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Vancouver Giants defeat Royals 5-2 in Victoria's return to the WHL

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VANCOUVER - Brendan Jensen made 26 saves Friday as the Vancouver Giants defeated the Royals 5-2 in Victoria's first Western Hockey League regular-season game in 17 years.

Cain Franson, with a goal and an assist, Anthony Ast, Marek Tvrdon, Jordan Martinook and Dalton Sward scored for the Giants (1-0-0), while Nathan Burns added two assists.

Steven Hodges and Robin Soudek replied for Victoria (0-1-0). Braden Gamble stopped 28 shots in the losing effort.

Friday was the first regular-season WHL game for a Victoria team since 1994. The Chilliwack Bruins moved to Victoria this summer.

Vancouver opened the scoring with 1:38 to go in the first. Burns fed the puck down to Franson, who found Ast cutting in front.

The Giants had a goal disallowed on a four-minute power play in the second but were rewarded 74 seconds later when Kiefer McNaughton's point shot was deflected by Tvrdon at 12:06.

Jensen picked up an assist on the Giants' third goal when Franson rushed down the left wing and unleashed a wicked wrist shot that beat Gamble stick side at 18:49 of the second.

Victoria got on the board 95 seconds into the third when Hodges backhanded the puck past Jensen.

Martinook restored the three-goal lead while shorthanded at 9:35, knocking the water bottle off the net to the delight of the 6,818 in attendance.

Victoria added a second goal when Soudek wristed a shot past Jensen at 15:30, but Sward scored into an empty net to seal it.

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