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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants at Seattle Thunderbirds (Game 66)

Brian Liesse

Tonight in Kent, WA the Vancouver Giants kick off their final week of regular season play when they take the ice against a potential first-round playoff opponent, the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Giants have not seen the Seattle Thunderbirds since November 21st and both teams have a remarkably different look and feel to them since that meeting (Which the Giants won 4-2). Both teams head into this week with plenty to play for. Two points for Seattle would outright clinch a spot in the top eight while the Giants come into this game tied with Everett for first place in the Western Conference standings. Tonight Everett is in Portland so there will be plenty of scoreboard scanning going on tonight.

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SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Matt O’Dette

Record: 28-28-6-2

Home Record: 16-13-2-1

Last Game: A 2-1 win on Saturday night at home against Everett

Last 10: 7-1-1-1

Goals For/Goals Against: 213 GF/228 GA (-15)

Power Play: 19,8% (15th in WHL)

Penalty Box: 76.0% (19th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Matthew Wedman (63GP – 37G – 35A – 72PTS), Noah Philp (53GP – 24G – 46A – 70PTS), Andrej Kukuca (57GP – 25G – 29A – 54PTS)

I AM THE WED ‘MAN’:

1999-born forward Matthew Wedman is in the midst of a career season for the Seattle Thunderbirds. The product of Edmonton, AB comes into tonight’s game with 37 goals and 35 assists to lead all Seattle skaters with 72 points. Additionally he’s compiled 106 penalty minutes. Over his past six games he’s managed five goals along with two assists for seven points. In three games against the Giants he’s scored three goals. He’s 25 points ahead of his previous career high that he established during the 2017-18 season.

ROSS IS THE BOSS:

Tonight in Seattle the Vancouver Giants could get their first look at 2000-born goaltender Roddy Ross. The 6’4” product of Meadow Lake, SK has taken the league by storm since arriving in early January from the AJHL. In 22 appearances Ross is 14-4-1-2 with a 2.56 goals-against-average, a .925 save percentage and has gone 6-0-1-1 over the course of his last eight starts. Ross is a major reason why the Seattle Thunderbirds currently sit two points shy of an outright clinch of a playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

GET YOUR ‘PHIL’:

20-year-old Noah Philp is enjoying his most successful season yet in the WHL. Coming into action tonight, Philp sits second in team scoring with 24 goals and 46 assists for 70 points. Over the course of his past 14 games, Philp has managed five goals and 13 assists for 18 points. He checks in a 6’3” and 198 pounds.

 

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Michael Dyck

Record: 46-15-2-2

Road Record: 21-9-1-1

Last Game: A 4-3 overtime victory Saturday night in Kennewick, WA.

Last 10: 7-2-0-1

Goals For/Goals Against: 219 GF/157 GA (+62)

Power Play: 23.5% (5th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 84.5% (2nd in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (65GP – 28G – 46A – 74PTS), Bowen Byram (65GP – 26A – 43A – 69PTS), Milos Roman (58GP – 27G – 32A – 59PTS)

BYRAM MAKES HISTORY (AGAIN):

On Saturday night with the game on the line, Bowen Byram once again showed a flair for the dramatic, delivering his league-leading sixth overtime winning goal of the season. Byram’s 26th goal of the season put him into a class of his own in the WHL record books. His six overtime winners this season is the most ever recorded by a player in a single WHL season. Previously the record had been held by Deven Sideroff (Kamloops, 2016-17) and Eric Fehr (Brandon, 2004-05). His 26 goals are tops among all WHL defencemen. He’s five points back of the league-lead in points among defencemen.

SOURDIF SOARS:

Rookie Justin Sourdif has been on a tear as of late posting three goals and seven assists for 10 points over the course of his last seven games. His +28 rating is the second highest rating on the team, and his 21 goals leads all 2002-born skaters in the WHL. His 44 points rank him third among all WHL rookies.

GIANTS NOTES:

  • Tonight’s game marks the final regular season matchup for the Giants against a US Division opponent. The Giants are 10-8-1-0 against the US Division this season.
  • The Giants power play has scored a goal in seven of the past eight games. During that span the power play is 10-for-28.
  • Bowen Byram leads all Giants 15 road goals.
  • Dylan Plouffe is one point away from 100 for his WHL career

 

 

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