Offensive explosion helps Giants tame Hurricanes

Vancouver scores season-high seven goals in victory over visiting Lethbridge at Langley Events Centre



Gary Ahuja

Black Press

Before the season started, Brennan Menell demanded a trade from the Vancouver Giants.

The Giants obliged, shipping the disgruntled offensive defenceman to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in exchange for rugged blue-liner Darian Skeoch, who would make it tougher for the opposition in the Vancouver end.

But on Saturday night, Skeoch made it tough on his former team in their own end, scoring once, setting up another and finishing a +4.

More importantly, the Giants scored a season high in goals with a 7-3 victory over the Hurricanes in Western Hockey League action at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.

The Giants improved to 8-11-0-0 while Lethbridge fell to 7-8-1-2.

“A win is a win but against the old team you always want to play good and show them your worth and that kind of thing. (But) it felt good for sure,” a smiling Skeoch said after the game.

Skeoch was named the game’s first star.

The game was a good bounce back effort by the Giants after allowing two late goals in a 6-4 loss the night

“Our resolve has been good coming back after a loss, we have been pretty good the next night,” said Giants coach Jason McKee.

“The guys turned the page.”

The biggest difference was the team got an involved effort up and down the roster — for the second straight victory all four lines had at least one goal — their attention to detail was much better and they played as a group.

“Honestly, everyone just stuck to what worked — structure, work ethic, everything was going tonight,” Skeoch said.

After each team scored once in the opening 20 minutes, Vancouver forged ahead with three second-period goals, including a pair in the final five minutes to break a 2-2 tie.

After Dylan Plouffe made a slick move to the net but was denied, Radovan Bondra picked up the loose puck and wired home a shot short-side from the far boards for the 3-2 lead.

And 3:45 later — on a delayed penalty to Lethbridge — Plouffe picked up his second assist of the night as his shot from the slot missed the net, but the puck caromed off the end boards with Ty Ronning burying the shot for a 4-2 lead.

It was the Giants second goal off a fortuitous bounce off the end boards as Jack Flaman took advantage off a missed Dmitry Osipov shot in the first period to score into the yawning cage with the goalie out of position.

Lethbridge had opened the scoring 14:06 into the game. On the play, neither Vancouver defender pressured Egor Babenko behind the Giants goal. With time to make a play, he fed Giorgio Estephan in the slot and Estephan put the puck through David Tendeck’s legs.

Vancouver took the lead for the first time 6:32 into the second period.

After Tyler Benson won the face-off, James Malm got a shot on goal with Benson burying the rebound high on the blocker side. The goal came on the power play.

The Hurricanes would answer back five minutes later, also on the power play, as Brayden Burke’s pass across the ice hit a Giants defender and went in.

Any chances of a Lethbridge comeback were quickly ended as Vancouver scored twice on their first three shots of the third period.

Skeoch’s shot from the slot was saved but the rebound was kicked out to Ronning and the winger had his second of the game.

Less than two minutes later, while on the power play, Malm fed a wide-open Bondra at the side of the net and the winger buried his second and team-leading 11th of the season.

Menell would get one back with a power-play goal for Lethbridge midway through the third but less than two minutes later, Skeoch’s point shot found the back of the net.

David Tendeck earned his first win of the season, finisihng with 19 saves as the Giants outshot the Hurricanes 32-22.

Each power play scored twice.

Skeoch, Ronning and Bondra were named the game’s three stars.

The Giants are back in action on Nov. 10 when they host the Prince George Cougars at the LEC.

 

 

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