Wednesday night in Kamloops, B.C. the Vancouver Giants skated to a 4-1 victory over the Kamloops Blazers. Ty Ronning’s 60th of the season came early in the second period and stood as the eventual game winner. Davis Koch, Milos Roman and Tyler Benson each added goals for Vancouver while James Malm chipped in with two assists. Rookie Trent Miner earned his second straight road victory in goal for the Giants and was named the game’s first star. Jermaine Loewen had the lone tally in response for the Blazers who fell for the fifth time in eight tries to the Giants in 2017-18. Meanwhile in Kelowna the Rockets earned a 6-3 win over the Prince George Cougars meaning that the Giants will face the Victoria Royals in Round 1 of the WHL Playoffs. Home ice advantage in Round 1 has yet to be decided.
The lone goal of the game for Kamloops came at 11:51 of the opening period when Jermaine Loewen knocked his own rebound past Miner on a backhand. His 35th was unassisted and would prove to be Kamloops’ only strike on the night.
A few shifts later, Trent Miner made one of his best saves of the game for Vancouver when he slid to left and robbed Orrin Centazzo off a three-on-one rush.
Back came the Giants with some offense of their own. Davis Koch extended his point-streak to seven straight games when he knocked home his own rebound past Blazers starter Dylan Ferguson at 15:13 to tie the game. The score remained tied through 20 minutes with Vancouver holding a 16-12 edge in shots.
A minute and 13 seconds into the second period Vancouver took the lead when Ty Ronning raced down the right-wing and snapped a low shot through the legs of Ferguson. For Ronning it was his 60th goal of the season and was assisted by James Malm. Ronning joins Moose Jaw forward Jayden Halbgewachs as the only two players in the WHL to have surpassed the 60-goal in 2017-18.
Vancouver kept coming. Less than three minutes later Milos Roman extended Vancouver’s lead to 3-1 on the power play when he snapped home his ninth of the season from the top of the right circle. The Giants outshot Kamloops 11-9 in the middle frame and took a 3-1 lead into the final period.
Kamloops came out flying in the third, outshooting the Giants 19-7. But Trent Miner and the Giants would not relent their two-goal cushion. Giants captain Tyler Benson ended all hopes of a Kamloops comeback at 19:46 of the third when he potted his 27th of the season into an empty net to cement the Giants 36th victory of the season and their 16th win on the road.
Kamloops outshot the Giants 40-34, but went zero-for-three on their power play chances. The Giants went one-for-five on their power play opportunities.
With the victory the Giants improve their season record to 36-25-6-3 with two games remaining in the regular season. They move back within three points of the Victoria Royals for second in the B.C. Division. Up next for the G-Men a home-and-home weekend set with the Kelowna Rockets beginning on Friday at 7:30 PM at the Langley Events Centre. Friday night is Fan Appreciation Night where the Giants will be giving away a brand new hot tub courtesy of Coast Spas and a 2018 Hyndai Santa Fe.
- Ty Ronning’s 60th goal of the season was also the 126th of his WHL career. That mark ties Adam Courchaine for second all-time in Vancouver Giants goal scoring history.
- The Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals are meeting for the first time in the WHL Playoffs. The Giants have twice faced the Chilliwack Bruins (who would later become the Victoria Royals in 2011-12) in the playoffs (in 2007 and 2008) and defeated them on both occasions.
- Home ice advantage is still a possibility for the Giants in Round 1. If they win both games this weekend against Kelowna and the Royals lose both games to Everett in regulation the Giants would start the series at home on Friday, March 23.