Vancouver's Johnny Wesley and Prince George's Shane Collins battle for position in front of the Cougars net during Tuesday night's WHL game at the Langley Events Centre.

Vancouver's Johnny Wesley and Prince George's Shane Collins battle for position in front of the Cougars net during Tuesday night's WHL game at the Langley Events Centre.

Giants keep digging early holes

Third straight team Vancouver fails to have strong first period

Gary Ahuja

Black Press

The offence found life but the defence remains a work in progress after the Prince George Cougars edged the Vancouver Giants 7-6 on Tuesday night.

The Giants looked dead and buried after surrendering three goals in the first dozen minutes of Tuesday night’s Western Hockey League contest against the Cougars at the Langley Events Centre.

By comparison, the Giants had yet to register a shot.

“It is on us for putting ourselves in that spot. But give the kids credit, they stayed with it, they regrouped and got better as the game went on,” said Giants head coach Jason McKee.

“But we have to learn here that it is three games in a row now where we have started with less than two or three shots in each game.”

Vancouver rallied from a 4-1 first period deficit to tie the game with three goals in 5:09 in the middle portion of the second period.

Dawson Holt won a face-off to Dylan Plouffe and the defenceman’s wrist shot found the back of the net.

Brendan Semchuck then scored on the power play, coming off the half wall and firing the puck glove side.

The fourth goal came after James Malm burst in down the wing with speed, and while his wrap-around was stopped, Taden Rattie poked home the loose puck.

The team’s first goal — and first shot of the game — was a point shot from Alex Kannok-Leipert which found the back of the net.

Prince George would retake the lead with less than a minute go before intermission and the Giants thought they had tied it with six seconds to play, only to have the referee — after a video review — call it no goal.

“They called it no goal on the ice and it had something to do with when the whistle went on the ice. If that’s the case, I guess it is non-reviewable. Tough break for us, I thought it was a good goal for us,” McKee said.

“Things aren’t coming easy for us right now.”

The Cougars would make it 6-4 early in the third on a power-play goal, but the Giants showed some resolve as Darian Skeoch banked a puck in off Jack Flaman’s skate — the forward now has three goals in three games — and less than two minutes later, Radovan Bondra shot hit Ty Edmonds glove and fell into the net, sending the 2,898 fans into a frenzy.

But a turnover behind the Vancouver goal saw Dawson Holt taken down, with Colby McAuley firing the puck into the slot for Jared Bethune to bury for this third goal of the game. The goal came with 4:17 to play and the Giants had no answer.

McKee said the team can’t keep digging itself holes at the start of hockey games.

“We were standing around in the first waiting for someone else to come in and do it for us. Eventually we figured out that we need to do it together and just take care of your own part. Once we started to play, we were fine,” he said.

The team especially needs to clean up its play in its own zone.

“Our own end is an area where we have to get better. We just need to make better decisions with the puck in the danger areas which means we spend less time there,” he said.

In addition to netting a season high in goals — Vancouver had scored four goals in the first 120 minutes — McKee liked the play of Skeoch, who suited up for the first time after returning from Anaheim Ducks camp.

The defenceman finished with one assist and was a plus-2.

“He just settles things down and makes the right decisions back there,” McKee said, adding that as more veterans return from their respective NHL camps, that will help the team.

“A lot of the younger guys just needed to calm down a bit,” Skeoch said, adding that once they followed the structure of the game plan, the entire team’s play improved.

“I always try to keep it simple and lead by example so hopefully I can do that.”

Vancouver went 1-for-6 on the power play while Prince George was 1-for-3.

The Giants are back in action on Friday when they host the Kamloops Blazers at the LEC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Just Posted

It remains to be seen how tourism dollars announced this week will help in White Rock. (Sterling Cunningham file photo)
White Rock officials question if tourism relief will come soon enough

For business, budget ‘feels more like a placeholder,’ says chamber head

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
South Surrey, White Rock MLAs call Tuesday’s provincial budget ‘disappointing’

MLAs Stephanie Cadieux and Trevor Halford say residents are getting less for more

Memorial for Travis Selje on 64th Avenue in Cloverdale, west of 176th Street. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Epilepsy-defence driver found not guilty in crash that killed Surrey teen Travis Selje

Accused testified she has no recollection of the crash and believes she had an epileptic seizure that caused the collision

(File photo)
Three young girls followed while walking home from school, Surrey police say

RCMP say suspect took off after girls went into nearby store for help

Black smoke rises above Highway 17 in Surrey on Thursday. (Fraser Valley Road Report Facebook)
Fire sends thick black smoke above Surrey industrial area

Firefighters say blaze burning just off of Tannery Road and Highway 17 in Surrey

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Firefighters carry equipment from the scene of Monday’s Willoughby fire. The April 19, 2021 blaze turned the Alexander Square development at the corner of 208th Street and 80th Avenue to rubble. (Rob Wilton/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley Fire: The aftermath of the inferno

The scene remains active as investigators work to determine a cause

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read