Vancouver Giants Alex Kannok Leipert and Edmonton Oil Kings’ Trey-Fix Wolanski collide during WHL action at the Langley Events Centre on Nov. 12. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Giants hold on for wild victory

Coach, players search for answers after Vancouver nearly blows seven-goal lead over final nine minutes at Langley Events Centre

They should have been basking in the glow of another victory, their third in four games, which pulled them to the .500 mark on the season.

Instead, the Vancouver Giants — who hung on for a wild 8-7 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oil Kings — were left wondering what had just happened.

For 40 minutes on Sunday at the Langley Events Centre, the Giants seemingly could do no wrong, racing out to an 8-1 lead heading into the third period. The eight goals were the most the team had scored in more than three years (a 9-1 win over Prince George on Oct. 18, 2014) and came on the heels of an impressive 4-1 win the night before on home ice against the Western Hockey League’s top team, the Victoria Royals.

The Oil Kings, on the other hand, had just five wins in 18 games, and were at the bottom of the WHL standings.

But Edmonton scored six goals in the third — Davis Koch made it 8-2 at 11:07 and Colton Kehler pulled the Oil Kings within one with six seconds to play — before seeing their improbable comeback bid come short.

The good news is the Giants won and improved to 8-8-2-2.

This was Vancouver’s third game in as many days and they now have points in four straight (3-0-1-0) after a 5-4 overtime road loss in Kelowna to the Rockets to begin the weekend.

“I don’t have the answer as to why we had the meltdown, but it was definitely a meltdown,” said Giants coach Jason McKee. “We shot ourselves in the foot and were lucky to escape.”

“I am surprised — I thought our group had taken big strides in understanding how to play with a lead.”

Vancouver raced out to a 3-0 lead as James Malm, Brendan Semchuk and Ty Ronning each scored in the first 13:08. The latter two goals were on the power play while Malm’s tally came shortly after an Edmonton penalty expired.

This also spelled the end of the night for Oil Kings goalie — and Langley native — Boston Bilous.

Edmonton’s Ty Gerla got the visitors on the board before intermission but the Giants seemingly put the game out of reach with five goals in the middle stanza.

Milos Roman and Matt Barberis scored power play goals two minutes apart — the latter on a two-man advantage — before Malm scored two more and Tyler Popowich added one.

Malm also had two assists for his first career WHL hat trick and a five-point game.

Koch scored twice while Tomas Soustal, David Kope and Trey Fix-Wolansky had one apiece during the Oil Kings’ late barrage. Two of the six goals came with the man advantage and a third was with goaltender Travis Child on the bench for an extra attacker.

Edmonton also had 19 shots on goal, after a total of just 17 through 40 minutes.

“We showed our immaturity tonight,” McKee said. “And full credit to (Edmonton), we knew they were coming.

“We just backed in, backed in and left our goalie (Todd Scott) out to dry.”

McKee described his post-game address to the team as “short and sweet” and said it would stay between him and the team.

The third period was marred by no offensive-zone time, no back-check and no one willing to get in shooting lanes, he said.

The players were also searching for answers as to what had transpired.

“I am speechless about what happened,” said captain Tyler Benson, the second star after a three-assist performance.

“Still in shock, not really sure what happened, But we scored enough and got the win.”

“I don’t think I have ever played with a lead that big in this league,” added Malm, the game’s first star. “It is a different feeling but you have to realize that every player in this league is a good player and they can score.”

One positive the team can take is the play of their power play which went 4-for-6, albeit against the worst penalty kill in the WHL.

“The emphasis has been on keeping it simple and not always trying to look for the prettiest play out there,” Malm said. “And it seems to be working for us.”

Vancouver will look for a third straight victory when they host the Red Deer Rebels on Nov. 15 at the LEC. Game time is 7 p.m.


sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Vancouver GiantsWHL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Vancouver Giants’ James Malm pots the first of his three goals against the Edmonton Oil Kings during WHL action at the Langley Events Centre on Nov. 12. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Vancouver Giants’ Milos Roman during WHL action against Edmonton Oil Kings during WHL action at the Langley Events Centre on Nov. 12. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

Machine pistol among 14 firearms seized from Alaska man at Abbotsford border crossing

Corey Scott Kettering faces charges of smuggling and prohibited firearm possession

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Mission asks public for feedback on proposed Tree Management Bylaw

Currently, tree removal and cutting can take place without a permit

UFV to launch Peace and Reconciliation Centre in Abbotsford

Online event on Sept. 24 features keynote speaker Bob Rae and Steven Point

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in Mission RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving RCMP holding cell, police say; family has doubts

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Altercation with gunfire in Lower Mainland lands two in hospital

Quiet area of Langley was awoken at 5 a.m. Friday morning to a fight involving gun shots

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

Report raises questions about COVID outbreak that killed 25 seniors at Langley Lodge

CEO defends leaked document that’s igniting queries about BC’s most deadly COVID outbreak

PHOTO: RCMP escort beaver across busy Chilliwack road

Motorists had to exercise patience as the slow-moving creature crossed several lanes of traffic

Most Read