David Tendeck returned to the Giants lineup for Game 3 and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Away with an injury since March 11th, the 18-year-old Tendeck returned and shut the door on the Victoria Royals Tuesday night, making 35 saves and back-stopping his team to a 5-1 victory.
“It was tough,” said Tendeck on sitting out the first two series games “(Trent) Miner stepped in and did a very good job.” When asked if he was worried about being a little rusty, he said “A little bit, but I knew I was good during practice and it would be just fine.”
The lead-up to Tuesday’s game saw the tightly contested battle headed across the Straight of Georgia for Game 3 in Langley, B.C. The series thus far has seen key players on each team unavailable, controversial hits and overall even play between the two clubs. Coming into the game, Victoria would need to rely on it’s team depth, something that was a plus for them in Game 2. For Vancouver, they would look to feed off the energy of their home fans, returning to the WHL playoffs for the first time since 2014.
The Giants were able to strike first as Owen Hardy carried the puck out from behind the net and was able to snipe the far corner on Griffen Outhouse at 6:32.
Later, Dante Hannoun and Noah Gregor broke in on a 2-on-0 but Tendeck game up with a huge glove save. The Giants goalie looked sharp in the first period, a preview of what was to come for the entire game.
Victoria looked to tie it up at 13:52 as Matthew Phillips redirected a pass in the crease past Tendeck. After a lengthy review, the referees called the goal off as Phillips appeared to kick the puck in from in the crease.
In the second, the Royals had a couple of early breakaways. The first was by Phillips who was in the clear but unable to beat Tendeck. A second saw Kaid Oliver on a partial break but was also foiled by the Vancouver goalie.
A concerned moment for the Royals saw Phillips hit in front of the net by a shot while on the powerplay. He struggled to get up and laboured to the bench. However, he was able to return shortly after to the relief of Victoria and its fans.
The second saw the start of a lot of post whistle extra curricular activity begin, as at every stoppage there was plenty of chat and tussles. After having the momentum for much of the second period, Victoria began showing signs of undisciplined play and perhaps frustration. “It’s that time of year where emotions are high,” said Vancouver coach Jason McKee in describing the physical play, “You can’t back down, you have to tow the line but not cross it and tonight a couple times we crossed it and got penalized.”
Out of these scrums, Tyler Benson was heavily crosschecked, drawing a late period Giants powerplay. Consequently, it would be Benson that would also make Victoria pay, as he fired home a shot from the point. The powerplay goal at 19:19 found is way past a screened Outhouse and gave Vancouver a 2-0 lead after two periods.
After surviving a surge from the Royals in the second period, as well as killing a five minute major penalty assessed to Matt Berberis at the end of the second period, the Giants put the game away in the third period.
Milos Roman scored at 7:41 on a rebound with Outhouse down and out, after the Royals could not clear the puck out of their zone. Bowen Byram then made it 4-0 when he took a nice feed from Tyler Benson while 2-on-1 at 10:54.
Victoria was able to get on the scoreboard as Noah Gregor slipped one through the five-hole of Tendeck at 12:08. However, it was too big of a mountain to climb for the Royals as the Giants prevailed 5-1, to take the lead in the series.
The Giants were able to withstand the pressure applied by the Royals in the second, and the late powerplay goal by Benson in that period was a turning point. “There were lots of times where we bent but did not break.” said coach McKee.
The Royals struggled with turnovers for much of the night, as Vancouver did a great job getting their sticks in passing lanes.
Vancouver fed off the energy of the crowd of 4,683. “Electric. It was huge for us.” Said Benson post-game, “The noise from the building really got us going right from the start. The good crowds help us in the game, help us win.” Vanouver will look for a similar boost on Thursday for Game 4.
The Royals will look to shake the loss off, as Head Coach Dan Price said post-game, “You can’t be deterred. You have to bounce back right away. You can only take it one shift, one period, one game at a time. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s really true that you have to focus on the task at hand”
Game 4 of the series goes Thursday, Mar.29th from the Langley events Centre with puck drop at 7pm.
- At the end of the second period Giants forward Matt Barberis was given a five minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking Kaid Oliver. Oliver did return to the game, so it remains to be seen if there will be any further discipline from the league office.
- Tanner Kaspick did not play in Game 3 and is questionable for the remainder of this series. It looked like Kaspick hurt his shoulder when being checked into the boards in Game 2 and did not return.
- Victoria was also without the services of Tyler Soy, Scott Walford and Dino Kambeitz as they were all out with injuries. Soy may be the closest to returning and may see action yet in this series.