(Photo: Rik Fedyck)
The Vancouver Giants took their first loss of the Western Hockey League season as they went down 3-1 to the Seattle Thunderbirds Friday night. The score makes it look like a worse game for the Giants than it truly was.
In fact, it wasn’t until 18:29 of the second period that either team managed to solve the opposing goaltender. Both David Tendeck for the Giants and Liam Hughes for the Thunderbirds made it extremely difficult to get pucks past them. Combined in the first two periods they made 41 saves. The one goal that did get past Tendeck, late in the second, was during a power play for the Thunderbirds, who were 0-3 on the man advantage at that point. Dillon Hamaliuk got the power play marker and put the Thunderbirds on the board. This was Hamaliuk’s second goal of the season, while assists were credited to Simon Kubicek and Payton Mount.
Going into the third period, the Giants would get the equalizer at 8:29, with an unassisted goal from James Malm—his third goal of the season—from the left-wing circle. And again, the goalies shut things down and it began to look like the game might go to overtime as the clock clicked under four minutes remaining. However, an odd-man rush for the Thunderbirds allowed Matthew Wedman to go high and get it past Tendeck to give Seattle the go-ahead goal, and the ultimate game winner.
The Giants pulled Tendeck with 42 seconds remaining in regulation and as the clock ticked down to five seconds, the Thunderbirds put a pin in it when Nolan Volcan potted the empty netter.
The Giants overall had a solid game, though they may want to work a little on staying out of the penalty box—having given Seattle six power plays. Tendeck, who was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2018 NHL Draft (6th round, 158 overall), has started in all three of the Giants games this season. He has currently stopped 82 of the 86 shots he’s seen in those three games, giving him an impressive .953 save percentage. The Giants also had two forwards making their team debuts. Combined Yannik Valenti and Evan Patrician had three shots on net and finished even in plus/minus.
The Vancouver Giants have little time to obsess over their loss as they will take on the Spokane Chiefs on Sunday, September 30, 2018, at 4:00pm Pacific Time. Both teams currently sit at 2-1-0-0, but the Chiefs are currently riding a two-game winning streak.