Vancouver Giants open WHL regular season with victory over Everett Silvertips

Photos by: Rik Fedyck
*Story by Alex Rodgerson
After a taking a major step forward as a franchise last season the Vancouver Giants hit the ice for their WHL regular season home opener on Friday night, dealing the Everett Silvertips a 3-1 defeat at the Langley Events Centre. Giants forward and Langley native James Malm lead the way for Vancouver with two goals, while goaltender David Tendeck made 30 saves for the Giants first victory of the 2018-2019 season. With Everett’s Carter Hart still making waves at Philadelphia Flyers training camp, goaltender Dustin Wolf would get the nod for the Silvertips looking good despite the loss.
Photos by: Rik Fedyck
Photos by: Rik Fedyck

Early in the first period Giants’ checking line forwards Justin Sourdif and Brayden Watts would establish a strong forecheck for the Giants, going hard to the net but unable to cash in early in the game. Neither team would register a soild scoring opportunity in the games opening minutes before Giants’ #4 Bailey Dhaliwal would lay a huge hit on Everett forward Dawson Butt in the Vancouver zone, to turn the momentum for the Giants. Remember this play for later on.

Minutes later the Giants would find themselves on a two-man advantage, but despite good puck movement the Silvertips would hold the Giants to only two shots on the powerplay. However just after the penalties would expire the Giants would break the deadlock as Owen Hardy, fresh off his experience at Canucks camp, would register the first tally of the year for Vancouver. The Giants would continue to control the game with their physicality until late in the period when Everett would answer back. Giants #41 Alex Kannok Leipert, a Washington capitals draft selection from this year, would jump into the play and walk into the slot before Silvertips Dawson Butt would come into the frame and belt him to the ice to nullify the opportunity and as well as get some revenge from earlier on.

Photos by: Rik Fedyck
Photos by: Rik Fedyck

Late in the period the Silvertips would bring themselves level as Martin Fasko-Rudas would get a stick on a point shot from Philadelphia Flyers’ draft choice Wyatte Wylie, sending the two teams to their respective locker rooms tied at one goal a piece.

The second period would begin with the Giants ahead in shots 13-11, before some strong play from the Silvertips would see them outshoot Vancouver in the opening minutes of the second. The Giants best opportunity of the period would come midway through the frame as James Malm would have his shot deflected, and trickle to the side of the net with Dawson Holt waiting to pounce on the loose puck. However, Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf would slam his left skate to the post and seal the post to deny the Giants their second lead of the game. The Giants would retake the lead in shots late in the period, outshooting Everett 18-17.

Fresh off his recent return from Arizona Coyotes training camp, Giants defenseman Dylan Plouffe slid back into the line-up in a seamless way, shutting down numerous attempts by the Silvertips to gain entry into the zone as well as having terrific gap control against Everett’s forwards. The Giants would be unable to break the deadlock until the final minute of the second period when Malm, who had a career-high 66-points last season, would break in on goaltender Dustin Wolf and snap a quick wrister stick side to give the Giants a 2-1 lead heading into the final frame.

Photos by: Rik Fedyck
Photos by: Rik Fedyck

With the two B.C. division teams tied at twenty shots a piece to begin the final period both teams would get an early opportunity on the powerplay, with neither team able to cash in. Giants’ goaltender David Tendeck, who along with Dylan Plouffe also just returned from Arizona Coyotes training camp, was the best penalty-killer for Vancouver as the North Vancouver product was his usual calm and cool self between the pipes.

The Giants would face a hard pressing Silvertips squad for the remainder of the period, as Everett would outshoot Vancouver 11-3 in the third. Late in the game, Silvertips forward Dawson Butt would finally see his physical play cross the line as the native of Buckley, Washington would receive a five minute major and a game misconduct for a high hit on Giants’ Aidan Barfoot. At first glance it appeared to be a borderline play, but after WHL commissioner Ron Robison declared in his opening week address that the league would be setting a ‘new standard’ when it comes to player safety, this one was deemed worthy of the ejection by the officials. Butt was clearly still hot under the collar after taking a huge hit in the first period, and the fact that the hit came with thirteen seconds left in the game most likely also factored into the referee’s decision. James Malm would cash in on the empty net and David Tendeck would shut the door the rest of the way as the Giants begin the year 1-0-0.

Vancouver Giants Home Opener vs Everette Silvertips Sept 21st 2018. Photo by Alex Rodgerson ISN
Vancouver Giants Home Opener vs Everette Silvertips Sept 21st 2018. Photo by Alex Rodgerson ISN

Next up is a rematch with the Silvertips tomorrow night in Everett as the Giants look to open the season with back-to-back victories.

Tonight’s ISN Scouting Report:

Vancouver Giants – D Bowen Byram (draft eligible in 2019)
Extremely smart hockey player with fantastic skating  and offensive abilities. Very high hockey IQ and rarely makes a bad decision on the ice. Could be selected as high as top-10 in 2019 NHL draft.

Everett Silvertips – D Wyatte Wylie (Philadelphia Flyers ’18)
Great vision from the back end, good at getting point shots to the net. An all situations player, logs heavy minutes on the powerplay and penalty kill.

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