Make the most of your opportunities – that is the message head coach Michael Dyck said his team needs to adhere to.
Vancouver Giants struggled to generate offence on Sunday afternoon, which resulted in the team finishing on the wrong end of a 3-1 score to the visiting Victoria Royals at Langley Events Centre in Western Hockey League action.
Victoria’s Mitch Prowse and Sean Gulka staked the visitors to a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes and that was more than enough offence as the Giants generated just 13 shots on goal through 40 minutes.
“We bury our opportunities, we hit the net… maybe it is a different hockey game,” said Dyck post-game.
“We had some great opportunities – hit a cross bar, point blank we miss the net – we have to bury those,” the coach added.
“We don’t have the depth and the scoring we had last year. The opportunities that we get, we have to make the most of.”
The team did get more pucks through on goaltender Brock Gould in the final period with 14 shots on goal. Captain Alex Kannok Leipert broke Gould’s shutout bid with 88 seconds to play, pouncing on a loose puck in the crease during a goal-mouth scramble. It came with goaltender David Tendeck on the bench for the extra attacker. With Tendeck still on the bench, Tarun Fizer capped off the scoring with 24 seconds to play.
And speaking of playing a man-up, the Giants continue struggle on the power play as they were blanked on all four of their chances in the game, including a pair of opportunities in the final 10:30 of the game, although Dylan Plouffe did ring one off the bar.
Through the season’s first 14 games, the Giants power play has been good on just eight of 53 chances, a 15.1 per cent success rate which ranks them third-last among the 22 WHL teams. The only teams worse than Vancouver have a combined four victories in 22 games.
Dyck said his options are limited on changing the unit was has gone five games without a power-play goal because of the team’s depth issues.
“You can change it but I think it comes down to guys executing. The guys that we have on the power play, we play a lot at five-on-five and they kill penalties. They are exhausted,” he said. “We don’t have the depth, we don’t have anyone else to put in in those situations so we have to rely on those guys and towards the end of the hockey game, they are exhausted.”
Vancouver sits at .500 with a 7-7-0-0 mark following the defeat. Victoria is also even on the season at 4-4-1-0. The Giants have spent the bulk of the first five weeks of the season on the road and Sunday marked the first time the team played consecutive games at home.
Factoring in a two-week trek through Manitoba and Saskatchewan at the start of this month and the Giants have had barely any practice time.
The Giants are halfway through four straight home games and play seven of their next 10 at Langley Events Centre.
The next of those contests comes Friday night when they welcome the Everett Silvertips to LEC. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.