Playoff position slipping away

Vancouver Giants 10 points from eighth place in Western Conference

Vancouver Giants goaltender Jake Morrissey made 32 saves in a 4-3 shootout win over the Kamloops Blazers.

The Vancouver Giants were very close to winning all three games last weekend.

But even if the Western Hockey League team had done so, it probably wouldn’t be of much help in their pursuit of a Western Hockey League (WHL)playoff position.

The Giants lost 6-5 to the Kelowna Rockets Friday night in the Okanagan city, then won twice at home – 4-2 over the Rockets Saturday night and 4-3 in a shootout Sunday afternoon over the Kamloops Blazers.

But it appears winning the majority of their remaining games won’t be enough to qualify for the playoffs. The Giants earned four of six points yet gained little ground on the competition, and are still 10 points out of a playoff position with just 11 games to play.

Among the teams the Giants are chasing are the Blazers, the eighth-place team in the Western Conference. By taking Sunday’s game at the Pacific Coliseum to a tiebreaker, Kamloops allowed the Giants to make up just one point in the standings.

Vancouver scored the first three goals of the game, with Trevor Cox, Chase Land and Radovan Bondra finding the net for the home team, which led 3-0 three minutes into the second period.

The Blazers scored twice in 32 seconds to cut the difference to 3-2 after 40 minutes, then scored a tying goal with 13 minutes to play in regulation time.

After a scoreless overtime, Cox was the only one of six players to score in a shootout.

Netminder Jake Morrisey got the win in the Giants net, stopping 32 of 35 shots over 65 minutes of play.

The Giants also won their home game Saturday night, scoring three third-period goals to upset the Rockets.

Lang gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead after one period, but the teams went into the third frame tied 1-1. Thomas Foster scored a go-ahead goal for the Giants in the first minute of the third period, Cox scored the winning goal five minutes later, then Carter Popoff made it 4-1 with 13 minutes left to play.

Ty Ronning assisted on three goals, while Cox was credited with one helper, the 200th in the Surrey native’s WHL career.

While the Rockets couldn’t erase the three-goal deficit in Vancouver Saturday, they did just that Friday in Kelowna.

Lang scored three times on the powerplay in the first period, and Cox added a goal in the second for a 4-1 Giants lead.

The Rockets cut the difference to 4-3 after two periods, but Foster tallied with the man advantage early in the third period to put Vancouver up 5-3.

The Rockets then scored three unanswered goals for the win.

After a game last night (After Black Press deadlines) in Seattle against the Thunderbirds, the Giants will play at home to the Rockets Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Pacific Coliseum, then visit the Blazers in Kamloops Saturday evening.

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