It was a former Vancouver Giant sticking it to his old teammates on Saturday night.
Evan Patrician – who has played 95 of his 145 career WHL games with the Giants – scored on his own rebound with 12.8 seconds to play, sending Vancouver to a fourth consecutive defeat as the visiting Victoria Royals snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 3-2 win at Langley Events Centre in Western Hockey League action.
The Giants have lost five of their past six games and saw their record fall to 7-7-1-0. Victoria improved to 2-11-2-0.
“Breakdown and they capitalized in the last minute, which should never happen, but it did,” summed up Vancouver coach Michael Dyck.
With overtime looming, the Royals were able to sustain pressure in the Giants zone and after centring the puck to Patrician, goaltender Will Gurski made the initial stop, but Patrician collected the rebound and buried the winner.
The Royals led 1-0 after 20 minutes thanks to a power-play goal from Bailey Peach before the Giants scored twice in the middle frame, with a Victoria tally in between.
Dyck liked his team’s performance in that middle 20 minutes as they outscored Victoria 2-1.
“We established some pressure on our fore-check and I thought we started generating far more opportunities once we started pressuring their back end,” he said.
Fabian Lysell levelled the score at one, capitalizing on a two-man advantage when he scored off a scramble in front of the Victoria net. Tarun Fizer helped the Royals re-take the lead a few minutes later as the Giants failed to clear the zone. But before the period let out, Justin Sourdif took his defender wide and then cut to the net and scored glove-side with just over two minutes to play in the middle period.
Sourdif had two points and leads the Giants with 20 on the season, but the goal was his first in six games.
“He’s been snake-bitten here and gripping his stick a little tight and pressing and it was nice to see him score,” Dyck said.
Game notes: Victoria outshot Vancouver 24-23 with Gurski and Royals goaltender Tyler Palmer each finishing with 21 saves. The Giants were 1-for-6 with the man advantage while Victoria was 1-for-4.
Up next: For the first time this season, the Vancouver Giants will venture south of the border as they embark on a three-game road trip beginning Wednesday in Portland to face the Winterhawks. They also have stops in Kennewick on Friday against the Tri-City Americans and the next night in Spokane to face the Chiefs. Vancouver’s next home game at Langley Events Centre is December 3 (7:30pm) when they welcome the Kamloops Blazers to town.
Photos: Gary Ahuja Langley Events Centre