November 1, 2012
MEDICINE HAT, AB – In their first test with Mason Geertsen replacing David Musil on the blueline, the Giants ran into a red-hot Tigers team that was firing on all cylinders, and did it again Thursday night in a 5-1 victory at Medicine Hat Arena.
The Giants took 4 straight penalties in the first period but remained unscathed, as Liam Liston looked extremely good following his first win of the season (4-3 shootout victory in Lethbridge on Tuesday).
However, Jacob Doty scored an even strength marker at 13:45 to give Medicine Hat a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Giants got a perfect start to the 2nd, as Kale Kessy followed up on a Tanner Moar breakaway to bury his first goal/point in a Giants uniform, and tie the game at 1 against his former team.
The tie game didn’t last long, and neither did the Vancouver’s luck. Two minutes later, an unlucky bounce behind the net led to Elgin Pearce walking out front uncontested, where he outwaited Liston and buried it into an open net, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead. To add insult to injury, or rather vice versa in this case, Liston hurt himself on the play while trying to stretch out from right to left, and he had to be helped off the ice and into the locker room, where he remained for the rest of the game. He suffered a lower-body injury on the play, will be re-evaluated tomorrow, and in the meantime is considered day-to-day.
After Tyler Fuhr replaced Liston, the Giants came on and really took over the second half of the 2nd period. But they were up against the newly named WHL Goaltender of the Month, Cam Lanigan, and Lanigan was razor sharp again tonight, thwarting the Giants attempts at an equalizer numerous times.
Specifically, he made a remarkable toe save from the slot on Anthony Ast in the final minute, which led to the Tigers going back the other way and Trevor Cox converting a 2 on 1 to give the home side a 3-1 lead headed for the 3rd.
The game could have swung once again early in the 3rd, when Dalton Sward converted on a Trevor Cheek rebound, but the play was reviewed and the goal was waved off due to a high stick. Instead of 3-2, it stayed 3-1, and the Tigers took over the rest of the way. Hunter Shinkaruk notched a pair of goals to close out the scoring and secure the 5-1 Tigers victory.
Lanigan took 3rd star honours with 34 saves as Medicine Hat outshot Vancouver 38-35 (only 3rd time Giants have been outshot this season in 15 games). Elgin Pearce helped with a goal and 2 assists and he was 2nd star, while Hunter Shinkaruk’s 2 goals earned him the 1st star of the game.
Marek Tvrdon saw his 9 game points streak come to an end tonight.
Liam Liston made 14 saves on 16 shots before leaving due to injury, while Tyler Fuhr finished up with 19 saves on the next 22 shots.
The Giants went 0 for 3 on the power play and are now 1 for 25 on the road with the man advantage. However they were 7 for 7 on the penalty kill, and have now killed off 20 consecutive opposition power plays over the last 4 games combined.
The loss drops Vancouver to 4-11-0-0 on the season, while the Tigers won their 5th straight and moved above .500 with a record of 9-8-1-0.
Vancouver has finished the Alberta portion of their 5-game road trip, and will continue on to Cranbrook for a Saturday game with the Kootenay Ice (where 16 year-old goaltender Payton Lee is expected to join them in his hometown and former Giant Austin Vetterl will suit up against his former team), before finishing up Sunday afternoon in Kennewick, Washington vs the Tri-City Americans.
Saturday’s game from Cranbrook will be a 6pm puck drop locally in Vancouver, with the pre-game show beginning at 5:30 on TEAM 1040.