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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants vs. Kelowna Rockets (Game #70)

Tonight in Langley, the Vancouver Giants take the ice at home for the final time in the regular season and they’ll do so with plenty to still play for. Home ice advantage in Round 1 is still in play for the Giants but in order to get there they’ll need to win tonight at home against the Rockets and they’ll need some help from the Everett Silvertips who are hosting the Victoria Royals who will face the Giants in Round 1 of the playoffs. The Giants are coming off a 4-1 road victory in Kamloops on Wednesday and are looking to snag their 37th win of the season tonight against the B.C. Division champs from Kelowna.

March 16 Kelowna Game Notes

KELOWNA ROCKETS

 OVERVIEW:

Record: 41-22-5-2

Road Record: 16-15-4-0

Last Game: A 6-3 victory at home over the Prince George Cougars Wednesday

Last 10: 5-4-1-0

Goals For/Goals Against: 267/246 (+21)

Power Play: 26.0% (3rd in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 76.9% (!6th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Kole Lind (57GP – 38G – 55A – 93PTS), Dillon Dube (52GP – 36G – 44A – 80PTS), Carsen Twarynski (67GP – 43G – 27A – 70PTS)

WHO’S UP FRONT:

Kole Lind: The 19-year-old product of Shaunavon, SK was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in Round 2 (33rd overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. This season he’s registered 38 goals and 55 assists for 93 points which leads the team. He’s registered six goals and six assists for 12 points in his last seven games.

Dillon Dube: The captain of Canada’s World Junior Gold Medal team at the World Juniors sits second on the team in scoring with 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points. The Calgary Flames prospect has two goals and three assists for five points in four games against the Giants.

WHO’S ON D:

Cal Foote: The 14th overall pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning leads all Rockets defencemen in scoring with 19 goals and 49 assists for 68 total points. He come into tonight’s game tied for fourth in league scoring among defencemen and is tied with Regina’s Josh Mahura.  He had two goals and an assist Wednesday against Prince George and has six assists in six games for Kelowna against Vancouver.

Gordie Ballhorn: The 20-year-old has had his best season statistically in the WHL. His +31 rating marks the best plus-minus on the team and his five goals and 28 assists for 33 points are a new career high. Ballhorn is also one of just two Kelowna Rockets to suit up in all 70 games for Kelowna.

 WHO’S IN GOAL:

James Porter?: The 17-year-old rookie is 2-2-1-0 in five appearances against the Giants with a 3.85 goals-against-average and an .879 save percentage. His record is 21-9-4-1 with three shutouts, a 3.34 goals-against-average and an .894 save percentage.

X-FACTOR:

Carsen Twarynski: The recently signed Philadelphia Flyers prospect leads all Rockets with 43 goals and also with five goals and three assists for eight points in six games against the Giants. He’s tied for ninth in league goal-scoring.

 

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

 OVERVIEW:

Record: 36-25-6-3

Home Record: 20-12-2-1

Last Game: A 4-1 victory Wednesday in Kamloops

Last 10: 5-4-1-0

Goals For/Goals Against: 230/244 (-14)

Power Play: 22.7% (12th in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 79.5% (5th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Ty Ronning (69GP -60G – 23A – 83PTS), Tyler Benson (57GP – 27G – 42A – 69PTS), James Malm (70GP – 19G – 46A – 65PTS)

WHO’S UP FRONT:

Ty Ronning: The 20-year-old prospect of the New York Rangers recorded his 60th goal of the season on Wednesday in Kamloops and leads all Giants with 83 points. He’s got five goals in his past five games and has four goals and an assist in five games against Kelowna this season.

Tyler Benson: The Giants captain leads all Vancouver skaters with five goals and three assists for eight points in six games against the Rockets. Benson has points in each of his past five games and has four goals and three assists for seven points in that span. He had the OT winner in Kelowna against the Rockets back on March 7th.

WHO’S ON D:

Dylan Plouffe: The 18-year-old missed Wedneday’s game with an illness but will draw back into the lineup tonight for the Giants. He leads all Giants defencemen in scoring with nine goals and 31 assists for 40 points and should see ample minutes in all situations tonight.

Matt Barberis: Veteran Matt Barberis also returns to the lineup tonight after missing the past two games. The 19-year-old has three goals and 27 assists for 30 points to sit second among defencemen in scoring.

WHO’S IN GOAL:

Trent Miner: The rookie turned aside 39 of the 40 shots he faced on Wedneday to lead the Giants to a 4-1 victory in Kamloops and tonight he’ll look for more of the same against the B.C. Division champs. Miner’s goals-against-average is 3.55 with a .904 save percentage. He’s never faced the Kelowna Rockets.

X-FACTOR

 Davis Koch: The 19-year-old Surrey product brings a seven-game point streak into tonight’s game. During that span, Koch has contributed a goal and 11 assists for 12 points. For the season he’s got 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points. In four games against Kelowna this season he’s got three goals and two assists for five points.

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