Jackson Houck netted a hat-trick as the Vancouver Giants skated to a hard fought 6-5 victory over the Prince George Cougars at the CN Centre on Tuesday evening. Payton Lee made 21 saves to pick up his second straight victory while the G-Men also got goals from Dalton Sward, Brett Kulak and Cain Franson.
For the second straight game, Vancouver fell behind the eight-ball early as David Soltes opened the scoring for Prince George just 31 seconds into the contest. The Giants equalized when Sward scored his first of the year on a shorthanded break, and Houck put Vancouver ahead with a quick one-timer after a nice pass from Joel Hamilton from behind the net. Kulak made it 3-1 for the G-Men when he walked down the left wing and made a pretty deke into the slot before beating Cougars goalie Ty Edmonds short side. Prince George rallied in the late stages of the period and got two goals to tie the game. Marc McNulty netted a power play marker and Troy Bourke scored on a shorthanded breakaway to even the score.
The Giants retook the lead in the second period when Houck deflected Carter Popoff's centring pass into the Prince George net from the slot for his second of the game on the man advantage. Franson gave the G-Men a two goal lead with a smooth play to tuck a rebound past Edmonds after a point shot from Dalton Thrower, and Vancouver was up 5-3 through 40 minutes.
Houck completed his hat-trick in the first minute of the third period when Ty Ronning found him in front, and he just had to fire the puck into the yawning cage to give Vancouver a three goal advantage. The Cougars made it interesting late in the game when Alex Forsberg wired a wrister past Lee from the left circle. Chase Witala tied the game for Prince George in the final minute, and the Cougars put on a late push, but Lee shut the door to preserve the win for Vancouver.
The Giants and Cougars will go head-to-head again tomorrow night in Prince George. The puck drop is set for 7:00pm. Catch the call on TEAM 1410 and http://teamradio.ca beginning with the Pre-Game Show at 6:30pm.
1. Jackson Houck - Vancouver
2. Brett Kulak - Vancouver
3. Troy Bourke - Prince George