An empty-net goal with 97 seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Tri-City Americans sent the Vancouver Giants into the holiday break with their sixth loss in the past seven games.
Samuel Ho put the Americans up 5-4 with a half period to play before Marc Lajoie extended the lead to 6-4 with Giants goalie Will Gurski pulled for the extra attacker. Vancouver’s Ethan Semeniuk would pull the home side within a goal with 50 seconds to play but the Giants could not convert on a goal-mouth scramble in the dying seconds to extend the game beyond regulation.
The teams were playing at home on Sunday afternoon at Langley Events Centre in Vancouver’s last game before they players disperse for the Western Hockey League holiday break.
Vancouver saw their record fall to 14-13-1-0 while the Americans improved to 9-13-4-0.
“There were blocks of that game where we had some good scoring chances, had speed, traded offensive opportunities. And then there were also momentum swings where we were stuck in our own zone, we were puck-watching and unable to get a stop,” summed up Giants associate coach Keith McCambridge.
“For us, it is the awareness of what is going on away from the puck.”
RECAP: The Vancouver Giants head into the break with a record of 14-13-1-0 after a 6-5 Sunday setback against the Tri-City Americans. The G-Men return to action on Monday, December 27th at home against Victoria.
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— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) December 20, 2021
Giants’ Adam Hall opened the scoring at 18:59 of the opening period but 23 seconds into the middle stanza, Tri-City’s Connor Bouchard tied the game and 41 seconds later, Lukas Dragicevic made it 2-1 for the visitors. Hall’s second of the game levelled the score at two and then Kaden Kohle converted a penalty shot to put the Giants ahead 3-2.
But Vancouver could not capitalize on the momentum of that goal with Petr Moravec tying the game 2:12 before intermission. And after Tyson Greenway gave Tri-City a 4-3 lead, Cole Shepard’s tally just under two minutes later would knot the score at four.
“The guys were excited on the bench; we thought we would be able to get momentum back on our side. To have that slip out of our grasp again is frustrating. But we like the push back we had trying to tie it in the end,” McCambridge said.
Vancouver outshot the Americans 34-29 with Tri-City goaltender Tomas Suchanek making 29 saves while Gurski made 24 in the Giants goal. Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play.
Vancouver is now off until December 27 when they host the Victoria Royals (7:00pm) in the first of three straight games against the Royals with the teams heading to Victoria to play on both December 29 and 30.
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