Vancouver Giants have just three home games remaining in the 2021-2022 regular season, including Sunday’s rematch against Spokane. They fell to the Chiefs, 5-2, Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, despite efforts by players such as Jaden Lipinski (above) who scored two goals in the first period. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver Giants have just three home games remaining in the 2021-2022 regular season, including Sunday’s rematch against Spokane. They fell to the Chiefs, 5-2, Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, despite efforts by players such as Jaden Lipinski (above) who scored two goals in the first period. (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver Giants look for rematch Sunday on Langley ice

G-Men kick off home double-header with 5-2 loss to Chiefs Saturday night

Vancouver Giants were in position this weekend to potentially clinch a spot in the Western Hockey League playoffs, But following a loss Saturday night, the team has seen its slim lead decrease to three points.

Facing the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, the Giants had a near-perfect first period as they led 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals from Jaden Lipinski.

But, the Chiefs would score five unanswered goals – twice in the middle frame and then three more times in the third – to earn the 5-2 victory.

The win improves Spokane to 21-37-4-1 and 47 points as the Chiefs sit in ninth place in the WHL’s Western Conference, while Vancouver saw its record drop to 23-34-4-0 and 50 points – which has them in sixth place with seven games remaining in the regular season.

The two teams are back on the ice at Langley Events Centre again this (Sunday) afternoon at 4 p.m., and Giants coach Michael Dyck is looking for his team to improve their play.

“We turned the puck over way too much (and) we went away from what we were doing well in the first period,” Dyck said.

“These guys know what is on the line; we just have to be better. We have to play like we did in the first period, (but) for 60 minutes.”

RECENT: 2-game weekend with Chiefs determines if Giants make playoffs

While the Giants still control their own fate by virtue of the fact they have more games remaining than the teams they are battling with, they do have a tough closing schedule as they try and hold off one of Victoria (50 points, four games remaining), Prince George (47 points, six games), and Spokane (47 points, five games).

After Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, Vancouver faces Kelowna three times and Kamloops and Portland once each. All three teams of those opponents are 30+ points ahead of the Giants in the standings.

Saturday’s contest saw Vancouver Giants allow 45 shots on goal; the 13th time this season the opposition has fired at least 40 shots on the Vancouver goaltender.

Following the first period – when the shots were 20-18 Vancouver and the score 2-0 – the Chiefs took control of the game with a dominant second period that saw them outshoot the Giants 15-5 and score the only two goals of the frame with Chase Bertholet and Ty Cheveldayoff each beating Connor Martin.

READ MORE: Payton Mount’s 3 goals not enough to save Giants in Cougar attack

Nick McCarry’s power-play goal 4:03 into the third gave the Chiefs the lead for good with Cheveldayoff adding an insurance marker with under three minutes to play before Graham Sward scored into the empty net.

Shots on goal in the third period saw each team fire 12 on the opposing goaltender with Spokane’s Mason Beaupit earning the game’s third star following his 35-save performance.

“Marty (Connor Martin) gave us a chance; he made some great saves for us. Their goaltender settled in after the first period and made some saves for them. I thought we could have tested him more in the second and third,” Dyck said.

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BY THE NUMBERS

1st period:

VAN – 10:33 into the first period, Jaden Lipinski (7) received a slick blue-line feed from Justin Lies, snuck between the Chiefs defence and snuck a low shot past Beaupit while being hauled down. The second assist came from Colton Langkow. The goal negated a delayed penalty.

VAN – 2:01 later, Jaden Lipinski (8) struck again. This time, Lipinski parked himself in front of the crease and redirected home an Alex Cotton pass. Justin Lies picked up the second assist.

Shots: 20-18 Vancouver

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2nd period:

SPO – Chase Bertholet (28) got Spokane on the board with a breakaway goal that just snuck through the legs of Martin. The assists came from Logan Cunningham and Berkly Catton. The goal came 6:45 into the second period.

SPO – With only 2:12 remaining in the second, Tyler Cheveldayoff (8) raced down the right-wing and roofed a wrist-shot post-and-in to tie the game at 2-2. The assist came courtesy of Blake Swetlikoff.

Shots: 15-5 Spokane

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3rd period:

SPO – The Chiefs took the lead 4:03 into the third with a power-play goal from Nick McCarry (19) off a backhand deke in alone. Assists came from Bear Hughes and Chase Bertholet.

SPO – Tyler Cheveldayoff (9) potted his second goal of the night to provide some insurance for the Chiefs at 17:05 of the third. The play came as a result of an intercepted pass at the Giants blueline which allowed Cheveldayoff to skate in alone for an unassisted marker.

SPO – Graham Sword (10) added an empty netter with a shot from his own zone to make it 5-2. Bear Hughes had the lone assist.

Shots: 12-12

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BOX SCORE

Final score: Spokane 5 – Vancouver 2

Final shots: 45 – 37 Spokane

Connor Martin: 40/44 saves for Vancouver

Mason Beaupit: 35/37 saves for Spokane

Vancouver power play: 0/4

Spokane power play: 1/6

3 Stars: 1) Chase Bertholet (1G,1A); 2) Jaden Lipinski (2G); and 3) Mason Beaupit (35 Saves)

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Tickets are still available for Sunday afternoon’s game. Puck drops at 4 p.m. This is a fan appreciation day with giveaways and an after-game skate with Jack The Giant mascot.

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Vancouver Giants have just three home games remaining in the 2021-2022 regular season, including Sunday’s rematch against Spokane. They fell to the Chiefs, 5-2, Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, despite efforts by players such as netminder Connor Martin (above). (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver Giants have just three home games remaining in the 2021-2022 regular season, including Sunday’s rematch against Spokane. They fell to the Chiefs, 5-2, Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, despite efforts by players such as netminder Connor Martin (above). (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver Giants have just three home games remaining in the 2021-2022 regular season, including Sunday’s rematch against Spokane. They fell to the Chiefs, 5-2, Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, despite efforts by players such as Fabian Lysell (above). (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Vancouver Giants have just three home games remaining in the 2021-2022 regular season, including Sunday’s rematch against Spokane. They fell to the Chiefs, 5-2, Saturday night at Langley Events Centre, despite efforts by players such as Fabian Lysell (above). (Gary Ahuja, Langley Events Centre/Special to Langley Advance Times)