Vancouver Giants

This day in Giants history – March 23

2003 – Double overtime thriller

The day after being blown out 10-0 in Game 1 by Kelowna, the Giants bounced back the next night.

Vancouver led Game 2 on two separate occasions, including leading 3-2 in the third period.

Kelowna opened the scoring late in the first period with a goal from Kiel McLeod, his first of two on the night, to go into the second period up one goal.

Something motivational must have been in the intermission as the Giants got two quick goals from Gilbert Brule (the franchise’s first postseason goal) and Jiri Jakes in the first 2:46 of the second period to have their first lead of the series.

McLeod once again found the back of the net late in the period to even things back up for the WHL’s best team.

Vancouver wasn’t going down without a fight in this one, starting a period strong again. Just 6:39 into the third period, Adam Courchaine regained the lead for the young expansion team.

To no surprise, the powerhouse Rockets tied things back up at 12:27 thanks to a goal from Cam Paddock. The better team would win, though it took almost two full extra periods to do so as Ryan Cuthbert gave Kelowna the 2-0 series lead with 1:35 remaining in the second overtime period.

Giants goaltender Jordan McLaughlin had a whopping 63 saves while Kelowna’s Kelly Guard had 41 saves in the win.

2004 – Bartley beats Blazers

Vancouver had drawn the Kamloops Blazers in the opening round, with just three point separating the two squads. After splitting the first two games in Vancouver, the series shifted to the Okanagan.

The Giants opened the scoring 4:27 into Game 3 with a goal from Mitch Bartley, who had 31 goals during the regular season.

Though the game was fairly uneventful offensively, the referees sure kept busy. Each team was given seven power plays, but both failed to convert on any.

Kamloops’ lone goal came from Raymond Macias early in the second period, but the game was decided just 38 seconds into the final frame.

Bartley scored his second of the night, shorthanded this time, to give the Giants a 2-1 lead that eventually stuck to also give Vancouver a 2-1 series lead.

Giants forward Braden Appleby and Blazers forward Paul Brown had a fight at the game’s last buzzer to set the tone for Game 4 the next night.

Vancouver goaltender Aaron Sorochan had 34 saves while Blazers netminder Devan Dubnyk stopped 20-of-22 shots.

2007 – Start of 2007 run

The 2007 playoffs had a strange start for the Vancouver Giants. They had won the BC Division by a 14-point lead and were taking on a Chilliwack Bruins team that had 43 less points than their counterpart throughout the regular season.

The teams exchanged goals during the first 5:27 of the series that resulted in a 2-1 Bruins lead after 20 minutes with the Giants’ goal coming from Spencer Machacek.

Chilliwack continued to find the back of the net, adding two more goals in the second period for a 4-2 lead after the second period. The Bruins had just seven shots on net to that point, a rare, yet catastrophic off night for the young Tyson Sexsmith. Blaine Neufeld came in relief, seeing only just three shots of his own (Vancouver out-shot the Bruins 44-10) .

Machacek scored his second of the night to cut the lead in half early into the third period as the Giants continued to pepper the shots.

Vancouver tied the game in rather exciting fashion, when Mario Bliznak converted on a shorthanded penalty shot with five minutes remaining in regulation to eventually force overtime.

It was just a matter of time before the Giants sealed this one, not giving up a single shot in the extra frame. Jonathan Blum ended the strange night 5:41 into overtime to give Vancouver a 1-0 series lead with Game 2 the following night.

Bruins goaltender Alex Archibald stood on his head, stopping 39-of-44 shots to keep his team in the game.

2010 – Giants take series strangleholdĀ 

After winning the first two games at home, the BC Division champion Giants went into Kamloops looking to take a convincing 3-0 series lead.

The opening period saw the teams locked at one goal a piece with the Giants goal coming off the stick of Lance Bouma.

This game was a complete deadlock throughout the second period as the teams exchanged goals four times in the middle frame to make it 3-3 after 40 minutes. Brett Breitkreuz and Nolan Toigo had the goals for Vancouver.

The game’s theme continued as each team scored a goal once again, leading to overtime. CJ Stretch scored for Kamloops and Brendan Gallagher for the Giants.

Game 3 was already the second game of the series that needed extra time, with the other being Game 1.

For the first time of the night, a team scored goals consecutively, and it happened when it counted the most. Breitkreuz scored his second of the night just 2:28 into the extra frame to give the Giants a 3-0 series lead.

Mark Segal stopped 27-of-31 shots for Vancouver while Kurtis Mucha stopped 34-of-39 for the Blazers.

2012 – Explosive opening night

The Giants and the Spokane Chiefs finished just one point apart in the standings, making for an unusually even first round match up.

Jordan Martinook (2G, 2A) and Cain Franson (3G, 1A) each led the way with four points en route to an exciting 7-5 win in Game 1.

Vancouver had three different three-goal leads, including going into the third period leading 5-2.

Spokane scored three third period goals to make a game of it but the Giants were able to hang, adding an empty net goal with two seconds remaining in regulation.

Mac Engel had 33 saves for the Chiefs in the eventful game while Adam Morrison stopped 19-of-24 shots.

2018 – The return to the postseason

After a three year hiatus from the playoffs, the Giants returned with a match up against the Victoria Royals.

Game 1 on the island was a tight-checking, low scoring affair with all the offense coming in the second period.

Milos Roman opened the series scoring 5:48 into the period from Ty Ronning and James Malm.

Veteran Royals forward Tanner Kaspick got the home team on the board about six minutes later as the Royals just never seemed to go away as the series would continue.

The game winning goal came from an unlikely source for the Giants with defenceman Matt Barberis scoring the game’s final goal with 1:35 remaining in the second period. The 2-1 win gave the Giants the 1-0 series lead and first playoff win since 2012.

Trent Miner stopped 40 shots for the Giants in his playoff debut while Griffen Outhouse had 31 saves on 33 shots.

2019 – Seattle evens series

After getting blown out 7-1 the night before to start the series, the Thunderbirds needed a big bounce back game to stay in the series.

Seattle came out strong in Game 2, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game. The Giants did find the score sheet before the intermission as Jadon Joseph scored what would be Vancouver’s only goal of the game with 1:50 remaining.

After a scoreless second period, Andrej Kukuca restored Seattle’s two-goal lead 4:33 into the third.

Despite late pressure from the Giants, the visitors added an empty net goal to take a split series down to Kent, Washington.

Seattle’s Roddy Ross stopped 39-of-40 shots while Trent Miner had 24 saves.

DUBNetwork Forums This day in Giants history – March 23

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    Stephen Hawco

    2003 – Double overtime thriller The day after being blown out 10-0 in Game 1 by Kelowna, the Giants bounced back the next night. Vancouver led Game 2
    [See the full post at: This day in Giants history – March 23]

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