Playoff hockey has arrived.
The Victoria Royals and Vancouver Giants took part in their first ever post-season meeting together last night, with the Giants holding on for a 2-1 victory.
The game – and series – got off to a physical start, with 6’4″ Giants defenseman Darian Skeoch being assessed a five minute major and game misconduct for checking to the head less than two minutes in.
The Royals enjoyed a five minute power play early on, but both teams were held scoreless in a fast-paced first period that included a missed penalty shot by former Royal Jared Dmitriw.
The second period is where all the action happened.
Vancouver scored the first goal of the series after a nifty play in the neutral zone created a two-on-one. Giants forward Ty Ronning held the puck, elected not to pass, and tried to tuck it in behind Griffen Outhouse, when the puck squirted to the slot for Milos Roman to bury.
But the Royals would only wait 6 minutes to score. In a vintage display of Matthew Phillips’ work rate, the diminutive forward stripped a bouncing puck from the Giants and found Dante Hannoun in the slot. Giants goaltender Trent Miner made the first stop, but Tanner Kaspick found the rebound and buried it low glove side.
The Giants, however, would find a way to squeak one past Outhouse late in the 2nd period. A shot from the point seemingly had eyes, as it found twine despite six players crowding the front of the net.
The Royals showed a spirited effort to even things up in the third, but Miner had a fantastic evening in net, stopping 40 of 41 shots.
Griffen Outhouse stopped 31 of 33 shots in the loss.
Game 2 goes tonight at 7:05!