Friday, November 22, 2013

G-Men Fly Past Thunderbirds 6-3

Trace Elson scored his first WHL goal and picked up a Gordie Howe hat-trick to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 6-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Pacific Coliseum on Friday night. With the win, the G-Men climbed to .500 on the season and moved to within one point of Seattle for seventh in the Western Conference. Vancouver also got goals from Rob Trzonkowski, Brett Kulak, Luca Leone, Joel Hamilton and Jackson Houck in the victory.

The T-Birds opened the scoring less than three minutes into the first when Jared Hauf's point shot found its way past Vancouver goalie Jared Rathjen through traffic. Vancouver responded to tie the game a few moments later when Trzonkowski, who was making his return to the lineup after missing 23 games due to injury, deflected a long shot from Dalton Sward past Thunderbirds net minder Danny Mumaugh. Late in the stanza, Hauf stepped up and laid a big open ice hit on Ty Ronning in the neutral zone, and Elson came to his teammate's defence, dropping the mitts with Hauf despite the face that the Seattle defenseman was eight inches taller and 35 pounds heavier than him.

Elson would net his first goal in the WHL in the second period when Carter Popoff found him in the slot with a pass from behind the net, and the native of St. Albert, Alberta buried it to put Vancouver ahead 2-1. Kulak extended the lead with his 10th of the year on a shot from the point that got past Mumaugh through the screen of Elson who was parked in front of the net, but Jaimen Yakubowski pulled the T-Birds back to within one goal when he hammered a rebound past Rathjen at the other end of the ice less than two minutes after Kulak's goal. Vancouver struck twice more before the end of the period to take a three goal lead to the break and chase Mumaugh from the Seattle crease. Leone tallied his first of the season when he scored on a sharp angle shot from the left circle, and Hamilton picked up his third of the year with less than 12 seconds left in the period on a shot from the high slot.

Houck added his name to the score sheet in the third period with a one-timer from in front of the net to put the Giants ahead by four. Vancouver got into penalty trouble later in the frame and gave Seattle six power plays. Fortunately for the Giants, the T-Birds were only able to convert once when Roberts Lipsbergs scored a pretty goal off the right wing by tucking the puck inside the post, and Vancouver stretched its point streak to seven games.

The Giants will now have an entire week off before they visit the Prince George Cougars for a double-header on Friday and Saturday. Both games are 7:00pm face-offs and can be heard on TEAM 1040 and

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Trace Elson - Vancouver
2. Carter Popoff - Vancouver
3. Jackson Houck - Vancouver

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