The Vancouver Giants twice battled back from two-goal deficits, only to allow the Portland Winterhawks each time to reel off quick back-to-back goals, as the GMen lost 9-5 to Portland on Friday night at Pacific Coliseum.
The loss drops the Giants to 5-13-0 on the WHL season, while the Winterhawks jumped to 14-3-1.
The GMen got off to an early start, as Anthony Ast snapped a rebound past Portland goalie Brendan Burke just 3:51 into the game.
But the lead didn’t last long, as Adam De Champlain tied it up a couple minutes later as his wristshot from the slot beat Giants goalie Payton Lee.
Taylor Peters gave the Winterhawks a 2-1 lead with 4:42 left in the period, beating Lee five-hole on a rush down the left wing.
Portland dominated the first period, capping a very good twenty minutes with a Michael Leipsic power-play goal with 53 seconds left in the frame. His tally was set up off a pretty rush and drop-pass from defenseman Seth Jones, a likely top-two pick in this spring’s NHL draft.
Portland out-shot the Giants 16-5 in the first frame.
The second period was a different story though, as the Giants killed off an early Wes Vannieuwenhuizen penalty, then saw Trevor Cheek score at the 6:27 mark to make it a 3-2 game.
Cheek tied it up five minutes later, as a strong rush down the left wing resulted in a wrist shot that beat Burke.
But the tie didn’t last long, as Tyler Wotherspoon made it a 4-3 game for Portland just three minutes later, on a wrist shot from the side boards.
That opened the floodgates, as Tyler Leier snuck a soft backhand through Lee’s five-hole 11 seconds later, making it a 5-3 game and ending Payton Lee’s night.
Tyler Fuhr took over in the Giants goal and was forced to make a few key saves right off the bat, keeping the game within Vancouver’s reach.
But just like in the second period, the Giants started the third period with a bang as Marek Tvrdon scored his 8th goal of the season a mere 1:16 into the frame.
That seemed to energize the Giants, as Carter Popoff evened the score at 5-5 a few minutes later, as his wrist shot from the top of the slot on a 3-on-2 snuck past Burke.
That goal ended Burke’s night, as Mac Carruth took over in the Winterhawks’ goal.
But, much like in the second period, the Giants allowed the Winterhawks to regain the lead, as Alex Petan slipped one past Tyler Fuhr just three minutes after Popoff’s goal.
And again, just like in the second period, Paul Bittner scored 35 seconds later as the Winterhawks regained their two-goal cushion at 7-5.
Portland added two late goals to cement a 9-5 win.
Winterhawks outshot the GMen by a 51-20 count.
The Giants host Prince George Sunday afternoon at Pacific Coliseum.
TEAM1040 pregame show begins at 3:30, with opening faceoff at 4:00.