Rob Wilton/Stanley Lee

Giants shutout Royals in opening game of mini-series

The Giants are back to their winning ways.

After having their 11-game winning streak snapped last week, the Vancouver Giants didn’t take long to get back into the win column with a convincing 3-0 victory over the Royals.

photo – Rob Wilton/Stanley Lee

Friday’s win puts the Giants in second place in the BC Division and ties them in points with these same Royals, but have two games in hand.

“I thought we played really well, I felt we did a real good job of sustaining some pressure in the offensive zone, and a good fore check” Coach Dyck said about his team’s game, “The second period at times I think we got a little individual and slow and it started to pick up again in the third. We know we can be better and we’re going to have to be better in Victoria, but it was a good start to the weekend.” he continued.

Vancouver came out to play from the start in front of the 4083 in attendance, out-shooting their opponent 17-6 in the first 20 minutes.

In what was a well-paced opening period for the Giants, defenceman Trevor Longo started things off offensively with an impressive rush into the offensive zone.

The goal is the North Vancouver native’s sixth of the season and second since being acquired in early December from Medicine Hat.

“Katz got the puck in the middle of the ice and made a great pass, he kind of didn’t even see me, but threw it over and I didn’t actually see it go in. There was a screen, so whoever was driving the net did a good job.” Longo said with a chuckle explaining his goal.

Trevor Longo celebrates his first period goal. (photo – Rob Wilton/Stanley Lee)

Longo, who is a veteran of 130 WHL games, has been a complementary piece to what was an already solid defensive core.

“He did a lot of good things and played well on both sides of the puck, was physical, activated a lot of the transition that we had out of our zone.” Dyck said about the 19-year-old defender.

He may not be someone you notice every night but that isn’t a bad thing with his stay-at-home kind of play.

Despite the Giants controlling a lot of the play throughout the first half of the contest, there was a bit of a lull in action.

It was a very structured and safe style of game.

The safe aspect went out the window with just over a minute of play remaining in the second period.

The old stiff arm.

Kannok Leipert remained in the game and seemed no worse for wear.

Miller has not been suspended in his four-year WHL career and sits 12th in the league with 81 penalty minutes this season.

Victoria went into Friday night rather shorthanded as it was, having six regulars scratched and dressing just 18 players, 10 of them being forwards.

So three lines of forwards for the last 21:08 of play and the Royals already had forward and team captain Phillip Schultz playing defense.

Vancouver was unable to convert on the five-minute power play that carried over into the third period, something unusual for the team as of late.

The emotion between rivals picked up as the final period progressed, giving the game a bit of life and in turn, the Giants as well.

“I don’t think we played the best we can, I thought we kind of got it going a bit later in the third and it resulted in a couple goals to close it out.” Bowen Byram said post-game.

Byram gave his team some insurance with less than five minutes remaining in regulation with this dominant effort.

It’s Byram’s world and we’re just living in it.

The Giants later got an empty net goal from Milos Roman to put away game one of three on the weekend.

Byram drew an assist on the goal, the 100th of his WHL career.

On the defensive side of things, Trent Miner didn’t have a very busy night, seeing just 18 shots.

It can sometimes be hard for a goaltender to get a groove or a rhythm when not getting a lot of work, but the Avalanche draft pick didn’t seem phased.

“You just have to make sure you’re on top of everything. We have everyone blocking shots all game long which makes it easier.” he said.

With David Tendeck out day-to-day and 16-year-old Drew Sim getting the call to back up, there is a possibility of having to play Miner three nights in a row.

The timing seems right with having to do that as the 18-year-old has been on a tear as of late.

“Our defense was shutting them down, our forwards were doing their job, everyone was on top of everything tonight.” Miner said complementing his team.

We get right back into the swing of things for the next two games in Victoria, follow along with our Royals writer Ryan Sinclair to stay up to do with the remainder of the divisional mini-series.

DUBNetwork Forums Giants shutout Royals in opening game of mini-series

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