Vancouver, B.C. – 20-year-old Ty Ronning etched his name into the Vancouver Giants history books Friday night in one of the most dramatic victories of the season for the G-Men. Ronning’s first of two goals on the night matched Evander Kane’s franchise record (48) for most goals in a season by a Giant, and his second came 1:42 into overtime to help lift the Vancouver Giants to a 2-1 home victory over the defending WHL champs, the Seattle Thunderbirds. His 49th goal also moved him into sole possession of the franchise single-season goal-scoring record. Not to be out-done was Giants netminder David Tendeck who turned aside 49 of the 50 shots Seattle fired his way, earning his 20th victory and the 29th of the season for the Giants who had 454 WHL games of experience missing from their blueline.
48 hours removed from a Wednesday road loss in Kelowna, the Giants went nose-to-nose with the Thunderbirds in the first period. Shots were 15-11 for Seattle, but both goaltenders were superb for their respective teams. David Tendeck made a handful of highlight reel stops for Vancouver while his counterpart Liam Hughes was strong when called upon for the visitors.
6:13 into the second period the Giants took the lead when off the rush, Davis Koch wired a shot from the slot through traffic that went past Hughes and home. Ty Ronning, who missed Wednesday’s game in Kelowna with an illness had crashed the net, and deflected Koch’s shot off his backside and home for his 48th goal of the season.
Ronning’s goal matched Evander Kane’s single-season mark of 48 goals that was originally set during the 2008-09 season. It also came against the flow of play as the T-Birds would end up outshooting the Giants 19-4 in the middle period. Thanks to the continued solid play of David Tendeck, the Giants took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission despite being outshot 34-15.
On their 39th shot of the game the Seattle Thunderbirds ‘finally’ solved David Tendeck when forward Noah Philp raced down the right-wing and placed a perfect shot past his glove and in for his 12th of the campaign.
Seattle kept pushing, and were it not from some brilliant stops in the late stages of the third from Tendeck, the Giants would not have forced overtime for a third straight meeting this season with Seattle. Shots through 60 minutes were 49-19 favoring the T-Birds.
A minute and 42 seconds into overtime the stage was set for Ty Ronning to score what may end up being one of the most memorable goals of his junior hockey career.
Seattle defenceman Jarret Tyszka started to move the puck out of his own zone up the right-wing, but his cross-ice pass was picked off by Ronning on the forecheck. Ronning then skated in alone on Hughes, got in close, faked to his forehand before scooping a backhand shot up and over the right pad and home to send the Langley Events Centre crowd of over 3400-strong into a frenzy!
The Giants mobbed Ronning, and also made sure they patted their goaltender on the back too. David Tendeck finished the night with 49 saves on 50 shots faced, marking a new game-high for saves in his WHL career. Liam Hughes finished with 19 saves on the 21 shots fired his way for Seattle.
With the victory, the Giants improved their record to 17-9-2-1 at home and 29-17-5-3 overall. Their 66 points keeps them four points back of both Victoria and Kelowna for first place in the B.C. Division while also maintaining a 12-point lead on Kamloops for third.
Next up for the G-Men: A trip to Everett to battle the Western Conference leaders, the Silvertips on Saturday at 7:00 PM.