Saturday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna the Vancouver Giants fell 5-3 to the Kelowna Rockets.
Andrew Cristall and Colton Dach each had three points for the Rockets who struck twice in the first period on a power play, and never trailed.
Cole Shepard responded with two points for the Giants while Jaden Lipinski and Ty Thorpeadded the other goals for Vancouver. Will Gurski made 36 saves in the Giants goal while Talyn Boyko responded with 31 for Kelowna.
The first power play goal of the night for Kelowna came 2:26 into the game off the stick of Minnesota Wild prospect forward Pavel Novak. The Czech forward converted off a give-and-go in close off a passing sequence with Colton Dach. For Novak it marked his team-leading 24th tally.
Novak wasn’t done. At 13:31 he made a no-look pass from beside the Giants goal along the left-wing to Andrew Cristall. From there, Cristall wired home his 17th of the season, also on a power play to stake the Rockets to a 2-0 lead.
RECAP: Saturday in Kelowna the Giants fell 5-3 to the Kelowna Rockets despite a scrappy road effort. Cole Shepard chimed in with two points for the G-Men. Rematch goes tomorrow at 4 from the LEC.
📸: Steve Dunsmoor pic.twitter.com/BQeBSsED8a
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) March 6, 2022
Jaden Lipinski put the Giants on the board at 1:55 of the second period. The rookie crashed the net, and pounced on a Colton Langkow rebound and snapped it home for his second goal of the season.
Just 42 seconds later, the Rockets answered when Gabriel Szturc (13) took a Dylan Wightman feed in the slot, and converted for his 13th to restore a two-goal lead for the home side.
Andrew Cristall’s third point of the night came off a goal at 13:30. Cristall stayed with a bouncing puck caught up in feet in the slot and stuffed a low backhand shot home for his 18th.
25 seconds later Ty Thorpe moved Vancouver back within two when he found a loose puck in close, and tucked it home in traffic. Thorpe’s 14th was set up by Evan Toth.
Cole Shepard then moved the Giants back within one with a power play marker from the left-wing point that found its way home through traffic. Shepard’s seventh was set up by Tom Cadieux and Mazden Leslie.
At 5:08 into the third period, Jake Poole moved the game out of reach with his 13th goal of the season for the Rockets.
Cole Shepard now has points in each of his past four games. In that span he’s posted three goals and two assists for five points. He’s got seven points (3G, 4A) in his last seven games dating back to February 18.
Giants are now 4-3-1-0 against Kelowna this season and fell to 1-2-1-0 against them on the road.
Despite the loss the Giants remain two points ahead of Prince George for sixth place in the Western Conference standings, and are four points ahead of Spokane who currently sit in eighth.
Next up, a rematch with the Rockets Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
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