Near collapse offers teaching moment
After nearly letting lead slide, Ronning says club learned its lesson
Considering how things finished against the Edmonton Oil Kings, it will be interesting to see how things start for the Vancouver Giants versus the Red Deer Rebels.
On Sunday, the Giants nearly coughed up a seven-goal, thirdperiod lead against the Oil Kings at the Langley Events Centre, hanging on for an 8-7 triumph. It was certainly a messy way to improve their lacklustre record in one-goal games, bumping it up to 3-6-2-2.
They don’t have to wait long to try to rebound.
Vancouver (8-8-2-2) takes on Red Deer at the LEC tonight (7 p.m., TSN 1040).
The Rebels carried an 8-11-1-0 record into a Tuesday visit to the Victoria Royals.
“We haven’t had a lead like that in a while,” said Giants winger Ty Ronning, the New York Rangers prospect who scored in his seventh straight game to up his team-leading goal total to 19 as part of Sunday’s festivities. “We didn’t know how to handle it. We let our foot off the gas and things like that can happen when you do that.
“We got the two points, but it was ugly at the end. We will learn from it, though.”
Vancouver’s struggles the past few years are no secret. They have missed the playoffs three straight springs and four of the past five seasons. Their last victory by seven goals or more was Oct. 18, 2014, when they thumped the Prince George Cougars 9-1. The largest margin of victory last season was four goals and they managed it just once. Their largest this season has been three, a feat they’ve achieved five times.
On Sunday, Davis Koch scored for Edmonton at the 11:07 mark of the third to make it 8-2 and Vancouver quickly unravelled. Colton Kehler made it 8-7 when he tallied at 19:54. The Oil Kings couldn’t manage another shot, though.
It was a sixth straight loss for the Oil Kings, who are last in the WHL at 5-12-2-0.
“We hung our goalie out to dry,” Ronning said of Todd Scott, the rookie netminder who went the distance in the Vancouver crease. “That’s not good at all. He’s our teammate. And he’s been playing so well.
“We didn’t quit. We aren’t known for that. I do think we lost focus.”
Vancouver is expected to have standout rookie defenceman Bowen Byram, 16, in the lineup tonight. He missed the past five games while at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek and Fort St. John. Byram helped Canada Red to a spot in the final, where they lost 6-4 to the Americans. He was later named to the tournament all-star team.
Byram is among the Giants’ leaders in ice time, which is rare for a 16-year-old rearguard. He has one goal and eight assists in 15 games with Vancouver to go with a plus-6 rating. He’s tied for fourth on the team in plus-minus.
The Rebels, coached by Brent Sutter, had dropped six straight (0-5-1-0) heading into Tuesday’s game on Vancouver Island.
The Giants are at the Kamloops Blazers on Friday and then home to the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday.
Ty Ronning, centre, and the Vancouver Giants nearly let a seven-goal lead slip away Sunday against the Edmonton Oil Kings. The visitors scored six times in the game’s final nine minutes to turn an 8-1 laugher into a one-goal victory for the Langley Events Centre hosts.