Friday night at home, the Vancouver Giants kicked off the month of March with a 7-4 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in front of 3900-plus at the Langley Events Centre.
Milos Roman paced the G-Men with a goal and three assists, while five other Giants recorded multi-point games.
The Giants (42-14-2-2) trailed four separate times during the course of Friday’s game, but each time found an answer en route to their B.C. division leading 42nd victory.
Nolan Foote responded with two goals for Kelowna (26-30-4-1).
It was their sixth victory in seven tries this season against the Rockets, and the Giants earned 13 of 14 possible points against them.
Kelowna’s Nolan Foote wasted little time getting Kelowna on the board as he wired home a point-shot just 1:44 into the game on a power play to stake Kelowna to a 1-0 lead.
Then, just a minute and 10 seconds later, rookie Nic Draffin tipped home a point shot from Seth Bafaro past Rockets starter James Porter for his first ever WHL goal.
Davis Koch earned the second assist.
But wait… 18 seconds later the Rockets regained their lead when Mark Liwiski swatted home a Lassi Thomson rebound at 3:12.
Also in the first period, Vancouver’s Dallas Hines got the Giants tied 2-2 when he followed up a rush, took a Roman feed from the right-wing and wired home a shot from the left-wing circle.
Also before the first intermission, Nolan Foote potted his second goal of the period at 16:45 off a pass from Leif Mattson to give the Rockets their third lead of the period.
By the end of that first busy period, Vancouver led for shots on goal, 16-14.
One minute and 15 seconds into the second period, Giants’ Alex Kannok Leipert one-timed his third goal of the season through traffic and past James Porter from the left-wing point.
Roman earned the lone helper giving him two on the night at that point.
Back came the Rockets at 4:47 when Alex Swetlikoff pounced on a Ted Brennan rebound and tucked home his fourth of the season for Kelowna.
Then, G-Man Jadon Joseph evened the score at 4-4 at 12:24 off an odd-man rush.
Once again it was Roman assisting, along with Bowen Byram.
That spelled the end of the night for James Porter, who finished the night with 23 saves on 27 shots faced.
In came Roman Basran in relief.
On their only power play of the night, Vancouver Giants made the Rockets pay.
Roman buried his team-leading 16th power-play goal at 14:33 of a slick three-way passing play with Koch and Byram to give the Giants their first lead of the night.
When the dust settled at the end of the second, Kelowna outshot Vancouver, but not by much –16-15.
The Giants extended their lead by two goals at 9:58 of the final period when Koch stuffed home a Tristen Nielsen rebound from in close.
Joseph drew the second assist on Koch’s team-leading 25th goal.
With exactly one minute remaining in the third period, Vancouver’s Nielsen ended all hopes of a Kelowna comeback with an empty-net goal.
Dallas Hines and Joseph both drew assists.
Looking at the numbers in the third, Vancouver again outshot the Rockets, 11-9.
The Giants are back on the ice again Saturday night, in Kamloops to take on the Blazers.
BY THE NUMBERS
• Final score: Vancouver 7 – Kelowna 4
• Final shots: 42 – 39 Vancouver
• David Tendeck: 35/39 saves for Vancouver (21-10-1-1)
• James Porter: 23/27 saves for Kelowna
• Roman Basran: 12/14 saves for Kelowna (18-17-2-0)
• Vancouver: 1/1 on the Power Play
• Kelowna: 1/3 on the Power Play
• 3 Stars:1) Milos Roman (VAN – 1G, 3A); 2) Davis Koch (VAN – 1G, 2A); 3. Nolan Foote (KEL – 2G)
• The Giants are 19-2-0-2 in their past 23 games.
• The Giants are now 6-0-0-1 this season against Kelowna and are 2-0-0-1 against them at home.
• Friday’s four-point game marked the second time in Milos Roman’s WHL career that he’s notched four points in a single game. He previously accomplished that feat on Sept. 29, 2017 against Kamloops.
• The Giants have outshot their opponent in nine-straight games.
• The Giants remain two points shy of first place in the Western Conference. The Everett Silvertips were 2-1 winners in regulation on Friday night, giving them 88 points while the Giants currently have 86. The Giants hold one game in hand.
• Nic Draffin became the sixth Giant this season to record his first WHL goal. Others include: Justin Sourdif, Lukas Svejkovsky, Yannik Valenti, Parker Hendren. and Evan Patrician.
• The Giants are 14-0-0-2 against the B.C. division since Dec. 15.