Giants take two of three games from Victoria

WHL teams wins at home, splits two games on Vancouver Island

The Vancouver Giants are assured of at least a split of their four-game series with the Victoria Royals.

A quirk in the Western Hockey League schedule has the two B.C. Division rivals facing off against each other four times in six days, and the Giants have won two of the first three.

Vancouver won 4-1 Friday night at the Pacific Coliseum, then traveled to Vancouver Island where they lost 6-1 Saturday night but triumphed 4-2 Sunday afternoon.

The Giants, an even 5-5-0-0 (win-loss-overtime loss-shootout loss) in their past 10 games, have moved to within six points of a playoff position in the Western Conference.

At 10-19-2-2, they trail the 15-15-0-0 Portland Winterhawks of the U.S. Division in the race for eighth place.

The Giants dominated Victoria to start the series Friday night, outshooting their guests 35-27. Ty Ronning put the home side up 1-0 early in the second period, but the teams went to the dressing rooms tied 1-1 after 40 minutes. Two powerplay goals in the third period lifted Vancouver to the win. Carter Popoff netted the winner with the man advantage with 13 minutes remaining. Alec Baer added a pair in the final five minutes, the second with the Royals shorthanded.

Ryan Kubic was the Vancouver netminder, stopping 26 of 27 shots.

The Royals were the dominant team Saturday night in the provincial capital, leading 1-0 and 3-1 at the period breaks. Chase Lang scored the lone Giants goal with four seconds remaining in the second period.

Kubic stopped 16 of 19 shots over the first two periods before he was replaced by Jake Morrissey in goal. Morrisey, acquired from the Saskatoon Blades last week in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2017 Bantam Draft, stopped 10 of 13 shots in the final period.

Sunday afternoon, the Giants got the jump on Victoria early, scoring three times in the first period. Baer started things off just 35 seconds into the game, then made it 2-0 five minutes later. Ben Thomas upped the difference to three goals before the first intermission.

The Royals got a pair of powerplay goals over the final 40 minutes, but Jack Flaman scored an insurance goal with five minutes left in regulation time to keep the Giants in front.

Vancouver will host the Royals again tonight (Wednesday) before playing twice against the Everett Silvertips on the weekend – Friday night in Vancouver at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday in Everett.