Vancouver Giants escaped unscathed from a lacklustre effort the first night but plagued by another poor performance the next day, the team was not as fortunate.
The visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes skated away with a relatively easy 6-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre in Western Hockey League action.
The Hurricanes put the game away in the middle stanza, scoring three times before adding another trio of goals in the final frame.
“We know this was a strong big team that we had to outwork but we didn’t win most of our battles tonight and all around we were a little soft out there. The score shows,” said Giants captain Alex Kannok Leipert.
“We have to remember this feeling because it sucks. Losing at home, getting doubled up on shots like that, we definitely have to realize it is going to take every guy every single night or else teams will just walk all over us. We have to be better.”
Vancouver was outshot 40-17 and the Giants did not draw a single power-play opportunity while the Hurricanes had six man-advantage chances, cashing in once.
It was the second straight game with a large discrepancy in power-play time as on Saturday, Vancouver had the man advantage for a grand total of 43 seconds compared to Prince George’s 12:28 of power play time.
Despite the win on Saturday, the coaches and players knew their effort was not enough if the team hopes to contend in the WHL and over the past season and a half, have consistently shown an ability to bounce back from sub-par performances.
That was not the case on Sunday.
“We expected what we saw from (Lethbridge). They are a better team on paper than we are… I don’t know if they are six goals better, but that is what we expected (from them),” said head coach Michael Dyck.
“We had glimpses of momentum, but they are bigger, they are stronger and we got pushed to the outside.”
Goals 1:50 apart early in the second from Zack Stringer and Jett Jones were all the offence the Hurricanes needed on the night. At the midway point of the game, the shots were 19-6 for Lethbridge and five minutes later, Dino Kambeitz made it 3-0.
“We didn’t stop the bleeding fast enough. We needed a few bounce back shifts but we didn’t get the puck deep, we didn’t forecheck, we didn’t get into our game. They kind of ran our show today,” Kannok Leipert said.
Oliver Okuliar, Logan Barlage (on the power play) and Noah Boyko (in the final minute) rounded out the scoring.
Trent Miner, the reigning WHL goaltender of the week, surrendered five goals on 40 shots while Carl Tetachuk stopped all 17 shots for his second shutout of the season.
“I think our lack of depth got revealed tonight. Not only were their best players really good tonight, their depth came through,” Dyck said.
By comparison, Vancouver had just two good scoring opportunities among their 17 shots.
The loss was the Giants first regulation defeat in seven games as they had gone 4-0-1-1 in their previous six games. Overall, Vancouver now sports a record of 11-9-1-1 while Lethbridge improved to 14-6-0-3.
Up next for Vancouver is a visit to Portland on Wednesday as they play the Winterhawks for the third time in the past five games. The teams split a home-and-home series earlier this month with Vancouver winning 3-1 before Portland prevailed 2-1 in a shootout.
“We have to realize it has to take the same effort every night to be a good team in this league. We are definitely going to learn from this because we have to bounce back. If we do this against Portland, they will do the same thing,” Kannok Leipert said.
Following the midweek game in Portland, the Giants return to Langley Events Centre when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday (November 23). Also happening on the weekend will be the Western Canada Collectibles Experience at Langley Events Centre. The show runs Nov. 22 to 24 and anyone with a ticket to the Oil Kings game will gain free admission to the WCCE on both the Friday and Saturday.
The Friday night (4 to 8 p.m.) will feature the entire Vancouver Giants team signing autographs while on Saturday (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) former NHL players Ray Bourque and Doug Gilmour and former NBA player Jack Sikma will be on hand. Sunday’s WCCE line-up (10 a.m. to 2 p.m) features former NHLers Grant Fuhr and Rogie Vachon.
For more on the WCCE, please visit www.westerncanadacollectiblesexperience.ca.
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