Only three teams have rallied from 3-0 playoff deficits in the 52-year history of the Western Hockey League. The Victoria Royals will have to become the fourth if they are to get to the Western Conference final, which is a fate increasingly looking as if it will instead befall the Vancouver Giants.
Owen Hardy from Nanaimo scored twice, including a bankshot from behind the net at 13:34 of overtime, as the Giants defeated the Royals 5-4 to take the 3-0 stranglehold in their best-of-seven second-round series.
Vancouver outshot Victoria 42-15 in regulation time and it was 57-20 through a lopsided overtime as Royals goaltender Griffen Outhouse turned in another heroic performance.
Victoria is playing through an unholy mix of injuries and suspensions. Missing from the mix Tuesday night were leading-scorer Kaid Oliver, assistant-captain Kody McDonald, the energy provided by Tanner Sidaway, the calming steadiness of 20-year-old Ralph Jarratt, and also fellow blue-liner Jake Kustra.
Bowen Byram showed why he is projected to be the first defenceman selected in the 2019 NHL draft with an absolutely sick assist to tie the game 2-2 on the power play in the second period. The goal was scored by Milos Roman, who was based at the Memorial Centre with Slovakia during pool play in the 2019 world junior championship tournament.
Defenceman Mitchell Prowse made it 3-2 in the second period on just Victoria’s seventh shot of the game. Hardy tied it 3-3 at just 14 seconds of the third period.
Carson Miller scored on a deft move at 10:15 on Victoria 14th shot of the game but Vancouver tied it 4-4 through Alex Kannok Leipert at 15:40 of the third.
First-period goals by Sean Gulka and Igor Martynov, the latter on the power play, had given Victoria a 2-1 after Giants captain and former Royals forward Jared Dmytriw had opened scoring.
The Giants have been alternating Trent Miner, projected for the 2019 NHL draft and who recorded the 3-0 shutout in the first game, and second-game 2-1 overtime victor and Arizona Coyotes draft-pick David Tendeck. Miner made 16 saves Tuesday
Game 4 is Thursday at the Memorial Centre.