Giants drop home opener

Bowen Byram returns to Langley-based team to play against Portland

With the expectations of another run to the WHL championship on the minds of the fans, the Vancouver Giants raised both their 2018/19 B.C. Division and Western Conference championship banners to the Langley Events Centre rafters on Friday night.

But it was the visiting Portland Winterhawks who skated away with the two points following a 4-2 victory.

“It is nice seeing those go up. We haven’t had those in a while,” said Giants captain Alex Kannok Leipert. “(But) we just have to build that culture again because we are a different team from last year. We can’t expect to be where we were in May right now.”

The Winterhawks never trailed, leading 2-1 after one period and 4-1 through 40 minutes.

READ MORE: Assembling a new Vancouver Giants not an easy task

Tristan Nielsen’s power-play goal in the opening minute of the final frame gave the Giants some life but despite a 14-6 shots on goals advantage in the third, Vancouver could draw no closer.

The teams traded goals 10 seconds apart in the first period with Clay Hanus striking on a Portland power play before Milos Roman answered right back. Tyson Kozak would give the Winterhawks a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes before Lane Gilliss and Tyson Kozak added second-period markers.

“Second period, we got out of sync and we got a little frustrated,” said Vancouver head coach Michael Dyck, adding the team’s third period was a much better effort. “With the lineup we have right now, we are going to have to play a really smart game. We are young up front, our power play has to convert, and we have to stay disciplined.”

The Giants power play did connect on one of five chances, but the penalty kill also allowed two goals on four shots.

“We held onto the puck a little bit too long a couple of times there and just some undisciplined things,” Kannok Leipert said. “(But) you can take a lot away from that game. They played quick. They were good on their opportunities. They got a few bounces. We got a lot better and we are going to bounce back tomorrow. We will be OK.”

The Giants, who sit at 2-1-0-0 on the season, are right back in action as they travel to Kamloops to face the Blazers. Vancouver wraps up the weekend with a return game at Langley Events Centre against the Kelowna Rockets. Game time is 4 p.m.

READ MORE: Byram signs three-year-contract with Avalanche

Friday’s game did mark the return of Bowen Byram, as the defenceman was sent back to Vancouver by the Colorado Avalanche. And the fourth overall pick in last June’s NHL Draft jumped right into the lineup and finished with a pair of assists.

Next up, a trip to Kamloops on Saturday (Sept. 28) to play the Blazers at the Sandman Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.

Photos by Rik Fedyk

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Friday’s (Sept. 27) game against Portland marked the return of Bowen Byram to the Giants, as the defenceman was sent back to Vancouver by the Colorado Avalanche. Rik Fedyk photo

Just Posted

PJHL delays start of season as teams struggle to secure facilities

The junior B hockey league was hoping to start Sept. 29 but is now targeting mid-October

Missing Chilliwack woman last seen on Wednesday

Friends and family concerned for Joy-Lynn Leon, 42, who was last seen Sept. 23 on Mary Street

Abbotsford has a COVID-19 rate 10 times higher than Chilliwack

Abbotsford has been much harder hit by COVID-19 than its neighbour to the east

Chilliwack illusionist Chris Funk brings live magic, music to Cultural Centre

‘You’ll see some creations that have made appearances on some of the largest television shows in the world’

River scavenger hunt on tap

IGotSASS hosts a hunt for the most environmentally significant spots in Agassiz-Harrison

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read