew we had the chance to generate momentum with our power play in the second period and if we did that we’d find the back of the net. Our guys did a good job of chipping away in the second period,” – Giants head coach Michael Dyck
- The Giants improved their record against the B.C. Division to 11-7-3-2.
- Eric Florchuk has now notched five goals and eight assists for 13 points through his first nine games with the Giants.
- Since the trade deadline the Giants power play has gone 12/32.
- The Giants improved their record against Kamloops to 1-3-1-0.
- Heading into tomorrow’s rematch the Giants are now just two points shy of the Kelowna Rockets for third place in the B.C. Division with two games still in hand.