PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants at Lethbridge Hurricanes (Game #41)
Tonight in Lethbridge, AB the road show continues for the Vancouver Giants. Jason McKee’s crew have rattled off four straight road wins and have just one regulation loss in their last 11 games. Wednesday in Edmonton the G-Men started their trip on a winning note with a 4-3 shootout decision and tonight on Day 5 of their swing, they’ll battle the Lethbridge Hurricanes – A team that’s two points back of second place in the Central Division standings. When these teams met in Langley on November 22nd the Hurricanes were full marks in a 5-2 victory. The G-Men are no doubt mindful of that defeat and will look to respond with a strong effort tonight at the Enmax Centre.
Head Coach: Brent Kisio
Home Record: 11-6-2-0
Last Game: A 7-0 victory over the Kootenay Ice on Tuesday.
Last 10: 4-4-2-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 135/130
Power Play: 30.5% (2nd in the WHL)
Penalty Kill: 75.4% (16th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Giorgio Estephan (37GP – 17G – 39A – 56PTS), Jordy Bellerive (36GP – 22G – 27A – 49PTS), Calen Addison (37GP – 7G – 36A – 43PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Giorgio Estephan: Leading the way for Lethbridge is 20-year-old Giorgio Estephan. The talented forward leads all Hurricanes with 56 points and has recorded three goals and and seven assists over the course of his current five-game point streak.
Jordy Bellerive: The 18-year-old prospect of the Pittsburgh Penguins leads the Hurricanes with 22 goals and has scored goals in each of his past four games. 11 of his 22 goals have come via the scorching Hurricanes power play. He had a goal against Vancouver on November 22nd at the LEC.
WHO’S ON D:
Calen Addison: The sophomore defenceman sits third overall in scoring amongst defencemen with seven goals and 36 assists. His 25 power play assists are tops among defenceman and second to only Moose Jaw’s Brayden Burke overall. Addison is eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft and has recorded eight assists over the course of his five-game point streak.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
Stuart Skinner: The 19-year-old prospect of the Edmonton Oilers has compiled a record of 14-13-2-0 through 29 appearances. During that span he’s also recorded four shutouts which ranks him second to only Everett’s Carter Hart who has five. Skinner’s goals-against-average is 3.24 and his save percentage is .902.
Power Play: The Lethbridge power play sits second best in the entire WHL clicking at 30.5%. The trio of Giorgio Estephan, Jordy Bellerive and Calen Addison are largely responsible for the unit’s success and have combined for 79 power play points. Discipline is going to be a major key tonight for the G-Men.
Head Coach: Jason McKee
Road Record: 9-7-2-2
Last Game: A 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oil Kings
Last 10: 8-1-1-0
Goals For/Goals Against: 143/148
Power Play: 22.7% (10th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 76.4% (15th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Ty Ronning (40GP – 34G – 16A – 50PTS), James Malm (40GP – 15G – 24A – 39PTS), Tyler Benson (27GP – 15G – 23A – 38PTS)
WHO’S UP FRONT:
Tyler Benson: The Giants captain had a goal Wednesday in Edmonton and now has a new season-high for goals with 15. Benson sits third in team scoring with 38 points in just 27 games. He had one of the Giants two goals against the Hurricanes back on November 22nd.
Ty Ronning: The Giants leading scorer comes into tonight’s game with 34 goals in 40 games. He’s the only Western Conference forward in the top six in goals and one of just three Western Conference forwards in the top 10. He sits third overall in the league trailing only Tyler Steenbergen (35, Swift Current) and Jayden Halbgewachs (41, Moose Jaw).
WHO’S ON D:
Dylan Plouffe: The 18-year-old leads the Giants in scoring from the back-end with seven goals and 25 assists for 32 points overall. He’s riding a three-game point streak and is coming off a game Wednesday where he had a goal and an assist.
Darian Skeoch: The rugged 20-year-old faces his former team for the final time in the regular season. Since he arrived in Vancouver in a trade with Lethbridge back in September, 2016 Skeoch has been one of the most important players on the Giants both on and off the ice. Skeoch will no doubt have some friends and family in the stands tonight and he’ll look to put on a good show as he goes head-to-head against the top Lethbridge forwards.
WHO’S IN GOAL:
David Tendeck: The 18-year-old is coming off a brilliant 37 save performance Wednesday in Edmonton. His record now sits at 14-7-0-1 with a 3.07 goals-against-average, a .909 save percentage and two shutouts. He has won each of his last four road starts.
Commitment to Defence: The high-flying Hurricanes have some of the best offensive depth in the Eastern Conference and they’re a group that can make life awfully difficult for opposing teams. Their confidence has to be sky-high after posting a 7-0 win at home Tuesday over Kootenay, and the Giants will need to play a structured and balanced defensive game on the road to find success tonight in Game 2 of this five-game swing.