Vancouver Giants continue to have no answer for Seattle Thunderbirds goaltender Liam Hughes.
Hughes made 41 saves to backstop the visiting T-Birds to a 5-1 victory over the Giants in Western Hockey League action at Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
The Langley-based G-Men lost for just the third time in 15 games, falling to 10-3-2-0 and two of those regulation losses have come at the hands of Hughes and the Thunderbirds (7-3-2-0).
Vancouver had a nearly two-to-one shots on goal advantage as they fired 42 pucks on the Seattle goal compared to the Thunderbirds’ 24. But it was Seattle who made the most of its opportunities.
Seattle got on the board first at 8:08 as netminder David Tendeck made a save on a shot from Nolan Volcan, but the rebound bounced off Matthew Wedman as he drove the net and into the goal. It was reviewed, but ultimately ruled a good goal.
A Vancouver Giants miscue led to the second T-Birds tally as Samuel Huo intercepted a clearing attempt and beat Tendeck from the slot.
Seattle opened the game up with goals 76 seconds apart from Noah Philp and Wedman (off a scramble) early in the middle frame, ending Tendeck’s night after just a dozen shots.
The Giants would fire 17 pucks on Liam Hughes in each of the second and third periods, with only Milos Roman able to find the back of the net. That goal came 4:36 into the third period and the Giants had some glorious opportunities and three power plays – including a 58-second two-man advantage – but could not get any closer.
Dillon Hamaliuk would make it 5-1 on a beauty, making a nifty move to get in all alone and then slipping the puck past Trent Miner for the game’s final goal.
Vancouver finished 0-for-7 on the power play.
The short-handed Giants were missing James Malm, their leading scorer, and only dressed five defencemen as they are still without a handful of regulars including Dylan Plouffe and Matt Barberis, who are also sidelined with injuries.
Despite the loss, the Giants remain at the very top of the B.C. division and the Western conference with their record of 10-3-2-0 and they’ll look to climb back into the win column Sunday.
That’s when the team hosts the Brandon Wheat Kings at Langley Events Centre at 4 p.m. This game is also trick- or-suite night where fans who dress up for Halloween can trick-or-treat in the suites during intermission.