A three-goal first period was more than enough offence as the Vancouver Giants stretched their winning streak to a season-high three games, taking the front-end of a home-and-home series with the Portland Winterhawks.
The Giants defeated Portland 3-1 on home ice at Langley Events Centre Friday night, improving to 10-8-1-0.
They now have points in four straight games while the Winterhawks (10-5-0-1) lost for just the second time in regulation in the past 10 games.
Lukas Svejkovsky, Tanner Brown, and Evan Patrician each found the back of the net in a dominant opening period that saw the Giants outshoot Portland 21-9 during those first 20 minutes.
The Winterhawks did ramp up the pressure in the second, but could not dent the Giants lead.
The Giants were short-handed four times (including being down two men for 72 seconds), but the Western Hockey League’s top power play team at 28.1 per cent could not solve the Vancouver penalty kill.
Trent Miner’s shutout bid was ruined, however, with 5:18 to play as Reece Newkirk finally solved the Giants netminder. After a slow start to the season, Miner has stopped 76 of 79 shots over the last three games – a .962 save percentage.
In Friday’s game, especially the first period, Vancouver was effective in transitioning the puck, said Giants coach Michael Dyck.
“We wanted to play fast, that is one of the keys against this team,” Dyck said. “They play fast so you have play fast to beat them.”
The coached added: “(And) top to bottom, I thought we were pretty good, starting with our goaltender.”
The victory is Vancouver’s third in a row and they also have points in four straight as they look to build some consistency. A big difference has been the fact the Giants schedule has seen a reduction in games.
They played 11 games in 24 days in October while Friday’s contest was just their third in the past dozen days, meaning they have had more time to focus on practice during the week.
“The past three games we have been doing our best just to take it to teams and not beat ourselves. We do that each night and we have a chance to win,” said captain Alex Kannok Leipert.
“The trust is building more and more every day and the chemistry is coming together. We just have to get not too high and not too low and see how we can build off it.”
Both teams now head to Portland for the rematch on Saturday night. The Winterhawks have lost just once in six home games.
GIANTS GAME DAY!
Part 2 of the home-and-home is tonight in Portland.
📸: Chris Relke pic.twitter.com/JHytCFLsQY
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) November 9, 2019
By the numbers
Friday night at the Langley Events Centre in front of more than 3,800 strong the Vancouver Giants (10-8-1-0) secured a 3-1 victory over the Portland Winterhawks (10-5-0-1).
VAN – Lukas Svejkovsky increased his goal-scoring streak to three straight games when he buried his fifth at 2:19. Jackson Shepard and Seth Bafaro helped set it up.
VAN – Tanner Brown doubled the Giants lead at 7:25. He raced down the left-wing, took a feed from Tristen Nielsen and wired his first career WHL goal past the glove of Joel Hofer. Alex Kannok Leipert had the second assist.
VAN – Evan Patrician extended his point-streak to four straight games when he converted from the slot. Lukas Svejkovsky and Jackson Shepard assisted on his second goal of the season. The time of the goal was 15:02.
Shots: 21-9 Vancouver
Shots 11-7 Portland
POR – The lone Winterhawks goal of the game came at 14:42 from Reece Newkirk. The New York Islanders prospect took a pass from the high slot, spun around and snuck a low shot past Trent Miner’s stick. Seth Jarvis and Jaydon Dureau had the helpers.
Shots: 10-7 Vancouver
Final score: Vancouver 3 – Portland 1
Final shots: 38 – 27 Vancouver
Trent Miner: 26/27 saves for Vancouver (5-4-1-0)
Joel Hofer: 35/38 saves for Portland (10-3-0-1)
Vancouver: 0/4 on the Power Play
Portland: 0/4 on the Power Play
3 Stars: Trent Miner (VAN – 26 Saves); Lukas Svejkovsky (VAN – 1G, 1A); Evan Patrician (VAN – 1G, +2)
Friday’s victory for the Giants snapped a five-game winless skid against Portland.
Lukas Svejkovsky has now scored a goal in three straight games for the Giants.
Trent Miner is now 3-0 in his past three appearances.
Over his past four games, Evan Patrician has registered one goal and four assists for five points.
The Giants scored three goals in the first period for the first time since September 21st in Prince George.
Jackson Shepard suited up in his 200th career WHL game on Friday night against Portland.