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PREVIEW: Giants vs. Americans (Game #5)

Tonight in Langley, the Vancouver Giants and Tri-City Americans will meet for the second time in as many days. Last night the G-Men came away with a 6-3 victory and improved their record to 2-2. Tonight they’ll look to climb above the .500 mark when they battle a 2-3 Tri-City Americans club that is searching for their first road victory of the young season.

 

TRI-CITY AMERICANS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Mike Williamson

Record: 2-3

Road Record: 0-3

Power Play: 19.1% (15th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 88.9% (4th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Isaac Johnson (5GP – 3G – 2A – 5PTS), Morgan Geekie (4GP 1G – 4A – 5PTS), Juuso Valimaki (3GP – 1G – 3A – 4PTS)

 WHO’S UP FRONT:

Isaac Johnson: The draft eligible forward had two goals in last night’s loss for Tri-City. He currently sits tied for the team lead in scoring with five points in five games.

Michael Rasmussen: The Detroit Red Wings prospect had an assist in last night’s contest and now has a goal and an assist in two games played so far this season.

WHO’S ON D:

Juuso Valimaki: The Calgary Flames first rounder had an assist last night but was a -2. That said, he’s always a threat offensively and logged major minutes in all situations for his club. The Giants can expect another steady dose of him again this evening.

Payton Krebs: The 19-year-old also had an assist in last night’s game and had three shots on goal for his team. Krebs won’t dazzle anybody with his offense, but he’s dependable, physical and effective.

WHO’S IN GOAL:

Patrick Dea: Beck Warm played last night, which likely means it’s time for 20-year-old Patrick Dea to return to the crease tonight for Tri-City. So far so good for the former Oil King who’s 1-1 with the Ams with a 2.88 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage.

X-FACTOR:

Morgan Geekie:  The Carolina Hurricanes prospect was held without a point in last night’s game. He did have three shots on goal though, and he always seems to put himself in the right areas on the ice offensively. A big night from Geekie would go a long way for Tri-City as they eye up a weekend split with the Giants.

 

 VANCOUVER GIANTS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Jason McKee

Record: 2-2

Home Record: 2-1

Power Play: 5.6% (21st in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 73.9% (15th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: James Malm (4GP – 1G – 5A – 6PTS), Ty Ronning (4GP – 4G – 1A – 5PTS), Brad Morrison (4GP – 1G – 4A – 5PTS)

 WHO’S UP FRONT:

James Malm: The Langley, B.C. product led the charge with four assists in last night’s game for the Giants and now leads the team in scoring with six points in four games, five of which are assists. Malm’s relentless pursuit of the puck made him a huge factor in last night’s game and he’ll look to repeat it today.

Brayden Watts: Malm’s linemate Brayden Watts had two goals in last night’s game and is tied for second in team goal scoring with three. The 18-year-old has thrived alongside James Malm and Brendan Semchuk and his confidence should be sky-high heading into tonight’s rematch.

WHO’S ON D:

Matt Barberis: Though he was held off the scoresheet yesterday, Matt Barberis was a +1 and did a great job defensively keeping the talented Tri-City forwards at bay. The only active 19-year-old on the Giants has been heavily relied on early in the season and has not disappointed. He’s also a very gifted offensive defenceman and could be due to breakout one of these games. Perhaps tonight’s the night for Barberis.

Bowen Byram: The rookie defenceman added two more assists to his early point totals last night and is now tied for second in team scoring with five points in four games. He’s got points in each of his past three games.

WHO’S IN GOAL:

Todd Scott?: David Tendeck has led the Giants to back-to-back victories and could certainly warrant another start. But Todd Scott hasn’t played since opening night, and no doubt the talented draft eligible goaltender is chomping at the bit to get back in the net. With a lot of hockey coming up for the Giants it could very well mean that Scott gets the nod tonight in the rematch.

X-FACTOR:

Don’t Settle: At worst the Giants have secured a split this weekend. But tonight they have a great opportunity to turn an already good home stand into a great one with another two points. This young team is playing some confident and inspired hockey, and a sweep would do wonders for them as they have a seven-game road trip looming in the distance.

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