Vancouver, B.C. – 3637 fans were treated to a thriller on Friday night at the Langley Events featuring two teams that could very well be destined for a first-round playoff matchup. After 65 minutes and a six-round shootout the Victoria Royals prevailed with a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants. Ty Ronning paced the Giants attack with two goals while Owen Hardy and Tyler Benson each chimed in with two assists. St. Louis Blues prospect Tanner Kaspick was the shootout hero for Victoria who now hold a slim one-point edge on the Giants for second place in the B.C. Division standings. The final shots were 43-25 for the Giants who dictated most of the game territorially.
5:23 into the opening period, New York Rangers prospect Ty Ronning got Vancouver on the board first when he pounced on a Brennan Riddle rebound and scooped a backhand past Victoria starter Griffen Outhouse and in. It was Ronning’s 41st of the season and first of two on the night.
Vancouver kept pressing but couldn’t increase their lead. Cyle McNabb hit a post and Griffen Outhouse did his part to keep his team within striking distance. He finished the first period with 11 saves on the 12 shots he faced.
Near the end of the first Victoria tied the game when Dante Hannoun fired his 19th of the season past David Tendeck on a power play. Shots were 12-5 Vancouver after 20 minutes but the score was tied 1-1.
Jeff de Wit gave Victoria a 2-1 lead at 4:48 of the second period when he crossed the Giants blueline from the left-wing, cut to the middle and placed a perfect shot up and over the right shoulder of Tendeck for his ninth of the campaign.
Back came the Giants at 11:11 when captain Tyler Benson crossed the Royals blueline on an odd-man rush, dropped a pass to Ty Ronning on the left-wing. Ronning stepped into the puck and one-timed a high shot over Griffen Outhouse’s right shoulder and in for his 42nd of the season.
Vancouver outshot Victoria 17-7 in the middle frame, but were unable to regain the lead. The score was 2-2 heading into the final period.
Exactly one minute into the third period the Royals regained the lead when 20-year-old Tyler Soy snuck a wrap-around chance home for his 21st. His wrap-around shot deflected off a Giants defenceman and barely across the goal line past Tendeck.
Yet again though the Giants found an answer. It came at 7:51 off a point shot from Dylan Plouffe. Plouffe’s eighth of the season snuck through a maze of bodies and home and came courtesy of Tyler Benson and Kaleb Bulych who assisted on the play.
The teams traded chances in the final half of the period, but neither Griffen Outhouse or David Tendeck would relent in their respective nets.
Victoria had a terrific chance to win the game in regulation in the later stages, but they were unable to convert on a late power play chance that they were given with a minute and 50 seconds remaining in the third.
The five-minute overtime period came and went without a whistle as the teams skated four-on-four for the duration of the extra period because of the Giants penalty that had expired 10 seconds in. Bowen Byram had the best chance in overtime to win it for the Giants but he rung his one-timed shot from the right side of the goal off the post.
For a second time this season the Giants and Royals required a shootout to determine their fate and it took six rounds of back-and-forth drama to finally determine a winner.
Tyler Benson opened the shootout scoring for the Giants in Round 1 to give his team the edge. Dante Hannoun missed in response for Victoria.
Ty Ronning and Matthew Phillips came up empty in Round 2, which gave Tyler Ho a chance to win it for Vancouver in Round 3. Ho was denied by Outhouse which meant that Tyler Soy needed a goal for Victoria to stay alive.
The Anaheim Ducks prospect delivered, forcing a fourth round.
Dawson Holt and Noah Gregor missed on their respective attempts in Round 4 and James Malm and Igor Martynov both scored in their shots in Round 5 to bring the shootout to a sixth round.
Davis Koch’s shot was denied by the glove of Griffen Outhouse which set the stage for Tanner Kaspick to skate in close and finish off the game on a backhand deke for Victoria, marking the Royals second shootout victory of the season, both of which have come against the Giants.
The single point improves the Giants overall record to 25-14-4-3 and puts them two back of Kelowna for first and one point back of Victoria for second in the B.C. Division standings. It also helped them extend their unbeaten streak in regulation to 10-straight games. They are now 6-0-1-1 through eight games in 2018.