Their chances of a playoff berth took a huge hit last weekend, as the Vancouver Giants earned just one point from two games against the Kamloops Blazers.
The Giants are now 10 points away from the final wild-card position in the Western Conference of the Western Hockey League (WHL) with a 21-29-7 (win-loss-overtime loss) record. In 10th place in the conference, Vancouver trails the 28-25-3 Portland Winterhawks, a team which earned five points from three games played last week to tighten their hold on the second of two wild-card positions.
The Giants lost twice to the Blazers last weekend, falling 5-0 Friday night at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver and 4-3 in overtime a night later in Kamloops.
The Blazers were on the attack quickly in the first game, outshooting the Giants 16-10 in the first period and taking a 2-0 lead with a powerplay goal midway through the session then adding another six minutes later.
Vancouver found their legs after the first intermission, and had a 15-9 edge in shots in the second period, but it was the Blazers adding a pair to their goal total to take a comfortable 4-0 lead into the final 20 minutes.
Both teams finished with 34 shots on net. Ryan Kubic started in goal, stopping 24 of 29 shots he faced before leaving the net in favor of Jake Morrissey, who stopped all five shots he faced over the final 17 minutes of play.
The Blazers were one-for-three on the powerplay, while the Giants were scoreless in five extra-man situations.
One night later in Kamloops, the Giants were able to get on the scoreboard and earn a point by taking the game to overtime.
It was Vancouver jumping to a 2-0 lead after 16 minutes of play, with David Brum netting the first goal and Alec Baer scoring on the powerplay 87 second later.
Kamloops replied with a powerplay goal of their own late in the first period, notched the only goal of the second, then scored again with the man-advantage early in the third to take a 3-2 lead.
The Giants scored their second powerplay goal of the game with 13 minutes left in regulation time. Ty Ronning tallied his team-best 29th goal of the season, converting a pass from Chase Lang. The assist was Lang’s 34th, also a team-best.
Vancouver had seven powerplay chances to just three for the Blazers, who were outshot by the Giants 38-36.
The Giants will host the Victoria Royals this afternoon (Wednesday) at noon for their Hooky Day game at the Pacific Coliseum. More than 5,000 school-aged children are expected to attend to participate in the fourth-annual Acceptance Flash Mob in recognition of Anti-Bullying Day on Feb. 24.
On the weekend, the Giants will play three times, including a game Friday in Kelowna against the Rockets. The Rockets will be in Vancouver for a game at 7 p.m. then the Blazers are back in the Pacific Coliseum at 5 p.m. Sunday.