Thud— that was the sound of the Vancouver Giants falling flat on their faces.
Riding the momentum of their longest win streak in three seasons with six straight victories — and pulling to within three points of first place in the B.C. Division — the Giants were manhandled in all facets of the game by the Everett Silvertips.
Entering the game, the two squads were the hottest teams in the WHL’s Western Conference as Everett had won nine of 10 games and the Giants were right behind with eight victories in 10 tries.
But Everett dominated from start to finish, handing the Giants their worst-ever loss, 11-0, on Wednesday night at the Langley Events Centre. Everett improved to 22-13-1-1 while Vancouver fell to 18-14-2-2.
Giants head coach Jason McKee said there was not much to say to his team following the worst loss in franchise history.
“We created an expectation in the first half of how we wanted to play and tonight we didn’t meet that in any facet,” he said.
“(Everett) was good, they played their game. They were fast, they were slashing across the ice with speed and we just looked lethargic and didn’t want to do those things.
“We chased the game all night — they were a step ahead of us.”
The Silvertips scored four times in the first period on nine shots, chasing the reigning WHL goalie of the week, David Tendeck, after 20 minutes. Todd Scott did not fare any better, allowing goals on the first three shots he saw. And when the buzzer sounded to end the second period, Everett had scored five goals on 10 shots for a 9-0 lead.
Tendeck came back out for the third period and allowed two more goals on 10 shots.
McKee said the flip-flopping of goaltenders was more to just get both some work after a week off.
“Nobody was good tonight, this isn’t just on them, this is on everybody,” he said.
Everett was without stud goaltender Carter Hart who is in Buffalo with Canada at the world junior hockey championships, but there is not much drop off in goaltenders as Dustin Wolf stopped 24 shots and improved to 6-2 on the season while lowering his goals against to 1.75 and upping his save percentage to .947.
Riley Sutter led the ’Tips charge with four goals and one assist while his line-mate Connor Dewar had two goals and three assists. The third member of the line, Bryce Kindopp, had a pair of assists as the trip finished a combined +13.
On the Giants side of things, remarkably defenceman Dylan Plouffe was the lone player to not be on the ice for a goal against out of the team’s 17 skaters.
McKee said the effort was surprising considering the coaching staff felt the team had a good, uptempo practice the day before, in their return from the holiday break.
Sutter opened the scoring less than three minutes in on the power play, banking the puck from behind the goal-line off Darian Skeoch and in.
“We just kind of deflated from there and never got it back,” McKee said. “And there wasn’t anybody doing anything to change the momentum of the game.”
Vancouver is back in action on Friday (Dec. 29) as they head down the I-5 for a rematch in Everett. Following that, the Giants return home for a pair of home games against the Prince George Cougars as the teams hit the ice at the LEC on Dec. 30 and then again on Jan. 1 for a New Year’s Day matinee at 2 p.m.