Bruins drop two to Giants

The Chilliwack Bruins won the physical battle but lost the scoreboard war, dropping a 5-4 pre-season decision to the Vancouver Giants Saturday night at Prospera Centre.

Five different Giants scored goals as Vancouver swept both halves of a weekend double-header.

The Giants took a beating in a physical first period that saw the Bruins lay out several bone-crunching checks.

Sixteen-year-old rookie Kade Pilton got the hit parade started, running over R.J. Reed in the neutral zone. Reed got decked again minutes later when Zach Habscheid caught him looking the wrong way. Robin Soudek set off a fracas late in the period, lowering the boom on Vancouver defenceman Davil Musil.

Chilliwack native Wes Vannieuwenhuizen came to Musil’s defence, earning two minutes for instigating. On the power play, Jamie Crooks picked up the rebound from a Kade Pilton point shot and gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 12:13 of the opening frame.

The Giants took just 1:23 to tie on a goal that Cole Holowenko would definitely want back. The Chilliwack netminder gave up an iffy one as Scott Cooke beat him with a long shot from the Kal Tire ad along the right-wing boards.

Mitch Topping restored the one-goal lead 1:48 into period two, with a helping hand from Shayne Neigum.

Neigum wheeled away from a check in the right corner and spotted Topping sneaking in from the point. The cross-crease pass was perfect and Topping snapped it home for a 2-1 lead.

But the Giants quickly equalized as Cain Franson darted down the right wing and roofed a shot top-shelf blocker-side on Holowenko.

Musil gave Vancouver the lead at 11:58, taking a feed from Clarke Breitkreuz and launching a point-shot rocket past Holowenko.

Imports Caspar Carning (Sweden) and Marek Tvrdon (Czech Republic) blew the game open with back-to-back power play goals.

Chilliwack’s Tim Traber ended Vancouver’s run, scoring off a goal-mouth scramble with 16.5 seconds left to send his Bruins into the final frame facing a 5-3 deficit.

Steven Hodges got the Bruins within one in the opening minute of the third. The 16-year-old left flat-footed Giants D-man Luke Fenske grasping at air in the neutral zone and flew down the left wing to lift a backhand shot up and over Vancouver goalie Derek Tendler.

That was it for third period scoring highlights, but Jeff Einhorn didn’t need a goal to draw the biggest cheer of the night. The veteran blueliner unleashed a point shot that shattered a pane of glass behind the Vancouver net. The second biggest cheer came when the ice crew finished measuring, cutting and installing the replacement pane.

Chilliwack’s best and last chance to draw even came on a 1:35 two-man advantage. With Tvrdon already in the penalty box, Vancouver’s Jordan Martinook shot the puck over the glass for a delay-of-game minor. Chilliwack coach Marc Habscheid pulled Holowenko with 1:29 remaining, but the Bruins couldn’t cash in.

Chilliwack hosts Kelowna Friday night (7:30 p.m.) at Prospera Centre.

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