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'Banged up' Giants fall to Royals

Vancouver loses 3-1 to Victoria at the Langley Events Centre
Giants forward Johnny Wesley pushes the puck forward against the Victoria Royals on Friday.

One period wasn't enough for the Giants on Friday.

Trailing 3-0 heading into the third, Vancouver made a push in the final frame, but could only muster one goal to fall 3-1 to the Victoria Royals.

Victoria took a stranglehold on the game in the first, going up 2-0 on goals from Jack Walker and Scott Walford on the power play.

A Giants turnover at the point led to a Royals two-on-zero breakaway in the second period, and that resulted in a goal from Ethan Price.

Vancouver was buzzing in the third, and Tyler Popowich gave the Giants some life scoring 54 seconds into the period, but that's as close as Vancouver got.

Giants head coach Jason McKee said it was a good effort in the third, but didn't like his team's play early on.

"I thought we had a good third and played with a lot more energy and aggressiveness," he said. "In the first two, guys stood around and watched too much."

McKee noted that the Giants rang a shot off the crossbar in the third that could have made it a one-goal game, and he stressed that the team needs to make the most of their offensive chances.

The Royals third goal proved to be the backbreaker, but McKee said his defender had the right idea.

"Guys were just trying to be aggressive on a face-off play in their zone," he said. "It was a decision with the puck that hurt us, but we were trying to score - it happens."

Injuries continue to be an issue for the Giants, with eight players scratched on Saturday. Key forwards Tyler Benson, Jack Flaman and Matt Barberis did not play, as well as defenders Dylan Plouffe and Darian Skeoch.

The injuries have allowed some new faces to shine, in affiliate players Bowen Byram and Kaleb Bulych, who both had strong games.

"They're giving us everything they have," McKee said. "We're really banged up back there and we need healthy bodies. They're playing a lot of minutes, and gaining some valuable experience."

The Giants were outshot 31-22 in front of a crowd of 4,283 at the LEC. Giants goalie Ryan Kubic made 28 saves in the loss.

Vancouver's record drops to 17 wins, 28 losses, one overtime loss and three shootout losses and they remain in the basement of the WHL's B.C. division.

The Giants have now lost three straight, but get another shot at the Royals tomorrow (Saturday) in Victoria. They stick around in the provincial capital for another game against the Royals on Sunday.

Vancouver's next home game is on Friday (Feb. 3) when the Calgary Hitmen come to town.

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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