Defeat Friday, rematch Sunday – Giants do battle with Americans

The Langley junior hockey travels to Spokane for a Saturday game, then back to Kennewick Sunday.

(Judy Simpson photo)

After beating the division leaders in overtime Wednesday night in Kelowna, the Langley-based major junior ice hockey team took a whooping last night in the United States.

The Vancouver Giants fell 6-2 to the Tri-City Americans in Kennewick, Wash. Friday.

But despite the defeat, there were some personal highlights for some of the G-Men hitting the ice that night.

Giants forward Milos Roman returned to the team’s lineup after missing the previous 23 games with an injury, and he took his turn trying to light up the scoreboard.

As well, with an assist on recently drafted Ty Ronning’s first period goal, Davis Koch has now run his point-streak to four straight games for the Giants. He has five assists in that span.

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How did the game shake out?

Rookie Sasha Mutala led the way for Tri-City with two goals and an assist while four other Tri-City forwards had multi-point games, pointed out Dan O’Connor, the Giants’ play-by-play broadcaster.

Meanwhile, Ronning and Dylan Plouffe answered with power play goals for the Giants.

Between the pipes 20-year-old Patrick Dea backstopped the Americans to the win with 27 saves, while David Tendeck made 34 in response for the Giants.

Fresh off a 4-3 overtime win Wednesday, the Giants offence struck early just 2:12 into the first on the power play, O’Connor recounted.

Tyler Benson carried the puck across the blueline, fed a pass to Koch along the left-wing. Koch quickly one-timed a pass towards the front of the net to Ronning who tipped it past the left pad of Dea for his 57th of the season and a 1-0 Giants lead.

A few shifts later Giants’ Roman snuck past the Tri-City defence and roofed a backhand shot up and over the left shoulder of Dea.

“Unfortunately for Roman and the Giants the shot went clean off the crossbar and stayed out. It was one of four goal-posts hit for the Giants during Friday’s game,” O’Connor said.

Late in the first the Americans struck three times in a span of two minutes and 13 seconds.

First Morgan Geekie evened the score with his 27th then shortly thereafter Jordan Topping (37) and Sasha Mutala struck 26 seconds apart to open up a 3-1 lead for the home side. Shots were 13-9 after one, and the score remained 3-1.

Territorially the second period was a strong one for the Giants who outshot Tri-City 9-7, but Dea (and his goal-posts) continued to keep the Giants at bay offensively.

At 18:10 of the period Nolan Yaremko tipped home a Dylan Coghlan feed from the right point home for his 20th of the season to extend Tri-City’s lead to 4-1, which is how the score stayed through the end of the second.

At 6:59 of the final period Mutala scored his second of the night when he beat Tendeck cleanly off a shot from the right-wing.

Seconds earlier, Dawson Holt had wired a shot from the high slot off Dea’s goal-post and the ensuing rush from Tri-City resulted in Mutala’s 11th of the season and second of the night.

Defencemen Dylan Plouffe (11:48) and Juuso Valimaki (17:15) traded goals for their respective teams in the back-half of the third, which ultimately led the 6-2 Tri-City victory.

Vancouver finished the night two-for-three on the power play and four-for-five on the penalty kill. The final shots on goal were 40-29 for Tri-City (33-24-8-1) who clinched a playoff berth with the victory Friday night. The Giants (34-24-6-3) fall to 1-1 on their current stretch of five straight games on the road.

Up next for Vancouver is a trip to Spokane for a matchup Saturday night against the Chiefs, marking the second and final meeting between these two clubs.

Then, the Giants will then return to the Tri-Cities on Sunday to face the Americans once again.

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for ongoing coverage of the Giants games

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