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Manning scores winner as Giants defeat Thunderbirds 4-2 @NHL

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Neil Manning scored the winning goal and added an assist as the Vancouver Giants defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2 in Western Hockey League action Sunday night.

Manning, a 19-year-old Nanaimo, B.C., native gave the Giants a 3-2 advantage on a power play at 1:37 of the third period as he skated across the slot, faked a slapshot and sidestepped a defender before beating Seattle netminder Calvin Pickard with a low shot to his glove side.

The goal capped Vancouver's comeback from a 2-0 early second-period deficit.

Sebastian Svendsen, Lance Bouma and TJ Barnett also scored for Vancouver (2-1) before a crowd of 5,517 at the Pacific Coliseum.

Colin Jacobs and Jonathan Parker replied for the Thunderbirds (1-2), who were outshot 39-24.

Vancouver, which entered the game with the league's second-best power play unit, went two-for-six with the man advantage. Seattle was blanked on its four chances.

The Giants played without three of their top scorers from last season. Evander Kane is still with the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers while James Wright has received an extended stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Garry Nunn is sidelined six to eight weeks with a broken leg.

Rookie Brendan Jensen, a 16-year-old El Granada, Calif., native, made his WHL debut in goal for the Giants and picked up his first major junior win. He is one of 10 players on the Vancouver roster who had not played a single WHL regular season game before Thursday.

The Giants looked like they were still getting to know each other as they did not record a shot in the first eight and a half minutes of the game, while Seattle only managed four in that time span.

Jacobs opened the scoring at 14:13 of the first period as Jensen failed to squeeze his shot from close range. Parker put the Thunderbirds ahead 2-0 at 1:49 of the second as he easily converted a Tyler Alos pass on a two-on-one.

Hodder cut Vancouver's deficit in half about three minutes later as he one-timed Brendan Gallagher's goalmouth pass. Bouma created a 2-2 tie midway through the second during a power play. Manning drew an assist on the goal, which came after Mitch Elliot was penalized for high-sticking.

Vancouver outshot Seattle 18-6 in the middle frame.

Manning's winning goal came after Stefan Warg took a roughing penalty 13 seconds into the third. Barnett put the Giants ahead 4-2 at 11:16 as he jammed in Bouma's rebound after the Vancouver captain had one-timed Kevin Connaughton's cross-ice pass.

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