For all but a few seconds on Friday night, goaltender Jesper Vikman was superb, turning aside countless scoring chances as the Kamloops Blazers peppered the Vancouver Giants goaltender with 40 shots on the night.
The Swedish import goaltender was more than up for the challenge, stymieing the Blazersat every turn. The only goal to beat him was a shot from just inside the blue-line as Kamloops’ Ethan Brandwood skated into the Giants zone and threw the puck on net, which Vikman attempted to block to the corner. Instead, the puck went up and over the goaltender and into the net, cutting the Vancouver lead to 2-1.
“That goal, you would love to have that one back,” admitted Vancouver coach Michael Dyck. “(Jesper) battled for us all night. It was a moment we could dig in for him.”
“If Jesper is not in the net, we don’t win that hockey game,” stated Giants captain Justin Sourdif. “He was the best player out there tonight.”
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With Kamloops looking for the equalizer, the Giants were sound defensively, limiting the Blazers looks in their offensive forays and after Fabian Lysell’s long-distance sailed wide of the empty net with 32 seconds to play, Payton Mount was able to win the race for the loose puck, negating the icing call, and scored to salt the 3-1 victory.
RECAP: The G-Men continued their winning ways with a 3-1 victory at home Friday night against the B.C. Division leading Kamloops Blazers. The winning streak is now at five straight for the Giants who head to Everett tomorrow.— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) December 4, 2021
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“I personally think that was our biggest win of the year. Those guys are our rivals and we have wanted to knock them off all year and we finally got it done tonight,” Sourdif said.
The Western Hockey League game was played on Friday night at Langley Events Centre and extended the Giants winning streak to five games as they returned home with a perfect 4-0 record on their most recent road trip. It was also Vancouver’s first win in five tries against a Kamloops squad which had outscored them 20-6 in those previous four contests.
“It was big (beating Kamloops). Obviously we have taken it on the chin from them a few times,” Dyck said. “The biggest thing was our start tonight and scoring that first goal got us off that launching period.”
The Giants are right back at it Saturday night as they head back across the border with a trip to Everett to face a Silvertips squad currently ranked third in the CHL rankings.
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