For the sixth time in nine overtime games this season, it was the Giants earning the extra point.
This time it was a deflection off the stick of Ty Ronning which sent the Giants to victory on Tuesday night in Western Hockey League action at the Langley Events Centre.
The Giants defeated the U.S. Division-leading Everett Silvertips 5-4 in front of 4,317 fans at the Langley Events Centre, the team’s third-largest crowd of the season, and by far the biggest for a weekday game.
The win, the team’s third straight, improved Vancouver to 14-18-1-2 while the ‘Tips fell to 24-4-6-0.
The Giants .833 overtime winning percentage is tied for fourth in the WHL.
It didn’t take long for Vancouver to win Tuesday’s game and it helped matters that Everett never touched the puck.
Tyler Benson won the face-off and after the Giants regrouped in their own zone, the trio of Ronning, Benson and Matt Barberis controlled the puck with Ronning deflecting a high shot from Barberis past Everett goaltender Mario Petit.
The referees did review the play to see if it was a high stick but it was deemed a good goal.
“I don’t think we do anything different than anyone else, but you win the first face-off, that is huge,” said Giants coach Jason McKee.
“We have done a good job of that and get possession early We have found ways to get some wins in different ways.
“It can go the other way pretty quickly too. You just never know in 3-on-3 but fortunately enough for us, we will take it.”
The Silvertips had opened the scoring just over our minutes in as Eetu Tuulola pounced on an errant Giants pass from the corner and into the slot and wired home the game’s first goal.
Vancouver took control with three goals in 2:11 in the middle portion of the period.
On a Giants power play and with his back to the action, Thomas Foster delivered a perfect no-look pass from the edge of the Silvertips crease across the ice to Alec Baer and the winger going down on one knee to bury his third of the season, scoring on the power play.
That goal was still being announced 14 seconds later when James Malm delivered a great cross-ice feed to a streaking Brendan Semchuk with the winger scoring his fifth of the season.
Malm and Baer then combined to set up Owen Hardy as Petit stopped Baer’s shot but he let out a juicy rebound off his pad which Hardy buried for his second of the season.
Vancouver led 3-1 after one period but Everett quickly made it a one-goal game in the opening minute of the second period with Dominic Zwerger skated into the Vancouver zone and beating Ryan Kubic with a shot high to the glove side in the opening minute of the second period.
Vancouver would squander a great opportunity on a full two-minute two-man advantage and shortly after — following Everett coach Kevin Constantine getting a game misconduct (on his birthday, in fact) — the ‘Tips would tie the score at three on their own two-man advantage with Zwerger’s shot from the point beating Kubic off a won face-off.
Two minutes later, Everett took the lead at 4-3 as Brett Kemp stripped the puck from Giants defenceman Matt Barberis at the Vancouver goal-line and fed Connor Dewar in front for the go-ahead goal.
Vancouver would pull back on even terms before the period let out with Malm winning a puck battle behind the Everett net, walking out front and beating Petit short-side to make it 4-4 after 40 minutes. The goal was Malm’s ninth of the season.
“We were under siege a little bit at times … but you have to expect that from a very good hockey team,” McKee said. “We held in there and did our part and it was nice to get two points.”
It was the Giants first win in four tries against the Silvertips.
The coach liked his team’s resolve, especially after they got into penalty trouble, taking four of the final five penalties.
“We kind of lost our way and took too many penalties.”
“We had some real big kills in the third, we had a lot of sacrifices from some players there on that kill and it gave us a chance to keep going,” McKee said.
“Anytime you get to overtime and you get the extra point, it is definitely a nice feeling.”
Malm, who finished with a career high three points and had his fifth multi-point game of the season, was the game’s first star while Ronning was the third star after scoring his 12th of the season.
Zwerger, with two goals for Everett, was the second star.
Kubic finished with 30 saves for the Giants.
The teams completed the home-and-home series on Wednesday night in Everett. The Giants lost the game 4-1.
The Giants next home game at the LEC is Friday, Dec. 30 against the Kamloops Blazers.