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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants at Kelowna Rockets (Game 55)

Chris Relke

Tonight in Kelowna the Vancouver Giants take to the ice for the sixth time this season against their B.C. Division rivals, the Kelowna Rockets. The Giants are riding high following a 5-4 home victory last night over Spokane and have won each of their past six games. The Kelowna Rockets were also in action last night, and dropped a hard fought 3-1 decision at home to Everett. The Rockets come into tonight’s game with af our point lead on Kamloops for third place in the B.C. Divisiion standings. The Giants are 4-0-0-1 against Kelowna this season and are 3-0 against them at Prospera Place. The lone victory though for the Rockets came in their last meeting back on January 27th in Langley.

 

KELOWNA ROCKETS

OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Adam Foote

Record: 23-27-4-1

Home Record: 11-13-2-1

Last Game: A 3-1 loss at home last night to Everett

Last 10: 4-5-1-0

Goals For/Goals Against: 136 GF/170 GA (-34)

Power Play: 22.2% (11th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 78.6% (11th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Kyle Topping (55GP – 20G -40A – 60PTS), Leif Mattson (55GP – 19G – 35A – 54PTS), Nolan Foote (53GP – 28G – 21A – 49PTS)

A NEW LEIF:

1999-born forward Leif Mattson is on pace to set new season highs in both assists and points for the Kelowna Rockets. The pride of Stonewall, MB comes into tonight’s game with 35 assists and 54 points. Last season he managed 60 points in 63 games, meaning he’s only five points shy of surpassing last season’s total. In five meetings against the Giants this season, Mattson leads all Rockets with six assists and six points.

ON ‘TOP’ OF THE ROCKETS:

1999-born forward Kyle Topping comes into tonight’s game leading the Rockets in scoring with 20 goals and 40 assists for 60 points. Topping is just three goals and six points shy of setting new season highs in both categories. In five games against the Giants this season, Topping has registered three goals to lead all Rockets. In fact Topping has recorded three of Kelowna’s six goals against Vancouver this season.

PLAYOFF SCENARIO:

Heading into action tonight the Kelowna Rockets hold a four point lead on the Kamloops Blazers for the third placed playoff spot in the B.C. Division standings. Thanks to the Giants victory last night, coupled with Kelowna’s loss to Everett, the Rockets cannot mathematically catch the Giants in the B.C. Division – Meaning the best they can finish is second. The Rockets have played one more game than the Blazers who are idle tonight. A win tonight would be HUGE for the Rockets as far as gaining some separation from Kamloops. They trail the Royals by eight points for second in the B.C. Division.

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Michael Dyck

Record: 38-13-2-1

Road Record: 16-8-1-0

Last Game: A 5-4 win at home last night over Spokane

Last 10: 8-1-0-1

Goals For/Goals Against: 177 GF/127 GA (+50)

Power Play: 22.7% (8th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 84.7% (2nd in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (54GP – 22G – 36A – 58PTS), Bowen Byram (54GP -21G – 33A – 54PTS), Milos Roman (48GP – 21G – 21A – 42PTS)

ALL ‘SORDS’ OF SUCCESS:

Over his past six games, rookie forward Justin Sourdif has notched four goals and two assists for six points. The third overall pick from the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft now has 16 goals on the season, and could potentially become just the third Giants 16-year-old to ever secure 20-plus goals in a season. The only other two to do so: Gilbert Brule (25 in 03-04) and Evander Kane (24 in 07-08). He currently sits fourth in goal scoring among WHL rookies.

B.C. DIVISION DOMINANCE:

The Giants enter tonight’s game with an overall record of 21-3-1-1 against the B.C. Division this season. On the road the Giants are 10-1-1-0 against the B.C. Division and are 3-0 so far this season at Prospera Place against the Rockets. In five meetings on the season against the Kelowna the Giants have outscored the Rockets 15-7.

GIANTS NOTES:

  • When leading after the first period the Giants are 16-0-0-0
  • When leading after the second period the Giants are 23-1-0-0
  • When the Giants score four-or-more goals they are 20-1
  • The Giants are 24-1 in games when they score first.
  • Davis Koch has two goals and five assists for seven points over the course of his past six games.
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