Had the Vancouver Giants put forth a consistent effort for more than just the first half of the game, they would have taken home the second point, possibly even in regulation time.
That was the assessment of head coach Michael Dyck, following a 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of the Prince George Cougars.
The two B.C. division rivals squared off on Friday night at Langley Events Centre (LEC) in Western Hockey League action, with Ethan Samson scoring off a rebound 1:58 into the three-on-three hockey to secure the visiting Cougars the second point.
“Really good start for us. Had we played that way for 60 minutes, it would be a different result. The back half of the game we beat ourselves,” Dyck said.
“We went back to what we have seen previously: turning pucks over, not being physical, playing slow. And when we do that, we are not going to have success, pretty simple,” the coach elaborated.
“Am I surprised? I am more disappointed than anything. I am disappointed that we didn’t stick with what we know. It worked really well for us in the first half.”
Vancouver had built a 2-0 lead with goals from Justin Lies and Justin Sourdif, one in each of the two periods before Samson and Koehn Ziemmer scored two minutes apart in the latter half of the middle stanza.
Ziemmer had a “glorious” chance to put the Cougars ahead in the third period but was denied by goaltender Jesper Vikman on a penalty shot attempt.
The season series now sits at four wins apiece for the B.C. division rivals and this marked the first time the Cougars won at LEC in four tries. The victory also pulls Prince George (14-17-1-1) to within two points of Vancouver (15-16-1-0).
The teams were coming off long layoffs with Prince George last playing January 1 and the Giants on Jan. 2 after both teams had their games postponed last weekend.
“It was a messy hockey game. Both teams had a week off and you could see that as the game wore on. They did a far better job of keeping things simple. We complicated things at times,” Dyck said.
The final shots on goal were 39-38 in favour of the Giants with Vikman making 36 saves while his counterpart Tyler Brennan stopped 37 of the 39 shots he faced.
Zack Ostapchuk finished with a pair of assists for Vancouver.
There was just a single power-play opportunity in the game, which the Vancouver Giants successfully killed off.
PREVIEW: Tonight at @LangleyEvents, the G-Men wrap up a weekend double-header against the @PGCougars.— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) January 15, 2022
⌚️: 7 PM
📸: @Rjmediadottech pic.twitter.com/999tySOZ4n
The two teams are both right back at it on tonight (Saturday, Jan. 15) back at LEC, with a 7 p.m. puck drop.
Click here for ticket information.
BY THE NUMBERS
VAN – At 11:43 of the opening frame, Justin Lies followed up a Zack Ostapchuk rebound off the rush, and tucked a backhand shot through Tyler Brennan’s legs and home for his fifth goal of the season. Adam Hall tacked on the second assist.
Shots: 16-14 Vancouver
VAN – Giants captain Justin Sourdif increased the Giants lead to 2-0 at 4:32 off a shot from the left-wing point that switched directions and beat Brennan. Sourdif’s ninth was set up by Zack Ostapchuk.
PG – Ethan Samson put the Cougars on the board at 12:37 when his point shot snuck through a maze of bodies and home for his seventh goal of the season. Hudson Thornton and Carlin Dezainde both netted assists.
PG – Exactly two minutes later, Koehn Ziemmer snapped a low shot home from the left wing off the rush to tie the score. The lone assist came from Riley Heidt on Ziemmer’s 11th of the campaign.
Shots: 12-7 Prince George
At 10:09 of the period, Koehn Ziemmer was awarded a penalty shot for Prince George. Jesper Vikman stopped the penalty shot attempt, keeping the score at 2-2.
Shots: 14-8 Vancouver
PG – Ethan Samson ended the game at the 1:58 mark of overtime, securing the extra point for the Prince George Cougars. Samson’s second goal of the night came off a Connor Bowie rebound, on a backhand shot from in front of the Giants goal. The second assist was credited to Jonny Hooker.
Shots: 4-2 Prince George
Final score: Prince George 3 – Vancouver 2 (OT)
Final shots: 39 – 38 Vancouver
Jesper Vikman: 35/38 saves for Vancouver
Tyler Brennan: 37/39 saves for Prince George
PG power play: 0/1
VAN power play: 0/0
3 Stars: 1) Justin Sourdif (VAN – 1G); 2) Ethan Samson (PG – 2G); and 3) Jesper Vikman (VAN – 35 Saves)
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