The struggles continue for the Vancouver Giants as for the second straight night, they fell on home ice to the Prince George Cougars, this time in regulation.
While on Friday night, it was Prince George rallying from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime, Saturday night saw the Cougars score the first three goals and after Vancouver cut the deficit to one with 17 minutes to play, sealed it with an empty-net goal for the 4-2 victory.
Both games were played at Langley Events Centre and with the four points (compared to just the single point earned by the Giants), the teams have both amassed 32 points through 34 Western Hockey League games. Vancouver has a 15-17-2-0 record compared to Prince George’s 15-17-1-1.
After posting six straight wins in late November and early December, the Giants have nose-dived in the standings with just two victories and one overtime loss in their past 13 games.
“We are finding ways to lose instead of finding ways to win. We were finding ways to win early in December, now we are finding ways to lose,” said coach Michael Dyck.
“Obviously it is disappointing, but we have lots of time to fix it.”
The Giants were down 2-0 after 20 minutes with Prince George’s Koehn Zimmer scoring goals 52 seconds apart, the second of which came on the power play.
Ethan Samson struck for another power-play goal midway through the second period for a 3-0 lead for the visitors. The pair also did all the damage in Friday’s game with Samson scoring twice (including the winner) and Zimmer with the other.
Connor Horning did get the Giants on the board a few minutes later and that goal seemed to energize the home team.
“We just started getting some energy, finishing checks. We were lacking energy in the first period,” Dyck said. “I liked the way we came on in the second and the third, but it was too little too late.”
Justin Lies did make it 3-2 with a goal three minutes into the final frame, but that would be all for the offence before Jonny Hooker scored into the empty net with 38 seconds to play.
The final shots on goal were 29 apiece with Tyler Brennan making 27 saves to earn the victory for Prince George while Jesper Vikman stopped 25 shots in the Giants goal. Both teams were also 2-for-4 with the man advantage.
Dyck was happy with the team’s power play as it got them back into the game, but the penalty kill is lacking confidence, he said.
The season series is now also in favour of the Cougars as they have won five of the nine head-to-head matches, including four of the past five games.
Dyck said the team expects to have winger Fabian Lysell back with the team early next week. The Giants are back in action on Friday (January 21) as they travel to Victoria to face the Royals before returning to Langley Events Centre the next night to host the Kelowna Rockets at 7:00pm.
Monday (January 17) is the WHL trade deadline.