Tuesday night in Kent, WA the Vancouver Giants earned a single point in a 3-2 shootout loss against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Zack Andrusiak netted the shootout winner in Round 4 for the T-Birds who got 33 saves from goaltender Liam Hughes through 65 minutes. Brayden Watts and Brad Morrison had regulation goals for Vancouver while Ty Ronning grabbed one in the shootout. Goaltender Todd Scott put forth a second-straight quality start in goal for Vancouver, making 23 saves on the 25 shots he faced.
Sophomore forward Sami Moilanen opened the scoring for Seattle just a minute and 50 seconds into the first period off a three-on-two rush. His eighth of the season was assisted by Nolan Volcan.
Under two minutes later the Giants answered when the trio of Brendan Semchuk, James Malm and Brayden Watts teamed up for Watts’ fourth goal of the season. Watts and Malm each extended their point-streaks to five games.
Through 20 minutes the score was tied 1-1 with the Giants outshooting Seattle 13-9.
Some of Todd Scott’s best saves for the Giants came in the middle period. One of his best sequences came just past the mid-way point of the period when he made back-to-back saves off of Zack Andrusiak from in close.
Seattle would eventually solve Scott again at the 12:50 mark on a power play. Right as a two-man advantage expired, defenceman Austin Strand one-timed a pass from Jarret Tyszka past a sprawling Scott off a hard, low shot from the top of the left circle.
With time winding down in the second period, the Giants found an answer when Brad Morrison snuck a back-hand shot past Liam Hughes and home for his second of the season. Morrison’s goal came with 38 seconds left in the middle period and was assisted by both Dylan Plouffe and Matt Barberis.
Neither team solved the other in the third period as both Todd Scott and Liam Hughes came up big for their respective teams. Hughes turned aside all 10 shots he faced while Scott went a perfect six-for-six at his end. 60 minutes was not enough, and for the first time in 2017-18, the Giants required overtime.
Despite outshooting Seattle 4-1 in O.T. the Giants still couldn’t solve Hughes. The 18-year-old Seattle netminder also got help from his goal post as James Malm struck iron off a great chance from the right wing. Todd Scott’s only overtime save was impressive as well as he kicked out the right pad to deny Nolan Volcan off the rush. 65 minutes did not yield a winner, and a shootout would be needed to determine a winner.
Sami Moilanen started the shootout for Seattle but was denied by the right pad of Todd Scott. Ty Ronning then put the Giants ahead in the shootout with a backhand deke that beat Hughes to the blocker side.
Nolan Volcan and James Malm were both unsuccessful on their respective attempts, which put the game on the stick of Noah Philp. The 19-year-old needed to score to keep Seattle’s hopes alive and he zapped a quick shot past Scott’s glove and home.
Liam Hughes turned away Milos Roman’s game-winning attempt, which set the table for Zack Andrusiak to give Seattle the shootout lead with a goal in Round 4. Hughes then denied Brad Morrison’s tying attempt, which cemented Seattle’s victory.
The Giants finished the game zero-for-four on the power play and four-for-five on the penalty kill. The single point moves their overall record to 2-3-0-1 while the T-Birds are now 4-2-0-1. The Giants have managed at least a point in three of their past four games.
Next up for the Giants: A travel day as they head East to the Prairies to start a stretch of six games in nine days beginning Friday night in Swift Current against the Broncos.