Giants toppled by Kelowna Rockets in wild one at Langley Events Centre

Vancouver and Kelowna traded goals, scoring chances, and hits and in the end, the visitors pulled out the victory.

Vancouver Giants Owen Hardy and Kelowna Rockets Braydyn Chizen battled for the puck during the third period of Friday's WHL game at the Langley Events Centre. The Rockets beat the Giants 6-4.

by Troy Landreville

Black Press

Things got weird Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.

During a Western Hockey League game that featured all that’s great about major junior – end-to-end action, tons of speed, skill, and toughness – one play, one moment, had the barn buzzing.

It was a routine slapshot, taken from so far away it might as well have been from another time zone.

More on that near record-setting play later.

When the dust finally settled, the Kelowna Rockets defeated the host Vancouver Giants 6-4 in front of 4,286 fans inside an electric LEC.

“I feel like at times we could have been better, but I feel like the guys worked pretty hard,” said Giants 19-year-old forward Alec Baer, who scored his first two goals of the season in a losing cause. “Our work ethic was there for at least two periods but we should be better for the full 60.”

The Giants opened the scoring when a cross ice pass from James Malm trickled through to Baer. Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer sprawled on his stomach in a desperate attempt to poke check the puck away, but missed, leaving a wide open net for Baer to shoot into for his first of the campaign.

Kelowna tied the game at a goal apiece midway through the first period when a rebound spun tantalizingly to the slot for Calvin Thurkauf to backhand chip into the net.

The Rockets then moved ahead 2-1 when Nick Merkley turned off the side boards and fired a shot that beat Giants netminder Ryan Kubic.

The Giants equalized with 2:45 to go in the opening frame when Malm dished a perfect feed from behind the net to defenceman  Darian Skeoch, by the left faceoff circle.

Skeoch, who snuck in deep, made no mistake as he fired a one-timer past Herringer.

After a series of Giants power play opportunities in the second period (including a two-man advantage),  Kelowna forward Tomas Soustal dipsy-doodled past a Giants defenceman with a slick toe-drag and backhanded the puck past Kubic for his team-leading seventh of the season.

Then, came the most shocking goal of the season – unfortunately for the Giants, it was scored by the opposing team.

Right after his goal, Soustal drew the puck back to defenceman Braydyn Chizen on a faceoff win at centre ice. Chizen drifted a shot from his own blueline that was misplayed by Kubic, who deflected the puck into his net with the inside of his goal-stick.

It took all of three seconds for the goal to be scored – one tick off the WHL record of two seconds.

And both Soustal’s and Chizen’s goals came while their team was shorthanded.

Baer gave the Giants some life 1:31 after Chizen’s shocker, to narrow the deficit to 4-3 after 40 minutes of play.

He brought the Giants to within a goal when he gained the blueline before snapping a perfect wrist shot just inside the blueline past Herringer, low on the glove side.

Vancouver clawed back to make it 4-4 at thbe 8:42 mark of the third period when Johnny Wesley swiped a bad angle shot into a fallen Herringer. The puck found its way over the goal line for the tying marker.

The Giants looked like they had scored the go-ahead goal with 13 minutes to go in regulation but the goal was nullified due to incidental contact with the Herringer.

The backbreaker came with 3:10 to go in the final frame when the Rockets’ Kole Lind was left all alone in front and after taking a pass from behind the net, banged in his own rebound to restore the lead.

The G-Men’s hope of scoring the equalizer was dashed by a high sticking penalty on Radovan Bondra with 1:53 to play.

Then, just second after Giants’ Jack Flaman had a chance to score the tying goal after he was sent in all alone, the Rockets Nick Merkley stole the puck behind the net and stuffed it into the cage with Kubic pulled for an extra attacker.

“Definitely a winnable game,” Baer said. “We’ve just got to forget about it now and look forward to tomorrow [when the Giants host the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the LEC].”

As for his own play, Baer said his first two markers of the season were a long time coming,

“It took too long to do that but I’m glad to get the first one over with so hopefully the floodgates will open,” he said.

Just Posted

‘I’m elated’: Braun wins; incumbents returned en masse; Banman back

Henry Braun becomes first incumbent mayor of Abbotsford to win re-election since 1999

VOTING DAY: Abbotsford votes no-change school board, deals blow to anti-SOGI

All incumbents running and one former trustee voted in, few anti-SOGI candidates on board

SLIDESHOW: Election night in Abbotsford

Candidates gather at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium to watch the results

LIVE: Abbotsford municipal election reaction

Check back for the latest reaction as results come in from this evening’s municipal election

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Fraser Valley man dead after head on crash in Okanagan

Accident occurred at about 7:35 a.m.

Newly-elected Lower Mainland mayor won’t drink his city’s tap water

White Rock’s Darryl Walker is concerned about its quality

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Vancouver drag queens receive royal treatment during Kootenay Pride

Vancouver drag queens discuss the importance of Pride and growing acceptance of LGBTQ community

Most Read