For the second weekend in a row, the Vancouver Giants staged a third-period comeback win, scoring three unanswered goals to erase a 4-2 deficit.
The Giants were playing their final pre-season game on Sunday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre, defeating the Everett Silvertips 5-4 in Western Hockey League action.
“It is important to find ways to win and I think our group did that,” said Giants head coach Jason McKee.
“Considering what we went through last year, I saw some good signs of guys not quitting, being down in games in the third (period) and finding a way to come back and win.
“We showed some maturity in that.”
The win capped off a perfect weekend as Vancouver went 3-0 and the Giants finished the exhibition portion of their schedule with a 5-1 record.
In the finale, Aidan Barfoot had tied the score with 4:13 to go and the game seemed destined for overtime until Alex Kannok Leipert buried the winner with 7.3 seconds left on the clock.
On the winning goal, Kannok Leipert — who also assisted in Barfoot’s goal — was trailing the play and took a perfect cross-ice pass from Milos Roman and wired a shot through traffic.
Goaltender Todd Scott went the distance in goal, making 34 saves and finishing the pre-season with a 2.45 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.
His four appearances in goal were the most of any Giants netminder, as the other four each played in two of the six games.
Austin King-Cunningham, James Malm and Owen Hardy had the other goals for the Giants and Malm finished the pre-season leading all Vancouver scorers with four goals and four assists in five games.
Malm had scored a hat trick and added one assist in Friday’s 7-3 win over the Prince George Cougars.
The Giants scored five times in the middle period to blow open a 1-0 game and lead 6-0 after 40 minutes.
Brayden Watts, Milos Roman, Cyle McNabb and Hardy had the other Vancouver goals.
In net, David Tendeck stopped all dozen shots he faced — he also led all Vancouver goalies in the pre-season with a 1.00 goals against and a .967 save percentage — before giving way to Trent Miner, who stopped 12 of 15 shots.
The Giants also edged the Victoria Royals 3-2 on the Saturday night.
Bowen Bryam led the charge with a goal and an assist while Jack Flaman and Roman also found the back of the net.
Scott and Kubic split the goaltending duties, each allowing one goal.
With the pre-season now in the books, the task becomes finalizing the Giants roster as they need to be down to 25 players prior to the first game of the WHL regular season on Sept. 22.
They currently have 28 players, but that includes some who are at NHL camps.
They are down to 16 forwards, nine defence and three goaltenders.
“It is not easy, there will be some moving parts,” McKee said.
“Some of it will have to do with age and position.
“We have to keep the 25 guys we feel give us the best chance to win games.”
For the most part, McKee was happy with his team’s showing the past two weeks, citing good goaltending and timely scoring.
“There are areas we need to clean up for sure, but definitely a lot of positives over the last two weeks,” he said.