A week ago the Vancouver Giants were mired in a stretch of inconsistent play, including a troubling home-ice overtime defeat to the last-place team in the WHL’s Western Conference, which gave them three losses in four games.
Seven days later and the Giants have posted back-to-back impressive victories – the third time they accomplished the feat in 18 games.
On Saturday night, Vancouver erased a 3-1 first-period deficit to defeat the Tri-City Americans 6-3 in Kennewick, Wash. and they followed that up with a 5-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers less than 24 hours at Langley Events Centre (LEC).
Vancouver improved to 9-8-1-0 while the Tigers lost for just the fifth time in regulation (10-5-1-0) in 16 games.
Giants head coach Michael Dyck called the weekend victories a big win.
“Our team two weeks ago would have found a way to not come back but we did and took a lot of momentum into today,” Dyck said.
In Saturday’s rally, Trent Miner replaced David Tendeck at the first intermission and stopped all 17 American shots over final 40 minutes. Miner carried over that stellar play to Sunday, finishing with 33 saves.
Thirty-three saves from Miner and a balanced scoring attack which saw five players find the back of the net helped the Vancouver Giants to an impressive 5-2 victory over the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.
Thirty of those stops were after the first period as the Tigers posted 16 shots apiece in each of the final two frames.
“Number one, a lot of credit goes to our goal tending … when were bending there in the second period and the opportunities in the third, he held us in,” Dyck added.
With Miner shutting the door, the Giants used a balanced attack as five players scored once apiece.
Tristen Nielsen had opened the scoring for Vancouver in the first period with his team-leading ninth goal. The lead lasted until early in the second when Nick McCarry placed a perfect shot past Miner on a power play.
Zack Ostapchuk gave the Giants the lead for good, winning an offensive zone face-off back to Lukas Svejkovsky and then deflecting the shot home with 3:15 to play in the second.
Dylan Plouffe (coming off a two-goal performance the night before) made it 3-1 early in the third as he picked the top corner to score his fourth goal in the past five games.
That would turn out to be the winner as Trevor Longo cut the deficit back to one with 4:43 to play, scoring Medicine Hat’s second power-play goal as his shot from the face-off circle beat Miner high to the glove side.
Svejkovsky and Milos Roman added empty-net goals in the final 1:42 to round out the scoring. Both Svejkovsky and Roman finished with a goal and an assist apiece.
The Giants now set their sights on a tough weekend home-and-home series with the Portland Winterhawks as the teams play at LEC on Friday night before both head south for the rematch 24 hours later in the Rose City.
Portland has already defeated Vancouver once this season and the Winterhawks sit second in the Western Conference at 10-4-0-1.
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