The 2017-18 Vancouver Giants are proving to be quite a resilient bunch, according to the play-by-play broadcaster Dan O’Connor.
Down 5-2 with just over six minutes left to play, the G-Men rattled off three goals in a span of five minutes and 12 seconds to earn a point in what ended as a 6-5 shootout loss to the Victoria Royals.
Owen Hardy, Matt Barberis, and Dylan Plouffe each had two points for the Giants while goaltender David Tendeck made 38 saves on the 43 shots he faced through 65 minutes.
Royals netminder Griffen Outhouse made 43 saves in net while captain Matthew Phillips posted a goal, an assist and the only goal of the shootout.
Through 20 minutes the score was tied 1-1.
Barberis opened the scoring for the Giants at 12:36 when his backhand from the left side of the slot snuck through Griffen Outhouse. Victoria responded just nine seconds later when Ryan Peckford tapped home a pass off the rush from Matthew Phillips, O’Connor recounted.
Early in the second period the Giants created a flurry of chances in the Victoria end on a power play, but Outhouse stood his ground and kept his team on even terms.
Royals forward Eric Florchuk gave his team the lead at 8:30 off the rush when he buried a pass from Jeremy Masella. Matthew Phillips then extended Victoria’s lead to 3-1 on a power play at 11:45.
Vancouver countered at 14:42 when James Malm snuck into the slot and snuck his fourth of the season past Outhouse. Malm’s goal was set up off the right wing by Bowen Byram.
“After two periods the Giants trailed 3-2 but held a 25-22 edge in shots on goal. They’d add another 20 shots in the third period and three more in overtime to finish with 48 altogether,” O’Connor said.
Beginning at the 7:48 mark of the third, Regan Nagy and Jared Legien struck within 12 seconds of each other to open up a 5-2 lead for the Royals.
“But as the Giants have shown numerous times already this season, they can never be counted out of a game,” he added.
NetminderTendeck made what O’Connor called “some terrific saves” for Vancouver to keep his team within striking distance. “And eventually he was rewarded with some run support of his own,” he said.
Hardy started the Giants comeback with his fifth of the season at the 13:50 mark. Tyler Popowich then planted his big frame in front of the Victoria goal and knocked home his second of the season at 15:56 off Hardy’s rebound.
Then with the Giants net empty and his team on a power play, Ty Ronning pounced on a Plouffe rebound and stuffed home his 11th of the season to tie the game 5-5. For a fourth time in 14 games, the Giants required overtime.
Victoria outshot the Giants 8-3 in overtime due in large part to a power play. David Tendeck and the Giants dug their heels in and kept the game tied and despite combining for 10 goals and 90 shots on net, 65 minutes solved absolutely nothing.
“After 10 combined goals and 90 combined shots, 65 minutes still wouldn’t be enough,” O’Connor explained.
After Igor Martynov and Ronning missed their respective chances in Round 1 of the shootout, Royals captain Phillips outwaited Tendeck and buried his forehand chance in Round 2. Phillips’ goal proved to be the lone tally of the shootout as Dawson Holt missed on the ensuing chance for Vancouver, and Tyler Soy and Milos Roman both came up empty in Round 3 which helped the Royals secure the extra point.
Vancouver finished the game one-for-six on the power play while the Royals went one-for-nine on their chances. The single point improves the Giants record to 5-6-1-2 while the Royals improved to 11-4-1-0.
These two teams, the Vancouver Giants and the Victoria Royals, won’t have to wait long to renew acquaintances as they’ll square off again this afternoon at 3 p.m. again at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria.