Saturday, July 19, 2014

Busy Week at the Coliseum

It's been an incredibly busy week around the Giants. A Memorial Cup bid. A new radio deal, and a new coach.

Links to everything you need to know are below.

Giants Bid for 2016 Memorial Cup

Press Release

Steve Ewen's Province Article

Kelly Friesen's Yahoo! Buzzing The Net Article


Giants Renew Partnership with TEAM Radio

Press Release



Giants Name Troy Ward Head Coach

Press Release

Steve Ewen's Province Article

Brad Ziemer's Vancouver Sun Article

Cam Tucker's Metro News Article




Friday, July 4, 2014

Giants Draft Bobylev

The CHL Import Draft was held earlier this week, and for the second year in a row the Giants drafted a Russian, selecting 17-year-old forward Vladimir Bobylev with the 21st overall selection. Bobylev and defenseman Dmitri Osipov, who went first overall in last year's import draft, are expected to fill the two import spots on the Giants roster for the upcoming season.

Vlad Shushovksy, the agent for Bobylev as well as Saskatoon Blades standout Nikita Scherbak, told Steve Ewen of The Province that Bobylev is similar to Scherbak.

"I would say that Scherbak is more skilled, but Bobylev is a meaner kid,” he said. “This guy drives hard. He’ll come off the wall and go to the net.

“He’s a kid with a Russian name but he plays a North American style.

“Vancouver Giants fans can expect a power forward.”

Read the full article from The Province here.

Here's the press release from the Giants:

The Vancouver Giants selected 17-year old Russain forward Vladimir Bobylev in the 2014 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Bobylev played 35 games with Atlanty Mytischi of the Molodyozhnaya Hokkeinaya Liga (MHL) in Russia last season. The 6'3", 198lbs forward had 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) and registered 36 penalty minutes in the 35 games.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rathjen Shipped to Medicine Hat

While the Canucks stole the headlines in Vancouver with three trades on Friday, the Giants made a move as well, sending goalie Jared Rathjen to Medicine Hat for a fifth round bantam pick.

The 20-year-old puck stopper played in 48 games over two seasons with the Giants, posting a record of 15-19-5-1.

Here's the press release from the Giants:

The Vancouver Giants have traded goaltender Jared Rathjen to the Medicine Hat Tigers in exchange for a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2015 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. 

Rathjen played 29 games with the Giants last season. He finished the regular season with a 13-8-4-1 record and posted a Goals Against Average of 2.98 and a .898 Save Percentage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Giants Schedule: Five Key Dates

The Vancouver Giants released their schedule for the upcoming 2014-15 season today. You can get the full press release and see the full schedule here, but here are five key dates to circle on your calendar.

For ticketing information, click here or call 604-444-2687.

September 20th vs. Victoria - The Giants will once again open the regular season on home ice against their division rivals from the island. This will be the first of 10 games between the two clubs and should be a dandy when you look at the fact that these two teams produced entertaining hockey in every single one of their meetings last year.



September 26th vs. Portland - The Western Conference champions visit the Rink on Renfrew in a rematch of last season's first round playoff series in which the Winterhawks swept the G-Men out of the post-season. However, this Portland team will look a lot different with the departure of Head Coach Mike Johnston and blueliners Mat Dumba and Derrick Pouliot likely headed to pro hockey.



October 17th vs. Kamloops - This is the big one. Don Hay returns to the Pacific Coliseum as the Head Coach of the Kamloops Blazers after a decade of coaching the Giants including a WHL Championship in 2006 and a Memorial Cup win in 2007. The WHL's second winningest coach will be hoping to steer the Blazers' ship in the right direction after a season to forget last year.



February 11th vs. Edmonton - The Memorial Cup champions will pay their only visit to Van City. It's one of only two meetings between the two clubs. Of note, the G-Men actually beat the Oil Kings 5-1 the last time the two teams met in Edmonton on February 22, 2014.



March 20th vs. Kelowna - Fan Appreciation night and the final home game of the regular season for the Giants will see them face the BC Division champion Kelowna Rockets. The G-Men will then conclude the season the following night in the Okanagan, but as was the case last year, these games -- against what should be a strong Rockets club -- will be a good test for the Giants late in the year.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Giants Sign Two Players

The Vancouver Giants signed a pair of players this week, locking up first round pick Dawson Holt and goaltender Cody Porter to standard WHL agreements.

Holt spent last season playing in the Saskatoon Generals Bantam program while Porter split the 2013-2014 season between the Vancouver North West Giants of the BC Major Midget League and the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL.

Here's the Giants' release on Holt:

The Vancouver Giants are proud to announce the signing of Dawson Holt to a Western Hockey League Player Agreement.

Holt was drafted by the Giants in the first round (8th overall) of the 2014 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft.

The Saskatoon native, played 26 games with the Saskatoon Generals Bantam AA of the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League. The 5'10", 165lbs forward had 73 points (35 goals, 38 assists) with the Generals.

"I am extremely happy to have signed with the Giants," said the 15-year old. "The organization is top notch and I have heard great things about the city and the fans. I'd really like to thank the Giants for this opportunity and look forward to the next step in my hockey career."

Here's the Giants' release on Porter:

The Vancouver Giants are proud to announce the signing of goaltender Cody Porter to a Standard Western Hockey League Agreement.

Porter, a North Vancouver native, played five games with the Vancouver North West Giants of the BC Major Midget Hockey League and posted a Goals Against Average of 1.75 and a .942 Save Percentage.

The 6'1", 181lbs goalie also played 16 games with the West Kelowna Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League last season. In the 16 games with the Warriors, Porter posted a Goals Against Average of 3.55 and a .875 Save Percentage.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hay Heading Home to Kamloops

It's the end of an era in Vancouver. Giants Head Coach Don Hay is heading back to his home town to take over behind the bench of the Kamloops Blazers. It will be Hay's second stint as the Blazers' bench boss after he led the club to back-to-back Memorial Cups in 1994 and 1995. Hay leaves the Giants after 10 seasons as Head Coach. During his time in Vancouver, the team won the WHL Championship and the Memorial Cup and only missed the playoffs once under his tenure. Hay also moved into second place on the WHL's all-time coaching wins list this past season.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank Don for this past season. It was a pleasure to work with such a legendary coach, and I wish him all the best in Kamloops.

Here's the full press release from the Giants:

The Vancouver Giants announced today that Don Hay will return to his hometown to coach the Kamloops Blazers.

"Blazers' Owner Tom Gaglardi contacted me last week and asked for permission to speak with Don," said Giants Majority Owner Ron Toigo. "I'm sure Don is looking forward to moving home and spending more time with his family and enjoying the time with his grandkids. He came here when we were a young franchise and helped develop an identity for the Giants, and showed us how to win. He leaves with a Memorial Cup, WHL Championship, and 5 BC Division Titles. I can't say how much we appreciate what Don has done and what he has meant to the Vancouver Giants Franchise."

The Kamloops native joined the Giants in the 2004-05 season and was with the Giants for 10 seasons. Hay became the third coach to reach a milestone 600-career regular season WHL wins this past season.

"I'd like to thank Ron Toigo and the ownership group of the Vancouver Giants for giving me the opportunity to be the Head Coach in Vancouver for 10 great years," said Hay. "I've really enjoyed my time in Vancouver and it's hard to leave the team. I'd also like to thank everyone in the organization that helped us have success along the way - assistant coaches, trainers, and most importantly the players. And last but not least, I'd like to thank all the Vancouver fans for their support through the years."

In his 10 seasons with the team, Hay coached the Giants to a 401-252-26-37 record. He guided the Giants to win five straight B.C. Division titles (2006 to 2010), and to appearances at the Western Conference Finals in four of five seasons, and two straight WHL league Finals (2006 and 2007). Under his leadership, the Giants won the WHL Championship in 2006 and the Memorial Cup in 2007.

Further information will be provided by the Kamloops Blazers.

Giants Draft Day Recap

Bantam draft day is almost always an eventful day for WHL teams, and the Giants were no exception as they added 13 players on Thursday, selecting 11 in the draft and trading for two others. In the first round, the G-Men selected a pair of centremen, adding Dawson Holt and Brendan Semchuk. Meanwhile, Vancouver picked up defenseman Clayton Kirichenko (96) in a trade with Saskatoon and reacquired forward Matt Bellerive (94) from Kamloops.

Also of note, the Giants drafted defenceman Max Gildon in the third round. Gildon was widely considered as one of the best, if not the best, blue liners in the draft, but whether he decides to play in the WHL or go the college route remains uncertain.

Here's a full breakdown:

First Round:

8th overall
Dawson Holt – Saskatoon, SK – Centre – 5'11", 165lbs
2013-2014: Holt posted 35 goals and 38 assists in 26 games with the Saskatoon Generals Bantam AA.

"It's an unreal experience [to get drafted by Vancouver] and I’m super excited to be a part of the Vancouver Giants organization,” said Holt. "I’ve heard so many great things about the team and I’m so proud and excited to get a chance to play for Vancouver."

10th overall

Brendan Semchuk – Kamloops, BC – Centre – 5'10", 160lbs
2013-2014: Semchuk scored 45 goals and 32 assists in 51 games with the Kamloops Blazers Bantam A1-T1.

"It's an honour getting drafted by the Giants," said Semchuk. "I didn't know where I was going to get drafted to, but it’s been a dream of mine to play for Vancouver. It’s nice and close to home, and I’m looking forward to joining the team."

Second Round:

29th overall
Dylan Plouffe – Sherwood Park, AB – Defence – 5'10", 196lbs
2013-2014: Plouffe had 22 goals and 36 assists in 33 games with the Sherwood Park Bantam AAA United Cycle Flyers and was named the AMBHL Most Outstanding Defenceman.

42nd overall

Owen Hardy – Kelowna, BC – Centre – 5'11", 180lbs
2013-2014: Hardy netted 40 goals and 35 assists in 53 games played with the Pursuit of Excellence Bantam program in the Okanagan.

44th overall
James Malm – Langley, BC – Centre – 5'8", 160lbs
2013-2014: Malm played with the Burnaby Winter Club Bantam A1-T1 team.
2012-2013: Played for the Langley Eagles Bantam A1.

Third Round:

51st overall
Max Gildon – Plano, TX – Defence – 6'1", 160lbs
Gildon had 19 points in 31 games with the Dallas Stars U16 program.

He was highly touted heading into the draft with Chris Dilks of SB Nation speculating that he could even go as high as the top three. Read the full piece here.

Kelly Friesen of Yahoo! Sports said the Giants "may have walked out of the draft with the biggest mid-round steal" if they can recruit him. Read the full piece here.

"Max is the best defenceman in the draft and it is now our responsibility to convince him to join our program," said Giants GM Scott Bonner.

66th overall (did not pick – traded to Saskatoon in exchange for Clayton Kirichenko)
Clayton Kirichenko – Sherwood Park, AB – Defence – 6'0", 187lbs
2013-2014: Kirichenko suited up in 70 games for the Blades, tallying three goals and nine assists.
2012-2013: Kirichenko had 22 points in 30 games with the Sherwood Park Kings Midget AAA.

Sixth Round:

114th overall (did not pick – traded to Kamloops in exchange for Matt Bellerive)
Matt Bellerive – North Vancouver, BC – Right Wing – 5'11", 188lbs
2013-2014: Bellerive picked up 18 goals and 23 assists in 60 games split between Red Deer and Kamloops.

Bellerive returns to Vancouver where he began his WHL career. The Giants selected Bellerive with the 43rd overall selection in the 2009 draft, and he played 98 games for the G-Men before being traded to Red Deer.

"We are happy to get Matty back in the program," said Giants' General Manager and Executive Vice President Scott Bonner. "We know he can help offensively and he's familiar with our program."

130th overall
David Tendeck – North Vancouver, BC – Goaltender – 6'0", 155lbs
2013-2014: Played for the North Shore Winter Club Bantam A1-T1.

Seventh Round:

134th overall
Bailey Dhaliwal – Mission, BC – Defence – 6'2", 185lbs
2013-2014: Dhaliwal played for Mission Bantam A1.

139th overall
John St. Ivany – Manhattan Beach, CA – Defence – 5"9", 155lbs
2013-2014: St. Ivany played for the LA Junior Kings.

Eighth Round:

156th overall
Jaren Turnquist – Calgary, AB – Right Wing – 5'11", 160lbs
2013-2014: Turnquist had six goals and six assists in 30 games with the Calgary Bisons Bantam AAA.

Ninth Round:

183rd overall
Myles Mattila – Prince George, BC – Right Wing – 5"9", 165lbs
2013-2014: Was team captain of the Prince George Cougars Bantam T1.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Giants Ousted by Portland

The Vancouver Giants' season came to an end on Wednesday night as they lost 6-1 to the Portland Winterhawks in Game 4 of their first round series. Carter Popoff had the Giants' lone goal. Payton Lee started the game and allowed three goals on 13 shots before being replaced by Jared Rathjen who stopped 29 of 32 pucks that were thrown at him.

The first period was much like the opening frame of Game 3. The Giants pressured, had chances, but couldn't capitalize. Vancouver nearly opened the scoring on a golden opportunity for Brett Kulak in close, but the Giants defenseman fired the puck over the goal, and Portland went ahead moments later when Brendan Leipsic netted his fifth goal of the series on a power play. It was then that the Winterhawks took over the game. Adam De Champlain made it 2-0 just 32 seconds after Leipsic's marker when a Paul Bittner shot bounced off him and past Lee, and Alex Schoenborn completed an impressive stretch of three goals in 56 seconds when he walked off the left boards, in alone on Lee, and beat him cleanly, ending the Vancouver goaltender's night.

Popoff gave Giants fans a glimmer of hope in the second period when he put Vancouver on the board, hammering a rebound past Winterhawks goalie Brendan Burke at the right post for the Giants' first power play goal of the series, but Oliver Bjorkstrand responded for Portland with a power play marker of his own before the end of the period to restore the three goal lead for the visitors.

The Winterhawks kept pushing to start the third period and put any hopes of a Giant comeback to rest early when Keegan Iverson hammered a hard slap shot past Rathjen from the top of the right circle just 2:50 into the period. Chase De Leo picked up his first of the post-season in the later stages of the period as the Winterhawks closed out the win, completed the sweep and became the second team in the WHL to advance to the second round. (The Edmonton Oil Kings moved on with a win over Prince Albert earlier in the evening.)

The end of the season marks the end of three junior hockey careers as 20-year-olds Cain Franson, Tim Traber and Dalton Thrower, who hadn't played since January due to injury, will not be back next season. Click on each player's name above to see their career WHL stats. They were honoured as the three stars in the building after the game. I said it on Twitter after the game, but I'll say it again. They're all fine young men who have great things ahead of them, and I wish them all the best.

The Winterhawks will now move onto the second round and wait to see who they'll face next. If all the teams that are currently leading in the other series go on to win, then Portland will go up against Victoria.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Dalton Thrower - Vancouver
2. Cain Franson - Vancouver
3. Tim Traber - Vancouver

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pre-Game Report: Game 4 - Giants vs. Winterhawks

The Vancouver Giants will look to stave off elimination when they host the Portland Winterhawks in Game 4 of their opening round series on Wednesday evening at the Pacific Coliseum. The G-Men trail the series 3-0 after dropping a 6-3 decision on Tuesday.

The Giants face a must win game on Wednesday after Tuesday's loss. The G-Men conceded two power play goals in the first period and trailed 4-0 at the midway mark of the second period before beating Portland net minder Brendan Burke three times in the second half of the game. Despite the loss, the Giants fired 28 shots on Burke's net after only managing a combined 31 shots in the opening two games south of the border.

Brendan Leipsic had another good game for the Winterhawks on Tuesday, leading the Portland squad with two goals and two assists. The 19-year-old Winnipeg native now has seven points in three playoff games, leaving him in third in WHL playoff scoring. The Portland power play has now scored four goals against the Giants in the last two games after only finding the net three times against Vancouver in the regular season series.

Where: Pacific Coliseum

When: 7:00pm

Tickets: Visit vancouvergiants.com or call 604-4-GIANTS

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:00pm.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Winterhawks Double Giants 6-3; Take 3-0 Series Lead

Brendan Leipsic led the way for the visiting Portland Winterhawks, scoring two goals and two assists, as the Oregon club took a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series against the Vancouver Giants with a 6-3 win at the Pacific Coliseum on Tuesday night. Alec Baer, Joel Hamilton and Trent Lofthouse scored in the losing cause for the G-Men.

The game started well for the Giants as they generated some chances and out shot the Winterhawks in the early stages, but Derrick Pouliot opened the scoring on Portland's first power play of the night, beating Vancouver goalie Payton Lee on a point shot through traffic. Leipsic netted his first of the evening later in the frame, sending the 'Hawks to 2-for-2 on the man advantage when he hammered a quick one-timer in underneath the cross-bar from the right circle. Carter Popoff had a couple of strong chances around the net for Vancouver late in the period, but Winterhawks goalie Brendan Burke turned them all aside.

Portland came out strong in the second period, and Taylor Leier made it 3-0 just 1:21 into the middle frame when he forced a turnover at the Portland blue line and skated in on a breakaway, beating Lee on the stick side after a shifty head-fake. Leipsic put the visitors ahead by four at the seven minute mark, pouncing on a loose puck behind the Vancouver goal and tucking a backhanded wraparound inside the right post. The Giants got on the board with less than five minutes to go in the period when Jackson Houck sprung Alec Baer in on a breakaway, and the 16-year-old beat Burke between the legs for his first career playoff goal.

Oliver Bjorkstrand restored the four-goal lead for Portland in the third period when he buried a loose puck in the slot area, but Hamilton pulled Vancouver back to within three when he knocked home a one-timer from in close while the Giants were killing a penalty. Lofthouse tallied a one-timed goal of his own minutes later to make it 5-3, but Paul Bittner would find the net late for Portland to end all hopes of a Vancouver comeback.

Vancouver was 0-for-3 on the man advantage, but two of their power plays were shortened by the fact that they took penalties while they were up a man. The Winterhawks were 2-for-5 on their power play. Portland out shot Vancouver 34-28.

Game 4 goes on Wednesday night at the Pacific Coliseum at 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Brendan Leipsic - Portland
2. Taylor Leier - Portland
3. Brett Kulak - Vancouver

Pre-Game Report: Game 3 - Giants vs. Winterhawks

The Vancouver Giants will look to battle back in their first round series against the Portland Winterhawks when the two teams face-off in Game 3 at the Pacific Coliseum on Tuesday night. The G-Men dropped the opening two games in Portland and trail 2-0 in the best-of-seven set.

Vancouver struggled mightily in a 3-0 loss in Game 2 on Saturday. The Giants mustered only 15 shots on goal and had a tough time gaining any traction in the offensive zone. Discipline was also an issue for the G-Men as they gave the Winterhawks nine power plays in the game, and Portland capitalized on two of them. Payton Lee was once again a bright spot for the Giants, turning aside 40 of 43 shots. The Cranbrook native has a .920 save percentage through the opening two games of the series.

The Winterhawks put forth an impressive effort in Game 2. Portland controlled the hockey game for long stretches at a time in the attacking zone, but the 'Hawks were also much stingier in their own end of the ice. While the Giants only mustered a combined 31 shots over the two games, the quality of Vancouver's chances in Game 1 were far greater than in Game 2, and Brendan Burke had very little work to do in earning his first playoff shutout.

Where: Pacific Coliseum

When: 7:00pm

Tickets: Visit vancouvergiants.com or call 604-4-GIANTS

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:00pm.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Winterhawks Blank Giants 3-0 in Game 2

The Portland Winterhawks took a 2-0 series lead on the Vancouver Giants with a 3-0 shutout victory at the Moda Center on Saturday night. Brendan Burke made 15 saves for the goose-egg while Portland got goals from Nic Petan, Alex Schoenborn and Taylor Leier. Payton Lee stopped 40 of 43 shots in the loss for the G-Men.

The game was closely contested in the early minutes of the first period. Both teams battled hard and had opportunities, but the opening goal didn’t come until the latter half of the stanza when Petan struck on a power play for the Winterhawks, scoring the eventual winning goal on a one-timer from the bottom of the right circle after a nice feed from Oliver Bjorkstrand out of the left corner.

The ‘Hawks continued to ramp up the pressure in the second period and extended the lead with two goals in a 1:40 span. Schoenborn netted his first of the post season, knocking a rebound between the legs of Lee from the top of the crease, and Leier capitalized on a man advantage when he was sprung in on a breakaway after a pretty stretch pass from Derrick Pouliot, and he made no mistake, beating Lee stick side to put the home team ahead by three.

The Portland squad took the life out of the game in the third and frustrated the Giants into taking a number of penalties. Vancouver generated a couple of chances in the late going but never really tested Burke in the Winterhawk net.

Discipline was once again an issue for the Giants as Portland went 2-for-9 on the power play while Vancouver was 0-for-4. The Winterhawks had a heavy shot advantage for the second night in a row, finishing ahead 43-15.

The series will now shift to Vancouver for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Wednesday at the Pacific Coliseum. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Taylor Leier - Portland
2. Brendan Burke - Portland
3. Nic Petan - Portland

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pre-Game Report: Game 2 - Giants at Winterhawks

The Vancouver Giants will look to even their best-of-seven opening round series with the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night when the two teams face-off in Game 2 at the Moda Center. The Winterhawks won the opener 4-3 on Friday night.

The Giants battled hard in the Game 1 loss and nearly forced overtime, despite the fact they were heavily out shot over 60 minutes. The Vancouver club was perfect on the penalty kill, holding the Winterhawks off the scoreboard on their five man advantages, but the G-Men will look to be more disciplined on Saturday. Payton Lee was the story of the night for Vancouver, stopping 41 of 45 shots in his first WHL playoff start.

The Winterhawks had two-goal nights from both Brendan Leipsic and Oliver Bjorkstrand on Friday and controlled the game for large portions, pinning the Giants in their own zone for minutes at a time. The Portland club will look to try and capitalize on more of their opportunities on Saturday as a number of their offensive chances went by the wayside in Game 1. Brendan Burke was solid between the pipes for Portland, despite allowing an awkward goal from Brett Kulak in the third period.

Where: Moda Center; Portland, OR

When: 7:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:00pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca

Friday, March 21, 2014

Winterhawks Edge Giants in Thrilling Opening Game

Photo courtesy of winterhawks.com
Oliver Bjorkstrand scored with 1:37 remaining in the third period to lift the Portland Winterhawks to a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Giants in the opening game of their best-of-seven Western Conference Quarter-Final series. Vancouver got goals from Jackson Houck, Thomas Foster and Brett Kulak in the losing cause while Payton Lee stopped 41 shots in his first post-season start.

The G-Men started the game with enthusiasm and pressured the Winterhawks in the opening minutes of the contest. Houck opened the scoring for Vancouver with a nice net drive after a good pass out of the left corner from Carter Popoff. Brendan Leipsic pulled the Portland club back into a tie later in the frame when he shovelled home a rebound after a Derrick Pouliot point shot. The 'Hawks then used the momentum to their advantage and took the lead 43 seconds later when Bjorkstrand tallied his first of the evening. The first period then ended prematurely because of a broken gate at the Vancouver bench, and the teams were sent to the dressing rooms for the intermission with 2:52 remaining on the clock in the opening stanza. After the break, the teams finished the first period, and Foster pulled the Giants back onto level terms within moments of the restart, scoring up high on Portland net minder Brendan Burke after a nice centring pass from Cain Franson.

The G-Men had a couple of golden opportunities to go ahead in the second period. Franson was able to get around the Portland defence and in on a breakaway during a Vancouver penalty kill, but he bobbled the puck and the last minute and missed wide of the right post on the back-hand. Moments later, Tyler Morrison, who had been in the penalty box, stepped back onto the ice and received a stretch pass from Franson, sending him in alone on Burke, but the Winterhawks goalie came up with the save to keep the game knotted at 2-2. Leipsic would find the back of the net again late in the period to restore the Portland lead, completing a nice give-and-go play with Nic Petan by scoring on a one-timer.

Vancouver sustained some more heavy pressure from the Winterhawks early in the third, but Lee made a couple of big stops, including an impressive glove save on Taylor Leier, to keep Vancouver within one goal. Kulak would tie the game for the Giants on one of the strangest goals you'll ever see. The Vancouver defenseman carried the puck across centre and send a hard dump in off the end boards. However, the puck bounced off the back wall, ricocheted back in front, hit the back of Burke's right skate and trickled across the goal line. After the equalizer, it looked like the game might be headed for overtime, but the Winterhawks came up with another late goal as Bjorkstrand picked up a loose puck at the top of the crease and tucked it into the net to make it 4-3. The Giants were given a late power play in the final minute and pulled the goalie as well hoping to tie the game, but they were unable to get the puck to the net, and Portland took the opening game of the series.

Neither team scored on the power play with the Vancouver penalty kill going a perfect 5-for-5 while also failing to score on their three opportunities with the man advantage. The Winterhawks had the heavy advantage on the shot clock -- 45-16.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday night at the Moda Center for Game 2. Catch the action on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show begins at 6:00pm, followed by the face-off at 7 o'clock.


3 Stars:
1. Brendan Leipsic - Portland
2. Oliver Bjorkstrand - Portland
3. Payton Lee - Vancouver

Pre-Game Report: Game 1 - Giants at Winterhawks

The Vancouver Giants will open the 2014 WHL Playoffs on Friday evening when they visit the Portland Winterhawks for Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarter-Final at the Moda Center. The G-Men went 0-3-0-1 against Portland in the season series this year.

The G-Men return to the post-season following a one year absence after they missed the second season for only the second time in franchise history last year. The Vancouver club will be hoping to have Cain Franson back in the line-up after he missed the last two regular season games due to injury and skated with a non-contact jersey in practice this week. Goaltender Jared Rathjen is expected to be able to dress for Vancouver as well. He hasn't played since March 1st.

The Winterhawks enter the playoffs as the second seed in the Western Conference and the defending Ed Chynoweth Cup champions. The Portland squad won 28 of its final 29 games to end the regular season and hasn't lost consecutive contests since a four game losing skid in early January. Winterhawks forwards Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand finished the year in second and third in WHL scoring respectively, and Bjorkstrand was one of only three players in the league to score 50 goals in the regular season.

Where: Moda Center; Portland, OR

When: 7:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:00pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kulak Signs with Flames

Congratulations are in order for Giants blue liner Brett Kulak as he has inked his first NHL contract. The 20-year-old defenseman signed an entry level deal with the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.

Here's the press release from the Flames:

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have signed defenceman Brett Kulak from the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League to a three year entry level contract.

Kulak, a native of Stony Plain, AB, playing in his third full season with the Vancouver Giants, tied for eighth in WHL scoring among defencemen with 14 goals and 46 assists for 60 points and 51 penalty minutes in 69 games. Kulak played four games with the Abbotsford Heat at the conclusion of last season.

Contract terms: Three year entry level contract with an Average Annual Value of $816,667.

Here's the Giants' release:

The Vancouver Giants would like to congratulate defenceman Brett Kulak on signing a three year entry level contract with the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames.

The Stony Plain, Alberta native was drafted in the 4th Round (105th overall) by the Flames in the 2012 NHL Draft.

"It feels really good for me," said Kulak. "It's a pretty exciting time and it's motivating for me. I just want to work harder and be able to make that jump to pro next year."

Kulak finished the regular season fourth in scoring for the Giants with a career-high 14 goals, 46 assists, and 60 points in 69 games.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Vancouver Drops Final Game in Kelowna

The Vancouver Giants dropped their final game of the regular season on Saturday night, falling 5-3 to the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place. Jackson Houck had two goals for the G-Men while Joel Hamilton also found the net. Vancouver finishes the year with a record of 32-29-7-4.

The G-Men got out to a good start, pressuring the Rockets in their own zone and generating turnovers on the forecheck. Houck opened the scoring at the 4:28 mark when he beat Kelowna goalie Jordon Cooke up high with a shot from the high slot. The home team would equalize before the end of the period as Madison Bowey hammered a hard slap shot off both posts and into the Vancouver net past Payton Lee.

Houck put the Giants ahead again just 17 seconds into the middle frame when he scored his 34th of the season on a power play, deflecting Mason Geertsen's point shot past Cooke from the top of the crease. The Rockets would tie the game again though when Lee came out of his net to play the puck and gave it away to Tyrell Goulbourne. The Kelowna forward then centred the puck to Carter Rigby who rippled the mesh from the bottom of the right circle. Nick Merkley gave the Rockets the lead less than three minutes later when he chipped home a rebound off the rush. 

Rourke Chartier extended the Kelowna lead in the final frame, capitalizing on a loose puck to the right of the net after a long shot off the stick of Damon Severson. Vancouver pulled back to within one goal when Hamilton scored a power play, knocking a loose puck in the crease across the goal line. However, the Rockets re-established the two goal lead just 16 seconds later when Rigby tallied his second of the game.

Despite the loss, Vancouver went 2-for-3 on the White Spot power play while the Rockets were 1-for-1. Kelowna out shot the Giants 40-32.

The Giants will now turn their focus to the playoffs as they'll visit the Portland Winterhawks for Game 1 of the first round on Friday. Catch the call on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show begins at 6:00pm, followed by the face-off at 7 o'clock.


3 Stars:
1. Carter Rigby - Kelowna
2. Jackson Houck - Vancouver
3. Joe Gatenby - Kelowna

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Rockets

The Vancouver Giants (32-28-7-4) will head to the Okanagan for a meeting with the Kelowna Rockets (56-11-0-4) on Saturday night. The game will mark the end of the regular season for both teams. The G-Men have one win in seven games against the Rockets this season.

The Vancouver club is coming off a high-scoring 6-5 loss to the Rockets on Friday night at the Pacific Coliseum. The Giants outscored Kelowna 4-0 in the third period and were a goal-post away from overcoming a five goal deficit. Ty Ronning had two goals in the losing cause on Friday. The 16-year-old now has nine goals of the season after being named a co-winner of the Giants Rookie of the Year Award alongside Alec Baer prior to Friday's game.

The Rockets, who remain the top team in the Canadian Hockey League, had a record setting night on Friday. The victory in Vancouver marked Kelowna's 29th road win of the season which tied a league record that was set by the 2012-2013 Portland Winterhawks. Madison Bowey also had two goals for the Rockets, setting the club's franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a season as he eclipsed Tyson Barrie's 19 goal campaign in 2009-2010.

Where: Prospera Place; Kelowna, BC

When: 7:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:30pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca

Giants Comeback Falls Short Against Rockets

The Kelowna Rockets scored five goals in the second period en route to a 6-5 win over the Vancouver Giants at the Pacific Coliseum on Friday night. Vancouver trailed 6-1 after 40 minutes but battled back with four goals in the third period.

16-year-old goaltender Ryan Kubic was called into action early in the first period after Payton Lee left the game following a collision with Kelowna's Madison Bowey. Vancouver found the net first later in the frame when Ty Ronning beat Rockets goalie Jackson Whistle with a one-timer and a nice pass from behind the net by Joel Hamilton. Kubic came up big to keep Vancouver ahead when he robbed Rourke Chartier with a confident left pad save after a pretty cross-seam pass by Marek Tvrdon. The Rockets would tie the game before the end of the period though as Myles Bell found the net on a long shot from the high slot on a power play.

The Rockets ran away with the second period, scoring five goals and out shooting Vancouver 17-5. Justin Kirkland gave Kelowna the lead when he got in behind the Giants defence and scored on a breakaway on Kubic. Chartier made it 3-1 with a pretty deflection in the slot before Kirkland scored again, this time shorthanded, on an impressive deke as he cut to the net off the right wing and tucked it into the net. Madison Bowey added his name to the scoresheet with a pair of goals late in the period as he found the net on a couple of point shots, one of which came on the power play, to put Kelowna ahead 6-1.

Hamilton started the Vancouver comeback attempt early in the final frame when he scored from the high slot after Brett Kulak found him in front with a pass from behind the goal. Dmitry Osipov added his third goal of the campaign with a hard shot from the point that snuck inside the left post. Ronning netted his second of the night on a man advantage as he shovelled a rebound that was loose in the crease across the goal line. Jackson Houck pulled the Vancouver squad to within one goal when he scored shorthanded, out-waiting Whistle as he skated down the right wing and beating him cleanly with a well-placed wrister. Houck nearly tied the game for Vancouver in the late stages. With Kubic out of the net in favour of an extra attacker, Houck had a chance in front but hammered the puck off the post. It was as close as the Giants would come.

Despite the loss, the Giants out shot the Rockets 34-30. Vancouver was 1-for-4 on the White Spot power play while the Rockets were 2-for-5.

The two teams will wrap-up the regular season on Saturday night when they face each other again in Kelowna. Catch the action on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show is set to begin at 6:30pm, followed by the face-off at 7 o'clock.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Madison Bowey - Kelowna
2. Ty Ronning - Vancouver
3. Justin Kirkland - Kelowna

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pre-Game Report: Giants vs. Rockets

The Vancouver Giants (32-27-7-4) will play their final home game of the regular season on Friday evening when they host the Kelowna Rockets (55-11-0-4) at the Pacific Coliseum in the first of a home-and-home set between the two clubs. Vancouver is 1-4-1-0 against Kelowna this year.

The G-Men now know their first round opponent as they'll head south of the border to take on the Portland Winterhawks in the opening round of the playoffs. The Vancouver club, which is coming off a 3-2 win over the third place Victoria Royals on Wednesday, would like to enter the post-season with some momentum and a good showing against the Rockets. The Giants scored two power play goals in the midweek win over Victoria, and the Vancouver man advantage currently sits in fifth in the WHL.

Kelowna also won on Wednesday, downing the Kamloops Blazers 4-1. The win clinched first place in the Western Conference and the overall WHL standings for the Rockets, meaning they'll have home-ice advantage throughout the post-season and will face the Tri-City Americans in the opening round. The Rockets boast the league's best penalty kill, allowing only 41 goals on 312 man advantages for their opponents this season.

Friday's game will also be Fan Appreciation Night at the Rink on Renfrew and will feature a number of giveaways and promotions including a chance to win a 2014 Honda CR-V EX.

Where: Pacific Coliseum

When: 7:30pm

Tickets: Visit vancouvergiants.com or call 604-4-GIANTS

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca (The Pre-Game Show starts at 7:00pm.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lee Backstops Giants To Win Over Royals

Payton Lee made 41 saves as the Vancouver Giants came from behind to beat the Victoria Royals 3-2 at the Pacific Coliseum on Wednesday night. The G-Men got goals from Dalton Sward, Jackson Houck and Trent Lofthouse. As a result of the win, the season series between the two clubs finishes dead-even as both teams went 5-4-1.

The Royals controlled the first period of play, amping up the pressure in the Vancouver zone and out-shooting the Giants 21-4. However, Lee gave one of his best performances of the season and turned aside all of Victoria's scoring attempts to keep the game scoreless through one.

The G-Men nearly took the lead early in the second after a goal-mouth scramble in front of Royals goalie Coleman Vollrath, but the puck stayed out, and the Royals took a 1-0 lead on the counter attack when Steven Hodges was sprung in on net and beat Lee with a high shot that went off the post and into the net. Vancouver responded to tie the game later in the stanza after a great effort by Sward as he scored while lying on the ice right in front of the Victoria net, picking up his 18th of the season. Vancouver went on to take the lead on the power play before the end of the period when Houck tipped a Brett Kulak point shot into the goal from the top of the crease. The goal was Houck's team-leading 31st of the season.

Trent Lofthouse gave the Giants some insurance in the third when he scored a similar goal to Houck's, deflecting a Kulak point shot past Vollrath on the power play to make it 3-1. The Royals pulled to within one later in the frame when Austin Carroll struck on the man advantage, shovelling a rebound into the Vancouver net. Victoria pulled the goaltender in the late stages, looking for an equalizer, but the Giants held them at bay to pick up the victory.

Vancouver had a good night on the White Spot power play, going 2-for-3. The Royals were 1-for-5 on the man advantage. Victoria out shot Vancouver 43-23. The Kelowna Rockets also won on Wednesday night which means the Giants will face the Portland Winterhawks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Giants play next on Friday night when they host the Kelowna Rockets in their final home game of the regular season. It will also be Fan Appreciation Night at the Rink on Renfrew, and one fan will go home with a 2014 Honda CR-V EX. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Payton Lee - Vancouver
2. Dalton Sward - Vancouver
3. Logan Nelson - Victoria

Pre-Game Report: Giants vs. Royals

The Vancouver Giants (31-27-7-4) will host the Victoria Royals (48-17-1-3) on Wednesday night at the Pacific Coliseum. The game will mark the tenth and final meeting of the regular season between the two BC Division rivals. The G-Men are 4-4-1-0 against the Royals this year.

The Vancouver squad is coming off two straight losses on their US road trip this past weekend. The G-Men lost to the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday before battling back to force overtime on Sunday against the Seattle Thunderbirds, thanks to two goals in a five-second span in the third period, but went on to lose in a shootout. The Giants know they will finish in seventh place in the Western Conference and will play either the Portland Winterhawks or the Kelowna Rockets in the opening round.

The Royals are locked into third place in the Western Conference and will head south of the border to start the post-season as they'll take on either the Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs or Everett Silvertips. Victoria has won six straight games as well as 13 of the last 14. The Royals are coming off a confidence boosting 3-2 victory over the league-leading Kelowna Rockets on Tuesday night. Despite their success, Brandon Magee is Victoria's only point-per-game player with 64 points in 62 games.

Where: Pacific Coliseum

When: 7:00pm

Tickets: Visit vancouvergiants.com or call 604-4-GIANTS

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:30pm.)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Giants Comeback Falls Short in Seattle

The Vancouver Giants scored two goals in a five-second span in the third period to come back from a 3-1 deficit and force overtime against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the ShoWare Centre. The G-Men went on to lose 4-3 in a shootout. Arvin Atwal, Mason Geertsen and Cain Franson scored for Vancouver.

It was the Giants who struck first with an early power play goal to take the lead. Franson won an attacking zone face-off cleanly, and Atwal scored on a quick slap shot from the point. The T-Birds responded with a power play goal of their own before the end of the period when Shea Theodore hammered a hard slap shot past Payton Lee to send the teams to the dressing room tied at 1-1 after the first.

Alexander Delnov put Seattle ahead in the middle frame when he found the net on a backhander from the slot, sliding the puck into the Vancouver net through traffic. Jerret Smith put the Thunderbirds up by two goals when he rippled the mesh on a delayed penalty, sneaking in from the blue line to tip a Scott Eansor centring pass inside the post for his third goal of the season.

Lee made an important save early in the third period when he stopped Branden Troock on a breakaway after the Seattle forward was sprung in on net by a nice stretch pass from Theodore. The Vancouver comeback began just after the midway mark of the third period when Geertsen blew a hard slapper past Seattle net minder Danny Mumaugh on the power play to pull Vancouver to within one goal. Franson evened the score mere seconds later when he won the face-off forward and scored with a high wrist shot off the rush.

Both teams had opportunities in the overtime period, but neither side could find the net, and the T-Birds would outlast the G-Men in the shootout to take the extra point. The single-point that the Giants earned in the game means they will finish in seventh place in the Western Conference.

Vancouver was 2-for-3 on the power play while the T-Birds were 1-for-5. Seattle finished ahead on the shot clock 47-35.

The Vancouver club will now return home to host the Victoria Royals on Wednesday evening. Face-off is set for 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Shea Theodore - Seattle
2. Payton Lee - Vancouver
3. Alexander Delnov - Seattle

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Thunderbirds

The Vancouver Giants (31-27-7-3) will wrap-up their short two-game US Division road-trip on Sunday when they face the Seattle Thunderbirds (39-22-2-4). Sunday's game will be the fourth and final meeting in the season series between the G-Men and T-Birds. Vancouver is 1-2-0-0 against Seattle.

The G-Men played in Portland on Saturday evening, falling 4-1 to the Winterhawks in a hard fought affair. Due to the loss, coupled with an Everett Silvertips victory over Seattle on Saturday, the Giants can now finish no higher than seventh in the Western Conference standings. The G-Men can lock themselves into the seventh spot by earning a single point in one of their final four games as Vancouver sits eight points ahead of the eighth place Tri-City Americans.

Including that Saturday night loss to Everett, the Thunderbirds enter Sunday's action on a three-game skid. The Seattle squad will likely face the Spokane Chiefs in the opening round of the playoffs, although who will have home ice advantage for the series remains to be determined. As of Sunday, the T-Birds sit in fourth in the West, two points ahead of fifth place Spokane and three points ahead of sixth place Everett. Sunday's game will be the first meeting between the Thunderbirds and Giants since November 22nd.

Where: ShoWare Center; Kent, WA

When: 5:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 4:30pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Giants Fall 4-1 in Portland

Joel Hamilton scored the lone Vancouver goal as the Giants lost 4-1 to the Portland Winterhawks at the Moda Center on Saturday evening. Payton Lee made 30 saves in the losing cause for the G-Men as they finish the season series against the 'Hawks with a record of 0-3-0-1.

The Portland club got on the board early when Chase De Leo netted his 39th of the year just 3:33 into the opening frame. The Giants got into penalty trouble in the first period, giving the Winterhawks five power plays, but the Vancouver penalty killers were able to keep the puck out of the net as Payton Lee came up big, making a number of critical stops between the pipes. Later in the stanza, the Giants were given a power play of their own, and Hamilton tied the game by beating Winterhawks goalie Adin Hill with a shot from the point.

Lee was called into action again in the second period when Taylor Leier forced a turnover at the Portland blue line and skated in alone on a shorthanded breakaway, but the Vancouver net minder stuck right with him to make a calm and confident save. The Winterhawks wouldn’t be denied though as Brendan Leipsic scored off the rush on the backhand a few minutes later to restore the Portland lead.

Keegan Iverson gave the home team a two-goal lead in the third period when he tapped the puck past Lee from the top of the crease after a pretty backhand pass from Nic Petan to find him in front. The Giants thought they’d pulled back to within one goal later in the period when Ty Ronning appeared to score, but the goal was waved off because the referees felt Cain Franson had contacted the goaltender on the play. Oliver Bjorkstrand would add one more Portland goal in the late stages to complete the win.

The Giants penalty kill had a strong night, despite the loss, killing off all five Portland power plays. The G-Men, for their part, went 1-for-5 on the man advantage. The Winterhawks outshot the Giants 34-29.

The Vancouver squad will complete a two-game road-trip on Sunday against the Seattle Thunderbirds at the Showare Center. Catch the call on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show begins at 4:30pm, followed by the face-off at 5 o’clock.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Adin Hill - Portland
2. Brendan Leipsic - Portland
3. Taylor Leier - Portland

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Winterhawks

The Vancouver Giants (31-26-7-3) will visit the Moda Center to face the Portland Winterhawks (49-13-2-3) on Saturday night in the fourth and final regular season meeting between the two clubs. The G-Men are 0-2-0-1 against the 'Hawks this year. If the playoffs began today, the Giants and Winterhawks would face each other in the first round.

The G-Men will look for their second win in a row on Saturday after skating to a 2-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers on Wednesday evening. Vancouver sits in seventh in the Western Conference, seven points behind the sixth place Everett Silvertips and eight points ahead of the eighth place Tri-City Americans. Giants forward Cain Franson has been playing well of late, tallying seven goals in his last seven games. The Sicamous native now has 29 goals on the season, equaling his total from last year.

The Winterhawks are coming off a 7-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday evening. The Portland club has won two straight and 23 of its last 24 games as the T-Birds ended the Hawks' 21 game winning streak with a 4-1 victory on March 1st. Winterhawks forwards Nic Petan and Oliver Bjorkstrand sit in 2nd and 3rd in league scoring respectively, trailing Spokane's Mitch Holmberg. The Portland pair have scored a combined 207 points.

Where: Moda Center; Portland, OR

When: 7:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:30pm.)

Listen: Streamed online at teamradio.ca and joined in progress on TEAM 1410 following the Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer match

Friday, March 7, 2014

First Round Playoff Dates Announced

With the post-season just around the corner, the Giants have released the dates for their home games in the first round of the playoffs. All the info, including a special "Toonie Tuesday" promotion on the night of Game 3, is in the official release from the Giants which can be found below. Playoff tickets go on sale this coming Wednesday at 10am.

Here's the release from the Giants:

Playoff Hockey returns to the Pacific Coliseum March 25.

After a one year absence, the Vancouver Giants are excited to be headed back to the post-season after recently clinching a spot in the 2014 WHL Playoffs. While our opponent is yet to be determined, we are able to announce today our First Round home playoff dates.

Game 3 of our Western Conference Quarterfinal series will take place at the Pacific Coliseum on Tuesday, March 25 at 7pm.

Game 4 will be the following night, Wednesday, March 26 at 7pm.

Game 6, if necessary, will be on Sunday, March 30 at a special 2pm start.

And to celebrate our return to the post-season, our first home game on Tuesday, March 25 will feature a number of "Toonie Tuesday" $2 food & beverage items including hot dogs, Oreo ice cream sandwiches, small popcorn and small sodas!

With less than 10 days remaining in the regular season the Giants can still finish anywhere from 5th through 8th place in the Western Conference standings. This will mark the 11th time the Giants have qualified for the post-season in their 13 years of existence, having captured a WHL Championship in 2006 and a Memorial Cup Championship in 2007.

Single Game Playoff Tickets will go on sale to the general public Wednesday, March 12 at 10am. Fans can secure their playoff seats by calling 604-4-GIANTS (604-444-2687) or online right HERE.

Alternatively, fans can gain advance access to Round 1 Playoff seats by purchasing a 6-Ticket Flex Pack.

Season Ticket Holders, Mini-Pack Holders & Flex Pack Holders can all enjoy an exclusive pre-sale opportunity from Monday, March 10 at 9am through Tuesday, March 11 at 5pm. During this period the fans listed above can secure their seats by contacting their Personal Account Representative directly or by calling 604-4-GIANTS (604-444-2687).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Giants Get Past Blazers 2-1

Payton Lee stopped 17 of 18 shots as the Vancouver Giants defeated the Kamloops Blazers 2-0 at the Pacific Coliseum on Wednesday evening. Cain Franson and Joel Hamilton had the goals for Vancouver in the victory.

Tyler Benson had an early opportunity to put the home team in front but was stopped by Kamloops goalie Bolton Pouliot. Benson played the game with a half-visor rather than a full cage as he has now joined the G-Men for the remainder of the season. Cole Ully had the best opportunity of the opening period for the Blazers when he hit the post with a shot from the left circle, and Lee was called into action later in the period when he denied Matt Needham on a re-directed chance from the slot.

Lee came up with another gigantic stop in the second period when he kicked out the right pad to rob Eric Krienke from in close. Pouliot responded by making a big save on Carter Popoff at the other end of the ice, flashing the leather for a nice glove-hand stop. Franson finally put the Giants on the board a few minutes later when he knocked a puck home at the right post after a scramble in the crease. The goal was Franson's 29th of the year, equalling his total from last season.

Hamilton doubled the Vancouver lead in the first minute of the third period when he chipped a loose puck in the crease across the goal line for his 10th of the season. Lee kept his shutout bid alive later in the stanza with a solid stop on Jesse Shynkaruk from the top of the blue paint. However, the Blazers would find the net in the final minute after Matt Bellerive beat Lee with a one-timer from the slot. The Kamloops squad turned up the pressure with the goalie out, trying to tie the game, but the Giants held on for the win.

The Giants out shot the Blazers 37-18. Vancouver went 0-for-1 on the White Spot Power Play while Kamloops was 0-for-4.

The G-Men will now head south of the border to visit the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday. The face-off is set for 7:00pm. Catch the call on teamradio.ca. The game will also be joined in progress on TEAM 1410 following the Vancouver Whitecaps FC soccer match.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Payton Lee - Vancouver
2. Joel Hamilton - Vancouver
3. Cain Franson - Vancouver

Pre-Game Report: Giants vs. Blazers

The Vancouver Giants (30-26-7-3) will host the Kamloops Blazers (13-48-2-3) in the eighth and final meeting between the two teams in their season series on Wednesday at the Pacific Coliseum. The Giants are 7-0 against the Blazers this year.

Heading into Wednesday's action, the Giants sit in seventh in the Western Conference, seven points behind the sixth place Everett Silvertips. Vancouver is coming off back-to-back losses to the Kelowna Rockets last weekend. However, the G-Men did officially clinch a playoff spot on Saturday by virtue of the fact that the Prince George Cougars lost to the Victoria Royals. The Giants have now qualified for the post-season in 11 of their 13 seasons in the WHL.

The Blazers are dead last in the Western Conference standings, sitting 29 points behind ninth place Prince George. The Kamloops squad has dropped four in a row and six of the last seven games. The Blazers have only picked up one point in the season series with the Giants after a 4-3 shootout loss back on November 2nd. Kamloops is in the midst of a 10 game road trip as their home rink, the Interior Savings Centre, is currently playing host to the Canadian men's curling championships.

Where: Pacific Coliseum

When: 7:00pm

Tickets: Visit vancouvergiants.com or call 604-4-GIANTS

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:30pm.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rockets Edge G-Men for Second Straight Night

Goaltender Jordon Cooke was the first star for the second night in a row as the Kelowna Rockets swept a home-and-home series with the Vancouver Giants after a 3-1 victory at the Pacific Coliseum on Saturday. Cain Franson had the lone Vancouver goal in the losing cause.

Jared Rathjen was called into action early in the game with a scramble around the Vancouver net, but he kept the puck out with both Myles Bell and Ryan Olsen whacking away at the puck, to keep the game scoreless. Cooke responded with a couple of big stops of his own at the other end of the ice, robbing Franson with the left pad before make a big right pad save on Dalton Sward. However, it was the Giants who struck first on a power play as Franson showed incredible patience as he held onto the puck and cut into the slot before beating Cooke on the backhand to put the Vancouver club ahead on the scoreboard.

Franson had a chance to extend the lead early in the middle frame when he accelerated past the defence and in cleanly on net, but Cooke stood tall again with a big save. The Rockets would tie the game a few minutes later when Rourke Chartier whacked a puck past Rathjen after a nice pass from behind the net off the stick of Nick Merkley. Former Giant Marek Tvrdon went on to gave Kelowna the lead when he scored on a nice shot from the right circle that found the top corner of the net. The Giants nearly evened the score with a number of good chances late in the stanza. Shaun Dosanjh and Ty Ronning both hit goal posts while Cooke had to make a number of big saves to preserve the Kelowna lead.

Rathjen was tested again in the third period when he came up with a tremendous stop on Merkley, sliding across to his right to kick the puck out. The Rockets extended the lead later in the frame when Cole Linaker scored from the slot to give the Kelowna club some necessary insurance. The Giants had a power play right after the goal, and Carter Popoff nearly scored on a frantic play in the crease that saw the puck bounce off the cross-bar and out. The Rockets would go on to kill off the penalty and close out the road win.

Both teams went 1-for-4 on their respective power plays while the Giants out shot the Rockets 33-28.

Vancouver will host Kamloops on Wednesday evening at the Rink on Renfrew. Face-off is set for 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Jordon Cooke - Kelowna
2. Ty Ronning - Vancouver
3. Rourke Chartier - Kelowna

Pre-Game Report: Giants vs. Rockets

The Vancouver Giants (30-25-7-3) will look to get back in the win column when they host the WHL-leading Kelowna Rockets (51-9-0-4) on Saturday at the Rink on Renfrew. The G-Men have a record of 1-3-1-0 in the season series against the Kelowna club.

Saturday's game marks the second of a home-and-home set between the two teams. The Giants dropped a 6-0 at Prospera Place in Kelowna on Friday evening. The Vancouver loss, coupled with an Everett Silvertips win over the Tri-City Americans, means that the Giants now sit three points back of the 'Tips for sixth in the Western Conference. Arvin Atwal will remain out of the Vancouver line-up on Saturday as he'll serve the final contest of a three-game suspension.

After the victory on Friday, the Rockets have now won eight of their last nine games. Jordon Cooke was strong in goal for the Kelowna club, picking up his third shutout and 35th win of the season between the pipes. The line of Nick Merkley, Marek Tvrdon and Rourke Chartier had a strong game for the Rockets as well. With the win, the Kelowna squad still sits seven points ahead of the Portland Winterhawks and needs 10 more points to clinch first place in the Western Conference.

Where: Pacific Coliseum

When: 7:00pm

Tickets: Visit vancouvergiants.com or call 604-4-GIANTS

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:30pm.)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rockets Blow Past Giants 6-0

Jordon Cooke stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Kelowna Rockets blanked the Vancouver Giants 6-0 at Prospera Place in the first of a home-and-home set between the two clubs on Friday night. Nick Merkley scored twice for the Rockets in the win while Kelowna also got goals from Myles Bell, Mitch Wheaton, Tyrell Goulbourne and Madison Bowey.

The Giants had the majority of the shots in the first period but couldn't generate any high quality scoring chances around Cooke's net. Merkley opened the scoring for the home team moments after missing a one-timer in front when he re-directed a Damon Severson point shot past the right pad of Payton Lee that snuck just inside the left post.

Vancouver nearly tied the game after a goal-mouth scramble in the middle frame that nearly saw Thomas Foster find the net, but Cooke stood tall, and the Rockets doubled their lead a few moments later when Bell netted his team-leading 41st goal of the season, banking the puck off the back of Lee's legs and into the net from below the goal-line.

Kelowna blew the doors off the game with four goals in the third period. Wheaton beat Lee with a long point shot that changed directed a couple of times before rippling the mesh. Merkley chipped in again with his second of the night before Goulbourne snuck one across the line from the left circle, and Bowey completed the Rockets' scoring party on a long shot that Lee never saw.

Vancouver went 0-for-4 on the White Spot Power Play while the Rockets were 1-for-2. Kelowna out shot Vancouver 35-31. The two teams will meet again on Saturday evening at the Pacific Coliseum. Puck drop is set for 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-4-GIANTS or visit vancouvergiants.com.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Jordon Cooke - Kelowna
2. Nick Merkley - Kelowna
3. Damon Severson - Kelowna

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Rockets

The Vancouver Giants (30-24-7-3) will conclude a four-game road-trip when they visit the Kelowna Rockets (50-9-0-4) on Friday night at Prospera Place. The G-Men are 1-2-1-0 against the Rockets in the season series and will play Kelowna four times in the next 16 nights.

Vancouver is coming off arguably its most important win of the season after a depleted G-Men squad beat the Eastern Conference leading Edmonton Oil Kings 5-1 last weekend. The Vancouver blue line will be bolstered by the returns of Brett Kulak and Tyler Morrison. Kulak missed the last two games due to illness while Morrison was suspended for the game in Edmonton. Despite their win in Edmonton, the Giants now sit in seventh in the Western Conference after the Everett Silvertips passed them with a Prince Albert on Wednesday.

The Rockets sit atop the WHL standings with 104 points, leaving them seven points ahead of the second place Portland Winterhawks. The Kelowna club has won seven of its last eight games, and the Rockets boast the WHL's top penalty kill. Goaltender Jordon Cooke continues to post strong numbers for Kelowna. The 20-year-old net minder has a 2.43 goals-against-average and 34 wins in 44 games played. Friday's game will also mark the first time that former Giant Marek Tvrdon faces his old Vancouver teammates after being traded prior to the January deadline.

Where: Prospera Place; Kelowna, BC

When: 7:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 6:30pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca

Giants This Week: February 28, 2014

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Giants Win Big in Edmonton

Jackson Houck scored twice as the Vancouver Giants picked up a big 5-1 win over the Eastern Conference leading Edmonton Oil Kings on Saturday evening at Rexall Place. Vancouver was without four regular defensemen with Brett Kulak, Dalton Thrower, Tyler Morrison and Arvin Atwal all out of the line-up. Forward Joel Hamilton played on the blue line while also chipping in with three assists in the win.

The Oil Kings had some early pressure in the Vancouver zone, and the Giants took a couple of penalties, sending Edmonton to a five-on-three power play, but the Vancouver penalty kill unit kept the Oil Kings of the board. Houck opened the scoring on the man advantage, knocking the puck past Edmonton goalie Tyler Santos. Carter Popoff added to the lead with a power play goal of his own, firing a shot between Santos' legs from the left circle. Just 43 seconds after Popoff's goal, Trent Lofthouse gave the G-Men a three goal lead when he scored from below the goal line, banking the puck off an Oil King defender and into the net.

Edmonton got on the board with a power play goal off the stick of Curtis Lazar, but Sward quickly answered back for the Giants when he forced a turnover behind the Edmonton net, walked out front, and scored on his own rebound. Houck struck again for his second of the night and 30th of the season on a power play with a nice shot underneath the cross-bar after a great pass from Hamilton that found him alone in front of the net.

The Vancouver club played a very strong defensive third period, limiting the Oil Kings to just six shots to complete a very thorough victory. The Giants will now return home after picking up four of a possible six points on their Alberta road swing. The G-Men will get back at it on Friday when they visit the Kelowna Rockets. Catch the action on TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca. The face-off is set for 7:00pm.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Jackson Houck - Vancouver
2. Joel Hamilton - Vancouver
3. Payton Lee - Vancouver

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Oil Kings

The Vancouver Giants (29-24-7-3) will wrap-up their three game Alberta swing on Saturday when they take on the Edmonton Oil Kings (43-14-1-1) at Rexall Place. The game will be the third and final meeting in the season series between the teams. The Oil Kings have taken both games against the G-Men to this point.

The Giants are coming off a 5-3 loss at the hands of the Red Deer Rebels on Friday. The Vancouver club now sits only two points ahead of the seventh place Everett Silvertips in the Western Conference standings. The 'Tips have three games-in-hand on Vancouver. The line of Cain Franson, Joel Hamilton and Jackson Houck has been contributing well offensively of late, combining for 23 points in their last three games.

The Edmonton squad has won three straight games, most recently defeating the Swift Current Broncos 4-1 on Friday evening. The Oil Kings have already clinched a playoff spot but are still battling for the Central Division crown with the Calgary Hitmen. Both teams have 88 points on the season, but Edmonton has played three less games. Edgars Kulda has been hot for the Oil Kings lately, tallying three goals and three assists in his last four games.

Where: Rexall Place; Edmonton, AB

When: 6:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 5:30pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca

Friday, February 21, 2014

G-Men Fall in Red Deer

Cain Franson scored twice, but the Vancouver Giants dropped a 5-3 decision to the Red Deer Rebels at the Enmax Centrium on Friday evening. Joel Hamilton had the other Vancouver goal. As a result of the loss, and the fact that the Everett Silvertips defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday as well, the G-Men remain in sixth in the Western Conference but are now only two point ahead of the 'Tips who hold three games in hand.

The Giants had a strong start to the hockey game and had a number of scoring chances in the early stages of the game. Franson opened the scoring just after the midway mark of the first when he walked out from behind the net and beat Patrik Bartosak with a nice wrist shot that snuck in underneath the cross-bar. The Rebels answered back later in the period when Wyatt Johnson scored just after a Vancouver penalty had expired, tipping an Adam Musil shot past Jared Rathjen in the Vancouver net.

Vancouver retook the lead in the first few minutes of the second period on a power play when Jackson Houck took a shot off the left wing, and Hamilton dug the rebound across the goal line for his ninth of the season. However, the Red Deer squad would strike twice in the latter half of the stanza to go ahead. First, Rhyse Dieno tied the game with a nice shot from the bottom of the left circle before Conner Bleackley scored on a rebound to make it 3-2.

The Rebels shut the game down in the third period, limiting the G-Men to just eight shots. Eventually, Kayle Doetzel scored on a long wrist shot that snuck past Rathjen through traffic to give Red Deer a two-goal advantage, but Franson netted his second of the evening with just under two minutes remaining to pull Vancouver back to within one. The Giants pulled the goalie in favour of an extra attacker in an attempt to tie the game, but Dieno tallied his second of the night into an empty net to clinch the win. But the game wasn't finished there. In the final minute a brawl broke out after a whistle with a couple of large scrums involving all of the players on the ice and three fights. Arvin Atwal, Mason Geertsen, Tyler Morrison, Kolten Dixon, Aspen Sterzer and Devan Fafard were all given fighting majors while Bartosak was given a minor penalty for leaving the crease after he and Rathjen nearly fought as well.

Despite the loss, the Giants out shot the Rebels 34-25. Vancouver was 1-for-2 on the power play while Red Deer went 1-for-4.

The G-Men will continue their road swing in Edmonton on Saturday night against the Oil Kings. Catch the call on TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca. The Pre-Game Show will start at 5:30pm, followed by the puck drop at 6 o'clock.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Conner Bleackley - Red Deer
2. Cain Franson - Vancouver
3. Haydn Fleury - Red Deer

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Rebels

The Vancouver Giants (29-23-7-3) will continue their Alberta road trip on Friday night as they'll visit the Red Deer Rebels (28-29-1-3) in the second and final meeting between the two clubs this season. Vancouver took the first game 3-2 in overtime on February 4th.

Friday's game will mark the return to Red Deer for a couple of former Rebels. Giants forwards Joel Hamilton and Dominik Volek both played under Brent Sutter. Hamilton was acquired by Vancouver in May for a 3rd round pick while Volek was added just before the trade deadline in January. The G-Men will be looking for their third win in a row after victories over the Kamloops Blazers and Lethbridge Hurricanes.

The Rebels come into Friday's game looking to end a three-game losing slide. Since their last meeting with the Giants, the Rebels have struggled to pick up victories. The Red Deer club is 1-7-0-0 in the eight games since facing the G-Men at the start of the month. The Rebels are in a battle for a playoff spot as they currently sit in ninth in the Eastern Conference, but they are tied with the eighth place Prince Albert Raiders.

Where: Enmax Centrium; Red Deer, AB

When: 6:00pm

Listen: TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Giants Open Trip With Win Over Hurricanes

The Vancouver Giants got five goals from five different players as they skated to a 5-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday night at the Enmax Centre. Travis McEvoy, Alec Baer, Carter Popoff, Cain Franson and Joel Hamilton all found the back of the net in the victory.

McEvoy opened the scoring for Vancouver just after the 11 minute mark of the first period when he found the rebound of a Dominik Volek shot in the crease and chipped the puck past Hurricanes goalie Teagan Sacher to give Vancouver the lead. The Giants made it 2-0 just 19 seconds later when Baer rippled the mesh after a nice cross-crease pass from Dalton Sward. Jared Rathjen came up big late in the period when he stopped Riley Sheen on a breakaway to keep the Giants ahead by two.

The second period was much closer than the first with both teams generating chances. The Hurricanes got on the board with less than five minutes left in the stanza when Carter Folk netted his third of the season on the power play to pull the Lethbridge club to within one goal. The G-Men got a man advantage of their own late in the frame when Tyler Bell was called for closing his hand on the puck, and Popoff capitalized, finding the back of the net on a shot from the left circle after a nice feed from Franson.

Vancouver went ahead by three early in the third when Franson tallied his 25th goal of the year with a nice shot, beating Sacher from the high slot. Hamilton added to the lead a few minutes later, completing a nice tic-tac-toe passing play that also involved Volek and Jackson Houck. The Hurricanes would put another one on the board in the late going when Giorgio Estephan scored on the power play.

Vancouver went 1-for-4 on the power play while the 'Canes were 2-for-5. The Giants outshot Lethbridge 48-29.

The G-Men will continue their road-trip on Friday night against the Red Deer Rebels. Tune-in to TEAM 1040 and teamradio.ca for the play-by-play at 6:00pm.

Game Summary

3 Stars:
1. Cain Franson - Vancouver
2. Jackson Houck - Vancouver
3. Carter Folk - Lethbridge

Pre-Game Report: Giants at Hurricanes

The Vancouver Giants (28-23-7-3) will open a four-game road trip on Wednesday evening when they take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes (12-44-2-3) at the Enmax Centre in the second and final game in the season series between the teams. In their first meeting, the G-Men picked up their biggest victory of the season, blanking the 'Canes 10-0.

The Giants will be looking for their second consecutive win after they bumped a five-game losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Kamloops Blazers on Sunday at the Pacific Coliseum. Jackson Houck finished with a goal and two assists in the win to end a run of 10 consecutive games without a point. The win vaulted the G-Men past the Everett Silvertips and back into sixth place in the Western Conference after the Everett club had overtaken Vancouver with a overtime win against the Giants on Friday.

The Hurricanes are coming off their worst loss of the season after falling 12-0 to the Edmonton Oil Kings on Monday. The Lethbridge squad has lost three in a row and been outscored 24-3 in that stretch. Despite their poor form of late, the Hurricanes can move out of the WHL basement with a win on Wednesday as they would overtake the Kamloops Blazers who sit in last in the Western Conference but are level on points with the 'Canes.

Where: Enmax Centre; Lethbridge, AB

When: 6:00pm (The Pre-Game Show starts at 5:30pm.)

Listen: TEAM 1410 and teamradio.ca