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VIDEO: Vancouver Giants teddy bear toss a loss to Victoria

Fans covered the ice at Langley Events Centre

Vancouver Giants forward Fabian Lysell opened the scoring at 11:05 and while the first goal is always important, it served an extra purpose on Friday night as the Swedish winger’s tally allowed the Langley Events Centre crowd rain teddy bears down on the ice as part of the annual Chevrolet Teddy Bear Toss game.

The goal was one of two Lysell scored on the night but in the end, it was the visiting Victoria Royals taking home the 4-3 victory as Gannon Laroque scored with just over two minutes remaining to snap a tie game. The win was Victoria’s sixth in the past eight games as they are now riding a eight-game point streak (6-0-2-0) improving to 7-11-3-0 on the Western Hockey League season. The Giants had won six straight games but have now dropped two in a row with the loss to the Royals.

Despite not being able to salvage a point, associate coach Keith McCambridge liked his team’s game.

“I thought we created a lot of Grade A opportunities, I liked the pressure we put on Victoria, but they are a team that as of late does a really good job of staying in the game and hanging around and when a breakdown happens, they are able to capitalize on it,” he said.

READ ALSO: During active draft week, Giants fall to division leading Blazers

After Lysell opened the scoring and once the stuffed animals were cleared from the ice, the Royals power play struck for the equalizer just over three minutes later with Brayden Schuurman knotting the score at one.

The second period saw Bailey Peach give the visitors a 2-1 lead at the 6:21 mark before Lysell and Mazden Leslie scored 15 seconds apart to put the Giants ahead 3-2. The lead was short-lived, however, as Keanu Derungs capitalized on another Victoria power play to send the teams to the locker room tied at three.

The Giants lost despite a 40-25 advantage in shots on goal as Royals’ goaltender Campbell Arnold finished with 37 saves.

“I thought their goaltender was really strong tonight. I thought he made some well-timed saves that he didn’t see coming through with a lot of traffic in front of him,” McCambridge said.

The stuffed animals collected during Friday’s game will be donated to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

Next up for the Giants is a trip to Victoria on Saturday, Dec. 11 as the teams complete the home- and-home series. Vancouver then hits the road for a pair of mid-week games in Prince George on Dec 14 and 15 before the Cougars travel to Langley to face the Giants on December 18 at Langley Events Centre.

Vancouver also hosts the Tri-City Americans on Dec. 19 in the team’s first Sunday matinee of the season.

It will also be their final game before the holiday break.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Giants Fabian Lysell and Jesper Vikman to play for Sweden

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