One game after losing to the Western Conference’s worst team in overtime, the Vancouver Giants bounced back in a big way, knocking off the conference-leading Everett Silvertips 5-3.
WHL Highlights – March 18, 2022
Adam Hall bags two goals as Vancouver edges out win over Everett at the LEC!
— The WHL (@TheWHL) March 19, 2022
The Giants hosted the ‘Tips on Friday night at Langley Events Centre, handing Everett just their 10th loss of the Western Hockey League season. Vancouver improved to 23-29-4-0 and now has three wins and an overtime loss in their past four games to sit sixth in the WHL’s Western Conference standings with 50 points, an eight-point cushion with two games in hand on the ninth-place Victoria Royals, who are sitting outside the playoff picture.
The loss drops Everett to 39-10-3-5 and 86 points, and into a tie for top spot atop the conference, although they have played one less game than the Kamloops Blazers. After a scoreless first period, the Giants were whistled for three minor penalties in a 0:49 span, giving the Silvertips a full two minutes of a two-man advantage with Jackson Berezowski converting a pretty- passing play to open the scoring.
With two Vancouver skaters still in the box, Michal Gut had a glorious opportunity to double the lead, but Connor Martin – who had not played in the WHL since the end of December and has spent the past two-plus months in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Calgary Canucks – came up with a brilliant stop to prevent Everett from taking a 2-0 lead.
“They passed it backdoor, and I saw there was an open guy so just had to reach for it and got a little piece off it,” Martin said of the save which kept it a one-goal game.
With the final two penalties successfully killed, Nicco Camazzola tied the score at 1-1 for the Giants and Adam Hall converted on Vancouver power play to make it 2-1 heading into second intermission.
Evan Toth and Hall with his second made it 4-1 with goals 2:21 apart in the first six minutes of the final frame, ending Braden Holt’s night in the Everett goal.
Berezowski and Alex Swetlikoff did get the Silvertips back within a goal with just over seven minutes to play, but despite Everett firing the next seven shots on goal, Martin and the Giants defence held firm with Payton Mount scoring into the empty net with 28 seconds to play.
Vancouver managed just two shots on goal in the final 13:46 after the goaltender change, with Koen MacInnes stopping the one shot he faced and the other going into the empty net.
“I like the way we dug in and worked together and found a way to win,” said Giants coach Michael Dyck, who admitted the game was very similar to the team’s 6-5 win in Portland on March 12, a game in which they nearly squandered a 6-0 lead.
“It was getting eerily reminiscent of the Portland game in the sense that they narrowed the gap. It was just a matter of getting re-focused and staying in the present and not worrying about what happened five minutes previous or worrying about are we going to win or are they going to tie it up. Just worry about your next shift,” Dyck said.
The coach was also complimentary of his goaltender.
“He basically spent one day here and then we threw him into the fire. He responded well,” Dyck said. Dyck was also impressed by his team’s resolve, especially when the game could have spiralled out of control with their second-period penalty troubles. “Potentially, it could have gone the other way too,” he said. “(But) we got dialed back in and that is going to be so important going forward because there are going to be bumps in the road.”
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