Vancouver Giants captain Zack Ostapchuk joins team’s walking wounded

Vancouver, which coughed up a 3-2 third-period lead on Sunday to drop its fourth straight game, is sixth in the WHL’s Western Conference with eight games remaining on its schedule

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First-line center and team captain Zack Ostapchuk has joined the Vancouver Giants’ suddenly crowded injury list.

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Ostapchuk (upper body injury) was hurt in Vancouver’s 5-2 loss Friday at home to the Seattle Thunderbirds and sat both a 6-2 road defeat to Seattle on Saturday and a 5-4 home setback to the Prince George Cougars on Sunday.

Ostapchuk, who was a second-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators last summer and has already signed with the Senators, was joined on the Vancouver sidelines Sunday by center Ty Halaburda (upper body), winger Cole Shepard (lower body), defenseman Alex Cotton (lower body) and goaltender Jesper Vikman (lower body).

Winger Fabian Lysell (lower body), who missed Saturday’s game, returned to the lineup on Sunday. Lysell (Boston Bruins), Cotton (Detroit Red Wings) and Vikman (Vegas Golden Knights) are Vancouver’s other NHL Draft selections, along with Ostapchuk.

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Vancouver also had wingers Adam Hall and Justin Lies return to the lineup Sunday from league-imposed suspensions.

Vancouver dressed just 16 skaters Saturday, two below the usual complement. They were at 18 skaters for Sunday.



Vancouver Giants vs. Spokane Chiefs

7 pm, Langley Events Centre. Radio: Sportsnet 650. web stream:

“We’re not sure how long Cotton and Shepard are going to be, and I guess we’re still evaluating Ostapchuk,” Giants coach Michael Dyck said after Sunday’s game. “Hopefully all three of those guys are available next weekend, but we’ll know a little more this week.

“It’s frustrating. It just goes from bad to worse. The guys who played last night played hard and it was a grinding game. Did fatigue play a little bit of a factor in the third period (Sunday)? I don’t know. But when you play with nine forwards it catches up with you.”

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Vancouver (23-33-4-0), which coughed up a 3-2 third-period lead on Sunday to drop its fourth straight game, is sixth in the WHL’s Western Conference with eight games remaining on its schedule. The Victoria Royals (22-35-5-1) are tied in points but have fewer wins and played three more games, and the eighth-place Cougars (22-35-2-1) are three points back with the same number of games.

The ninth-place Spokane Chiefs (22-35-2-1) are seven points back and Vancouver has a game in hand on them.

The Giants host the Chiefs at the Langley Events Center on Saturday (7 pm, Sportsnet 650) and Sunday (4 pm, Sportsnet 650).

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