It was a much better effort than in previous games, but the result was the same: another loss for the Vancouver Giants.
Through 53 minutes on Friday night, Feb. 4 at Langley Events Centre, the Giants played the Kamloops Blazers – the eighth-ranked team in the most recent Kia Canadian Hockey League Top 10 rankings – to a standstill, with both teams deadlocked at two goals apiece. But Fraser Minten would score with 6:55 to play to send the visiting Blazers to the 3-2 victory.
“We gave ourselves a chance to win at the end of the day. We had a couple of empty nets that we normally convert on, but we didn’t. But we played well enough to win,” said coach Michael Dyck.
“For the most part, we played the game the right way. It didn’t work out for us, but we refocus and get ready for Seattle.”
The Giants have now lost five straight and are 3-15-1-0 in their past 19 games, sitting at 16-22-2-0 on the season and in seventh place in the Western Hockey League’s Western Conference. The Blazers improved to 29-11-1-0 and sit in second spot.
RECAP: A late goal from the Kamloops Blazers in the third period was the difference in a 3-2 result Friday at the LEC. The G-Men got goals from Zack Ostapchuk and Jacob Boucher + 28 saves from Jesper Vikman.
Up next: Seattle
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The frustration from the Vancouver players was evident as they left the ice.
“They are going to be frustrated. We have put together a losing streak that we have to climb out of. They just have to focus on what they are going to do to get out of it. We are not going to change the results, at the end of the day, we just have to focus on the process,” Dyck said.
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Vancouver’s Jacob Boucher opened the scoring at 9:05, converting on a two-on-one break with Payton Mount.
The lead lasted just over six minutes with Matthew Seminoff and Logan Stankoven scoring for the Blazers 95 seconds apart later in the opening frame. But Zack Ostapchuk levelled the score at the 2:21 mark of the middle stanza.
Boucher, who was acquired as part of the Justin Sourdif trade last month, was playing his first since December 17 when he was a member of the Edmonton Oil Kings
“He gave us some energy. He will work some of that rust off. Both him and Payton Mount give us some added depth,” Dyck said about Boucher’s Giants debut and Mount’s first game since January 14.
“This brings another element of speed, another option we have got up front. Lots of energy and certainly a guy that I think is going to create some offence for us.”
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Final shots on goal were 31-25 for Kamloops with Jesper Vikman making 28 saves for the Giants while Dylan Garand made 23 stops for the Blazers.
Vancouver now heads to Seattle to face the Thunderbirds for the first time this season in the start of a home-and-home series with the teams hitting the ice at Langley Events Centre on Sunday (February 6) at 4:00pm.
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