Giants toppled by Kelowna Rockets in wild one at Langley Events Centre

Vancouver and Kelowna traded goals, scoring chances, and hits and in the end, the visitors pulled out the victory.

Vancouver Giants Owen Hardy and Kelowna Rockets Braydyn Chizen battled for the puck during the third period of Friday's WHL game at the Langley Events Centre. The Rockets beat the Giants 6-4.

by Troy Landreville

Black Press

Things got weird Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.

During a Western Hockey League game that featured all that’s great about major junior – end-to-end action, tons of speed, skill, and toughness – one play, one moment, had the barn buzzing.

It was a routine slapshot, taken from so far away it might as well have been from another time zone.

More on that near record-setting play later.

When the dust finally settled, the Kelowna Rockets defeated the host Vancouver Giants 6-4 in front of 4,286 fans inside an electric LEC.

“I feel like at times we could have been better, but I feel like the guys worked pretty hard,” said Giants 19-year-old forward Alec Baer, who scored his first two goals of the season in a losing cause. “Our work ethic was there for at least two periods but we should be better for the full 60.”

The Giants opened the scoring when a cross ice pass from James Malm trickled through to Baer. Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer sprawled on his stomach in a desperate attempt to poke check the puck away, but missed, leaving a wide open net for Baer to shoot into for his first of the campaign.

Kelowna tied the game at a goal apiece midway through the first period when a rebound spun tantalizingly to the slot for Calvin Thurkauf to backhand chip into the net.

The Rockets then moved ahead 2-1 when Nick Merkley turned off the side boards and fired a shot that beat Giants netminder Ryan Kubic.

The Giants equalized with 2:45 to go in the opening frame when Malm dished a perfect feed from behind the net to defenceman  Darian Skeoch, by the left faceoff circle.

Skeoch, who snuck in deep, made no mistake as he fired a one-timer past Herringer.

After a series of Giants power play opportunities in the second period (including a two-man advantage),  Kelowna forward Tomas Soustal dipsy-doodled past a Giants defenceman with a slick toe-drag and backhanded the puck past Kubic for his team-leading seventh of the season.

Then, came the most shocking goal of the season – unfortunately for the Giants, it was scored by the opposing team.

Right after his goal, Soustal drew the puck back to defenceman Braydyn Chizen on a faceoff win at centre ice. Chizen drifted a shot from his own blueline that was misplayed by Kubic, who deflected the puck into his net with the inside of his goal-stick.

It took all of three seconds for the goal to be scored – one tick off the WHL record of two seconds.

And both Soustal’s and Chizen’s goals came while their team was shorthanded.

Baer gave the Giants some life 1:31 after Chizen’s shocker, to narrow the deficit to 4-3 after 40 minutes of play.

He brought the Giants to within a goal when he gained the blueline before snapping a perfect wrist shot just inside the blueline past Herringer, low on the glove side.

Vancouver clawed back to make it 4-4 at thbe 8:42 mark of the third period when Johnny Wesley swiped a bad angle shot into a fallen Herringer. The puck found its way over the goal line for the tying marker.

The Giants looked like they had scored the go-ahead goal with 13 minutes to go in regulation but the goal was nullified due to incidental contact with the Herringer.

The backbreaker came with 3:10 to go in the final frame when the Rockets’ Kole Lind was left all alone in front and after taking a pass from behind the net, banged in his own rebound to restore the lead.

The G-Men’s hope of scoring the equalizer was dashed by a high sticking penalty on Radovan Bondra with 1:53 to play.

Then, just second after Giants’ Jack Flaman had a chance to score the tying goal after he was sent in all alone, the Rockets Nick Merkley stole the puck behind the net and stuffed it into the cage with Kubic pulled for an extra attacker.

“Definitely a winnable game,” Baer said. “We’ve just got to forget about it now and look forward to tomorrow [when the Giants host the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the LEC].”

As for his own play, Baer said his first two markers of the season were a long time coming,

“It took too long to do that but I’m glad to get the first one over with so hopefully the floodgates will open,” he said.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey’s former Flamingo Hotel goes out with a bang

The Flamingo opened in July 1955 as a motor hotel with 20 rooms

Rocky Mountain high: Surrey’s Burzan picked in NHL draft by Colorado Avalanche

Guildford-raised forward currently in WHL with Brandon Wheat Kings

Queen Elizabeth students hit $100K in donations to Surrey Hospital Foundation

Secondary students have been raising funds for a decade through the Roots & Rhythms event

City hopes Surrey’s new energy centre will be ‘a window’ into sustainability

Facility’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Special series: How growth is affecting students, parents and school staff alike – and what the future holds

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read