Brendan Gallagher was a rookie the last time the Vancouver Giants won at the Toyota Center. It was Dec. 13, 2008, and he had little to do with the 3-1 victory.
On Tuesday, Gallagher was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring three goals and the game winner in the shootout to lead the Giants to a 5-4 victory over the Tri-City Americans before a Valentine's Day crowd of 3,713.
"Me and Neil (Manning) were talking about that before the game," Gallagher said. "I remember watching (Craig) Schira score in the first few seconds of the game. (Tri-City) is a good team and they play us well. It was an exciting win for our guys. Every time we play them it's a different story line. I'm sure the next game will be different."
The Americans (38-14-1-2, 79 points) managed to get a point out of the game after tying the score late in the third and killing off a Vancouver power play in overtime.
"The first half of the game was theirs," Tri-City coach Jim Hiller said. "We had some great chances in the second half. Give them credit, especially Gallagher. He's a great player."
With the win, Vancouver (33-21-1-2, 69 points) is tied for fourth in the Western Conference with Spokane. The Giants play at Spokane today.
"We will be fourth for fifth," Gallagher said of the Western Conference playoff positioning. "We are fighting for home ice. It will be competitive to the end."
As was Tuesday's game.
Gallagher scored two goals in the third period, the second coming at 17:29 to give the Giants a 4-3 lead.
With time winding down, Vancouver's Cain Franson was whistled for goaltender interference at 18:30, giving Tri-City its fifth power play.
It didn't take long for the Americans to score as Zach Yuen lifted the puck into the net from the top of the crease at 18:41.
After a scoreless overtime, Eric Comrie stopped Marek Tvrdon to open the shootout, but Gallagher and Franson scored. The Americans went with Adam Hughesman and Patrick Holland to start, but neither scored.
"We are going to have to give that a little shake-up," Hiller said of his team's second shootout loss. "We save Shinny (Brendan Shinnimin) to the end and he hasn't gotten to fire."
Tri-City had a 3-2 lead at the end of the second period, and after Comrie stopped Franson's penalty shot at 5:57 of the third, the Americans were riding high -- until the ensuing faceoff.
Vancouver's Riley Kieser took the faceoff, the puck went to Gallagher, who put it in the net, catching Comrie off guard at 6:01.
"It was a good shot by Gallagher," said Comrie, who finished with 29 saves. "It was on his stick and he put it home. Too bad, we had a lot of momentum after the penalty shot."
Just 3 1/2 minutes later, Vancouver's Anthony Ast received a major for charging and a game misconduct, giving the Americans a 5-minute power play.
The Giants did not allow the Americans a shot on goal, keeping the game tied at 3.
The Giants came out firing in the first, registering three shots on goal in the first 40 seconds of the game, but Comrie turned them all away.
Tri-City connected on its first power play of the game at 10:43 as Brendan Shinnimin's second effort got the puck past Adam Morrison at the left post.
Vancouver, working on its first power play, tied the game at 14:17 as David Musil's shot from the top of the right circle found the net.
The Giants found themselves on the power play three minutes later, but it would be the Americans who would score.
Drydn Dow shoveled the puck out of the corner to Justin Feser, who sent it up ice to Patrick Holland. Going 1-on-1 against Musil, Holland sent the puck across the ice where Feser collected it and beat Morrison for his fourth short-handed goal of the season.
"They are a good team. They keep coming wave after wave," Comrie said. "They have guys who can make plays, but our defense limited their scoring chances to less than what they could have been."
Gallagher's breakaway goal at 5:38 of the second tied the score at 2 and gave him the Vancouver franchise record for career goals with 127.
The Americans went back out front at 16:18 as Shinnimin scored his second of the night.
Yuen's shot from the point was tipped by Musil in front of the net and the puck went off the cross bar. Shinnimin gathered the puck and put it in the net.