Vancouver Giants opened their season with a 4-1 win over Victoria Friday night, Sept. 22, on home ice before 3,700 fans at Langley Events Centre.
Tyler Thorpe, Adam Titlbach, Cameron Schmidt and Colton Langkow each found the back of the net while goaltender Brett Mirwald had 24 saves on 25 shots.
There was no score after the opening 20 minutes, despite the Giants getting a five-minute power play.
In the second period, Giants started the middle frame down two men for 1:37, but killed it off, which led to a pair of goals within 28 seconds.
Thorpe had the first Giants goal of the season, after he got a pass from Kyren Gronick and knocked in the puck on the second attempt.
Just 28 seconds later, Titlbach broke free and clear behind the defence, but was slashed and awarded a penalty shot.
Although the Giants power play couldn’t convert in the early going, Schmidt scored on the man advantage midway through the second to increase Vancouver’s lead to 3-0.
Carson Haynes, Gronick and Langkow connected midway through the third period to put the game out of reach.
Victoria’s lone goal of the night came with just 40 seconds left, after Deegan Kinniburgh spoiled Mirwald’s shutout.
Head Coach Manny Viveiros said there was “a little bit of nervousness on both teams for sure, but I thought we settled in and once we could concentrate on what we could do to win the game, I thought we played really well.”
Viveiros said the time when it was 5-on-3 against turned out to be the turning point.
“We took a couple penalties that we didn’t need to take at the end [of the first], but our goaltender was outstanding during that time and our penalty kill did a great job. That gave us momentum and we carried on from that right after that.”
All three stars of the game were Giants: Adam Titlbach, Brett Mirwald and Colton Langkow.
Giants were missing three players due to NHL training camps: Samuel Honzek, Jaden Lipinski and Mazden Leslie, and three Royals were also away at camp.
Next, Giants will travel to Kamloops on Friday, Sept. 29 for their first road game of the season, at 7 p.m. at the Sandman Centre. Then, on Sunday, Oct. 1 they will welcome the Wenatchee Wild to Langley. Puck drops at 4 p.m.