It was a case of too little, too late for the Vancouver Giants as they fall to the Victoria Royals 5-3 in the first WHL game back in the B.C. provincial capital since 1994. The Giants trailed by 3 goals after two periods, eventually cut the lead to one, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
In front of a soldout crowd, the Royals got on the board 3:09 in courtesy of Jamie Crooks. The Giants would get the equalizer on the power play as James Henry scored his 1st goal of the season. Teal Burns and Neil Manning picked up assists. Before the period was finished, Royals’ forward Robin Soudek found the back of the net on his team’s own man advantage to give the home team a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes, despite being outshot 22-9 by the Giants.
Victoria started the second period on the power play and just as it expired Logan Nelson beat Brendan Jensen to give the Royals a two goal advantage. Just over two minutes later Brandon Magee scored on the power play to make it a 4-1 game in favour of the Royals. That would spell the end of the night for Brendan Jensen. He allowed 4 goals on 13 shots in 23:52 of ice time. He was replaced by 16 year old rookie Jackson Whistle. Once again the Giants dominated on the shot clock, outshooting Victoria 16-4 in the frame for a two period total of 38-13.
With nothing to lose in the third period, the Giants came out flying and finally were rewarded; Nathan Burns finished off a nice passing play from James Henry and Cain Franson to cut the lead to 4-2. Vancouver would get it to with in one goal with 2:03 remaining in regulation as Dalton Sward scored his 2nd of the season to make it 4-3. In the final two minutes, the Giants had their chances, but could not beat Keith Hamilton. Kevin Sunder added an empty netter to seal the deal for Victoria, 5-3 was the final. The story of the game was the Royals netminder who made 48 saves en route to first star honours. James Henry finished the night with a goal and two assists. The Giants outshot Victoria 51-25. Playing in relief, Whistle stopped all 12 shots he faced. The Giants finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Royals were 2-for-7.
The Giants split the opening weekend series with the Royals and will return to action next Wednesday September 28 at the Pacific Coliseum. Game time is 7:00 pm. The pregame show begins at 6:30 pm on AM 650. For ticket information go to VancouverGiants.com.