Saturday night saw the Vancouver Giants win their second game in as many nights against a depleted Victoria Royals team.
Vancouver showed a balanced attack against the Royals, getting goals from five different skaters in a 6-2 victory.
The under-manned Royals continued to be in tough coming into Saturday’s matchup. A total of seven players were scratched for the home team. Forwards Carson Miller (suspension) and Kaid Oliver (injury) would be out of the lineup from Friday night. On the plus side, Carson Golder would return to the lineup after missing Friday’s game in Langley.
The Giants took game one of the three-game matchup Friday night by a score of 3-0 and after Saturday’s victory, Vancouver has now won five straight versus the Royals.
Vancouver jumped out to a 4-0 lead, carried by a superior effort by Bowen Byram who had three assists on the night. The line of Cole Shephard, Michal Kvasnica and Holden Katzlay combined for 6 points, with Katzlay earning the first-star nod.
After being down early, Victoria showed some push back in the second period but ultimately fell short. The royals also outshot the Giants on the evening, 35-29.
“It would have been easy to quit,” said Royals Head Coach Dan Price.”Pack it in at the point being down that many goals and being short-staffed. So the character of the team was revealed in the sense that they started clawing back.”
“I thought that was a very good response at home, especially with a thin lineup, so that’s what we want to take away,” said Price. “It’s not the time to focus on the score-line, it’s the time to focus on what things we can correct, and what things we can emphasize for tomorrow.”
The first goal of the game was set up by a nice play by Byram. The defenceman carried into the Royals’ zone and made a nice feed to Katzalay who buried it at 5:10 of the first period.
A Victoria turnover led to the Giants’ second goal. Eric Florchuk picked off a Royals’ clearing pass and went in to beat Adam Evanoff stick-side at 9:50 for a 2-0 lead.
Vancouver kept rolling with another set up from Byram. The Colorado Avalanche prospect carried into the corner and centred a pass, finding Tristen Nielsen for the tap-in to extend the lead to 3-0.
The second period saw the Giants offence continue to roll. A nice no-look feed from Katzalay found Cole Shepard for an easy goal at the side of the net at 2:25. That goal would be it for Evanoff, who allowed four goals on 11 shots with little support on the night. Connor Martin would come into man the net for Victoria.
The Royals would get on the scoreboard after forcing a turnover themselves while on the penalty-kill. Phillip Schultz would pick off a Byram pass at the Victoria blueline and head down the other way for a shorthanded goal on Trent Miner. The goal at 9:39 was the 16th of the season for the Royals’ captain.
Victoria would add another after a solid play by Gannon Laroque at centre-ice. The AP defenceman bodied the Giants Justin Sourdif off the puck, allowing it to go to Brandon Culter, who sent Keanu Derungs in on Miner. Derungs made no mistake, making the game 4-2 with just over three minutes left in the second period.
The tempers of the rivals would boil over, as Ty Ettinger and Jackson Shepard would drop the mitts for a tilt. The fight, along with the two Victoria goals had the home crowd back into the game.
The Giants opened the scoring in the third on a laser from Michal Kvasnica. The native of Ostrava, Czech Republic regained the Giants’ three-goal lead, making it 5-2.
Vancouver added another with the man-advantage, with Tyler Preziuso banking the puck off the defender and in. The goal at sent a majority of the local fans to the exits.
That goal would be it for the scoring, as Vancouver cruised to another win over their rivals.
Game three of the mini-series goes Sunday afternoon, a 3:05 pick drop at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena.