Vancouver Giants’ Matt Barberis scored his first two goals of the season. Unfortunately for the Giants, that was not enough as they lost 6-5 in a shootout and 4-3 in regulation over the weekend in Victoria to the league-leading Victoria Royals. Gary Ahuja Langley Times file photo

Victoria a Royal pain for Giants

Vancouver delivers better effort, but still falls twice to Victoria in WHL action

The results were the same, but the Vancouver Giants did show improvement.

The Giants had opened the Western Hockey League season with a pair of losses to the Victoria Royals — the top team in the league — by a combined score of 13-2.

And Vancouver had a chance to show how much has changed in the 11 games since as they went to Victoria for two more games this past weekend, losing twice — once in the shootout — but at least showing the games were not lopsided affairs.

Both games were played at Victoria’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena.

The Giants rallied from three goals down in the third period of Saturday’s contest before losing 6-5 in a shootout. Sunday’s matinee was tied at three in the third period before the Royals’ Matthew Phillips scored short-handed for the 4-3 victory.

Coupled with Vancouver’s 2-1 loss on Friday night to the Prince George Cougars, the Giants sit at 5-7-1-2.

Matt Barberis’ first of the season opened the scoring in Saturday’s contest for the Giants before Ryan Peckford tied things at one after 20 minutes. The Royals’ Eric Florcuk and Phillips would make it 3-1 before James Malm cut the deficit to one goal after 40 minutes. Regan Nagy and Jared Leglen scored 16 seconds apart to seemingly put the game out of reach, but Owen Hardy and Tyler Popowich pulled the Giants within a goal and Ty Ronning forced overtime with a power-play marker in the final minute.

After neither team scored in overtime, Phillips was the lone player to score in the shootout round.

David Tendeck made 37 saves in the loss.

Barberis — fresh off a one-goal, four-point game — opened the scoring for the second straight game, to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead at the first intermission on Sunday.

Phillips and Ronning exchanged second-period goals 15 seconds apart before Peckford and Nagy tallied for a 3-2 Royals lead heading into the third.

Milos Roman struck early in the period for the Giants before Phillips scored an unassisted short-handed marker for the winner.

Giants goalie Todd Scott made 20 saves in the loss.

Vancouver is back in action this weekend with a home-and-home series against the Kamloops Blazers, Friday at the LEC (7:30 p.m. puck drop) and Saturday in Kamloops at the Sandman Centre.

The Giants will look to create some separation in the standings from the last-place Blazers who are five points back of Vancouver.

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