After squandering a two-goal lead in the first 2:49 of the third period, it looked as if the Vancouver Giants were on their way to yet another home-ice loss and on the verge of elimination.
But what transpired next was a five-goal outburst as the Giants evened their best-of-seven series with the Everett Silvertips at two games apiece with an 11-6 win on Friday night at Langley Events Centre.
It was the Giants first home-ice victory since March 18 – also against Everett– as they had lost their previous eight home games (regular season and playoffs).
Despite a 6-2 loss in a game two nights earlier, Giants coach Michael Dyck liked aspects of his team’s game in the defeat. But even he was surprised by Friday’s final score.
“I knew we were going to respond, but if you had said it would be an 11-6 hockey game, I would have
said ‘not likely’,” he said.
Vancouver was ahead 6-4 after 40 minutes as the spectators enjoyed a four-goal second period which chased Everett goaltender Braden Holt from the crease following the fourth goal on just 13 shots.
The Silvertips’ Jacob Wright scored his third of the game a dozen seconds into the final frame and Olen Zellweger drew the visitors even at four 2:37 later.
“I liked our resilience after giving up the lead and fighting back to get the lead again. I don’t think there was any panic; it was just re-set and get ready for the next shift,” Dyck said.
“We have a lot of faith in our guys. We went through this in Everett (in game one) where you get down and it is about the next line going out and getting momentum back.”
Giants captain Zack Ostapchuk put Vancouver ahead for good with his second of the game and 45 seconds later, Colton Langkow made it 8-6 and Fabian Lysell potted his second just before the midway mark of the period for the three-goal lead.
Evan Toth and Kyle Bochek added late markers for the 11-6 final score. Ostapchuk finished with a pair of goals and four helpers.
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“He led the way. At the end of the day, (Zack) has been that guy all year long for us. He has come through when we have really needed him. Didn’t surprise me that he played well tonight,” said Dyck.
The teams are right back at it with game five on Saturday, April 30 in Everett before game six returns to Langley Events Centre on Monday, May 2 with a 7 p.m. puck drop.
“What we are looking at is it is a best-of-three. Real quick turnaround and getting a real quick re-set going. We want to take this rhythm into the next game,” Dyck said.
The coach also credited the atmosphere at Langley Events Centre as the fans were vocal throughout the game.
“You could feel the buzz … that certainly fed into it,” he said.
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