Story by Alex Rodgerson/ISN
With the WHL preseason coming to a close and the start of the 2018/2019 regular season just around the corner, the Vancouver Giants dropped their fourth preseason game in a row as the Everett Silvertips shut out the Giants 4-0 at the Langley Events Centre. Everett successfully avenged a blowout loss to Victoria from the day before, while the Giants wrap up the preseason with a 2-3-0-1 record.
The Silvertips would come out strong early in the first period against Vancouver, throwing their weight around and taking a 4-0 shot advantage just minutes in. Everett would then draw first blood as Ronan Seely would take the puck around his defender with a great power move and slide it underneath Trent Miner to give the Silvertips a 1-0 lead just 4:19 into the game.
Everett would add to their lead just minutes later, with Gage Goncalves finding the back of the net to make it 2-0 Silvertips, as the Giants would struggle to contain Everett’s feisty forwards down low. The Giants would continue to struggle defensively late in the period, as Goncalves would take the puck back to the front of the net and cash in on his second of the afternoon. The period would conclude with the Giants down by a score of a 3-0 while being out-shot by the Silvertips 12-4.
0:58 seconds into the second frame the game would see its first penalty as the Giants would receive a too many men on the ice bench minor, leading to the Silvertips first powerplay of the afternoon. Vancouver would kill off the bench minor but not before several great scoring opportunities for Everett, as the Giants penalty killers would be slow to covering the points. Just after the six minute mark of the period veteran Giants defenceman Matt Barberis would make his presence felt, crunching a couple of Everett forwards before heading to the box for boarding. The Giants would kill off the ensuing powerplay and the temperature of the game would rise a notch.
The Giants would head to their first powerplay almost midway through the second period, with 1st PP unit James Malm, Yannick Valenti and JD Watt unable to generate any offense. The second unit would be unable to do any better, and the game would return to even strength. The Giants would continue to play physical late the second period as two-way forward Jared Dmytriw would establish a hard forecheck, something that was absent from Vancouver’s game early in the contest. However, Dmytriw would head to the box for cross-checking late in the period, keeping the Giants offensive threats off the ice. Trent Miner would make his best save of the evening with three minutes to go in the period, as Everett’s Sean Richards would drag the puck across the slot before letting go a dangerous snapshot, only to be kicked out by Miner. The Giants offense would fail to generate any good opportunities in the remaining minutes of the period and head to the dressing room still down by three.
The Giants would face an uphill battle to start the third, with Everett outshooting Vancouver 21-12. Early in the final frame however Everett defenceman Kyle Walker would go to the box for interference, giving the Giants their second powerplay of the game and a chance to cut into the lead. On the man advantage the Giants would look to set up an umbrella PP strategy, feeding the puck back to Matt Barberis at the point. This would lead to some good puck movement by Vancouver, however the Silvertips would successfully keep the Giants to the outside perimeters and kill off the penalty.
The Giants would keep up the pressure after the powerplay, keeping Everett hemmed in their own zone and forcing the Silvertips to take another minor just moments later. The Giants would continue to play the majority of the period in the offensive zone before Matt Barberis would be called for a four minute penalty for Slew-Footing, bringing the Giants momentum to a screeching halt. The Silvertips would capitalize on the following double-minor to make it 4-0 visitors, and the Giants would go on to be shutout to end the preseason for Vancouver.
In order for Vancouver to improve on a 2017-2018 campaign that saw them earn sixteen more victories than just a year prior, the Giants will need to give up far less goal-mouth opportunities. During Sunday’s loss to Everett the Giants would make it far too easy for opposing forwards to skate off the side boards and make a play. Several key Giants still attending NHL rookie camps were absent from tonight’s contest: David Tendeck, Dylan Plouffe, Owen Hardy, Milos Roman and Alex Kannok Leipert.
With Sunday afternoon’s affair between Vancouver and Everett marking the final game of this years Preseason Tournament at the Langley Events Centre involving Vancouver, Victoria, Prince George and Everett, the Giants now turn their attention to their September 21st regular season opener. The Giants finish the tournament 0-3 while Victoria went 2-1, Prince Geroge 2-0, and Everett 1-1.