Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Franson Lifts Giants Past Rebels in OT

Cain Franson scored with 39 seconds left in overtime to give the Vancouver Giants a 3-2 win over the Red Deer Rebels at the Pacific Coliseum on Tuesday night. Dmitry Osipov and Thomas Foster also scored for Vancouver in the win while Payton Lee stopped 26 shots in a first star performance between the pipes.

Tuesday night marked another milestone for Head Coach Don Hay as he picked up his 604th career WHL victory to move past Lorne Molleken into second on the all-time list.

The Rebels had the best early chance of the game when Rhyse Dieno made a nice move in the slot to get right in on goal but was stopped by Lee from in close. The first goal of the evening didn't come until the final two minutes of the opening period when Osipov netted his second of the year with a quick shot from the slot after a hard-working play on the left boards by both Luca Leone and Travis McEvoy.

Vancouver got into penalty trouble in the second period, giving the Rebels a full two minute five-on-three power play after Dominik Volek, Tyler Morrison and Dalton Sward all took minor penalties. The Rebels thought they'd tied the game when Connor Bleackley chipped the puck into the Vancouver net, but the goal was disallowed because Lee's mask came off before the puck crossed the goal line. Lee came up big later in the power play with a gigantic stop on Bleackley, and the Giants completed the kill. Moments after the penalties expired, Foster gave Vancouver a two goal lead, finding a rebound in front of the Red Deer net and beating Patrik Bartosak. The Rebels pulled to within one late in the stanza when Aspen Sterzer scored on a net drive off the right wing.

The Giants gave Red Deer two more power plays in the third period, and the Rebels capitalized on the second one when Bleackley scored a highlight reel between the legs goal to tie the game and eventually force overtime. Before scoring the winner, Franson made a big defensive play in his own zone by splitting up a two-on-one with Sterzer and Scott Feser bearing in on goal. Franson ended the game when he tipped a Tyler Morrison point shot past Bartosak for his 21st goal of the season.

The Giants will continue their four-game home stand on Friday against the Calgary Hitmen. The face-off is set for 7:30pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Payton Lee - Vancouver
2. Patrik Bartosak - Red Deer
3. Brett Kulak - Vancouver

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