“Best game of the year,” said Pats head coach Dave Struch after the game Saturday night. “They did a fantastic job, start to finish.” It wasn’t enough to take down the Vancouver Giants though. “They are a good team with lots of skill,” said Struch about the Giants.
The Pats didn’t commit a penalty for the first time this season and therefore did not give up a power-play goal for the first time either.
“The fact that we stayed out of the box was really good for us. It got us an opportunity to get everybody into the game, stay engaged in the game,” Struch continued.
The Pats were able to control most of the play in the first period and into the second. Despite that, the Giants were able to make the most of their chances.
Zack Ostapchuk was able to convert a two-on-one for his first career goal on the Giants’ first shot on net in the game. The Pats held Vancouver to just 5 shots in the opening period.
First star of the game David Tendeck stopped all 15 shots in the first period, which included 3 chances on the power play for the Pats.
“We’re going to give their goalie some credit. He’s really good, too,” said coach Struch about Tendeck. “But our guys stuck with it. I think we had close to 40 shots on net.”
Ryker Evans was able to solve the Giants netminder in the second period. He slipped one through Tendeck off a nice centering feed by Logan Nijhoff.
The Giants took the lead back late in the second period. Milos Roman picked off a pass and roofed a backhander past Pats goalie Danton Belluk. Vancouver carried that momentum into the third period. Jackson Shepard deflected home a Bowen Byram point shot less than a minute into the period.
Cole Dubinsky brought the Pats back within one, as he was able to take a pass from Garrett Wright and beat Tendeck with a nice move.
Milos Roman sealed the victory for the Giants by beating Belluk on a breakaway.
The Pats acquired Zach Wytinck this week. He quarterbacked the first power-play unit, which generated quite a few chances but was unable to convert on six opportunities.
“The past two and a little bit years, I’ve been running the power play in Brandon. So I’m familiar with that, and they’re kind of doing a similar thing, something that I’m familiar with. So, I think for me, that’s something that I really bring to the to the table as a hockey player. That’s something (I) obviously take pride in, (something) I want to help the guys out with here,” said Wytinck after the game. “It was a fun game — got my feet wet and a little more comfortable with everything.”
On Saturday Nikita Sedov returned from injury. That, along with the addition of Zach Wytinck, helped take the load off the younger defencemen.
Dave Struch was complimentary of those two players. “With those guys, it really allows us to generate a lot more with the puck and keep the puck a lot longer and defend better.”
The Pats have not converted a power-play opportunity in the past five games.
Ryker Evans, second star of the game, and Cole Dubinsky each scored their first goals of the season for the Pats.
The third star of the game, Vancouver Giants Bowen Byram, collected two assists. He is now tied for the defenceman scoring lead in the league.
With the win, the Giants finish their East Division road trip with three wins and three losses.
The Giants David Tendeck made 34 saves on 36 shots.
With Max Paddock out, Danton Belluk made his fourth start of the season for the Pats. Danton made 25 saves on 29 shots.