Giants 11, Silvertips 6: Vancouver ties series with unwavering effort

Vancouver had lost Games 2 and 3 by a combined 13-5 score after surprising Everett 5-4 in overtime in the opener.

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The Vancouver Giants have plenty of fight left it seems.

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The Giants, who were the eighth-placed team in the WHL’s Western Conference during the regular season, beat the first-place Everett Silvertips 11-6 Friday night at the Langley Events Center to even their best-of-seven quarterfinal series at 2- two.

Vancouver had lost Games 2 and 3 by a combined 13-5 score after surprising Everett 5-4 in overtime in the opener.

Game 5 is Saturday in Everett. Game 6 will be Monday at the LEC.

Vancouver led 6-4 after two periods Friday, but Everett’s Jacob Wright and Olen Zellweger tallied in the opening three minutes of the third to knot the score at 6-6.

The Giants, who have buckled all too often this season at the first inkling of adversity, never wavered this time. Team captain Zack Ostapchuk scored on a power play at 5:55 to give Vancouver the lead back and the Giants got it back to a two-goal margin when Colton Langkow tipped home an Alex Cotton shot at 6:40.

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Fabian Lysell made it 9-6 when he tallied at 9:27, much to the delight of a loud crowd announced at 3,112.

Ostapchuk, the Ottawa Senators prospect who’s Vancouver’s first line center, had two goals and four assists. Boston Bruins prospect Lysell, who teams with overager Adam Hall to flank Ostapchuk on that top unit, had two goals, while Hall bagged one to go with one assist. Cotton, the Langley-born defenseman who Vancouver added via trade with the Lethbridge Hurricanes early in the season, had two goals and two helpers. He’s a Detroit Red Wings prospect.

Center Ty Thorpe, and defenseman Evan Toth also scored for Vancouver.

Wright, a forward, had three goals for Everett. Forwards Ryan Hofer and Hunter Campbell joined Zellweger had singles.

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The Silvertips (45-13-5-5) finished 47 points ahead of the Giants (24-39-5-0) in league play. The teams did go 2-2-0-0 in their regular season series

Here’s what else we learned.

Swetlikoff will be back

The Silvertips get leading scorer Alex Swetlikoff back for Game 5. The overage center finished off his two-game suspension Friday night. That was supplementary discipline from the league office for his hit from behind on Vancouver winger Payton Mount in Game 2. Swetlikoff got a checking from behind double major on the play, and double minors are automatically reviewed by the league office.

Mount left Game 2 after the check and has yet to play again in the series.

Everett has been without 46-goal man Jackson Berezowski (undisclosed injury). No word on when he might be back.

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spirited rivalry

Lysell and Everett’s Niko Huuhtanen had a skirmish late in the first period and were sent off with coincidental minors. Vancouver’s Swede winger and Everett’s Finn winger have multiple spirited discussions over the season. Huuhtanen is a prospect of the Tampa Bay Lightning, a main rival of the Bruins. That means you could see each other regularly in the NHL.

Meanwhile, Thorpe had four minor penalties. A hooking openly late in the second period was suspect, and had the Giants fan faithful jeering referees Graedy Hamilton and Dexter Rasmuseen.

Key suspensions

The Giants inserted defenseman Brenden Pentecost and underage call-up forward Justin Ivanusec in the lineup for the defenseman Tom Cadieux and forward Matthew Edwards, who were both suspended by the league Thursday afternoon for checks in Wednesday’s loss. Cadieux received a major interference for a third-period hit on Everett forward Austin Roest. Later in the frame, Edwards received a checking to the head major for a hit on Everett defenseman Ty Gibson.

The Giants were also without top-six winger Cole Shepard (lower body injury), who hasn’t played since March 16. He has been skating with the team.


Saturday: Game 5

Everett leads best-of-seven series 3-1/Best-of-seven series tied 2-2

Vancouver Giants vs. Everett Silvertips

6:05 pm, Angel of the Winds Arena. Radio: Sportsnet 650.

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