Cain Franson scored twice, but the Vancouver Giants dropped a 5-3 decision to the Red Deer Rebels at the Enmax Centrium on Friday evening. Joel Hamilton had the other Vancouver goal. As a result of the loss, and the fact that the Everett Silvertips defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday as well, the G-Men remain in sixth in the Western Conference but are now only two point ahead of the 'Tips who hold three games in hand.
The Giants had a strong start to the hockey game and had a number of scoring chances in the early stages of the game. Franson opened the scoring just after the midway mark of the first when he walked out from behind the net and beat Patrik Bartosak with a nice wrist shot that snuck in underneath the cross-bar. The Rebels answered back later in the period when Wyatt Johnson scored just after a Vancouver penalty had expired, tipping an Adam Musil shot past Jared Rathjen in the Vancouver net.
Vancouver retook the lead in the first few minutes of the second period on a power play when Jackson Houck took a shot off the left wing, and Hamilton dug the rebound across the goal line for his ninth of the season. However, the Red Deer squad would strike twice in the latter half of the stanza to go ahead. First, Rhyse Dieno tied the game with a nice shot from the bottom of the left circle before Conner Bleackley scored on a rebound to make it 3-2.
The Rebels shut the game down in the third period, limiting the G-Men to just eight shots. Eventually, Kayle Doetzel scored on a long wrist shot that snuck past Rathjen through traffic to give Red Deer a two-goal advantage, but Franson netted his second of the evening with just under two minutes remaining to pull Vancouver back to within one. The Giants pulled the goalie in favour of an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game, but Dieno tallied his second of the night into an empty net to clinch the win. But the game wasn't finished there. In the final minute a brawl broke out after a whistle with a couple of large scrums involving all of the players on the ice and three fights. Arvin Atwal, Mason Geertsen, Tyler Morrison, Kolten Dixon, Aspen Sterzer and Devan Fafard were all given fighting majors while Bartosak was given a minor penalty for leaving the crease after he and Rathjen nearly fought as well.
Despite the loss, the Giants out shot the Rebels 34-25. Vancouver was 1-for-2 on the power play while Red Deer went 1-for-4.
The G-Men will continue their road swing in Edmonton on Saturday night against the Oil Kings. Catch the call on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show will start at 5:30pm, followed by the puck drop at 6 o'clock.
1. Conner Bleackley - Red Deer
2. Cain Franson - Vancouver
3. Haydn Fleury - Red Deer