The Vancouver Giants (17-15-1-1) are heading into the new year riding a three-game winning streak. Saturday night in front of 4537 strong at the LEC the Vancouver Giants defeated the Kelowna Rockets (18-13-1-2) 6-2. Cole Shepard paced the Giants with two goals and an assist while Tristen Nielsen (2A), Michal Kvasnica (2A) and Tyler Preziuso (1G, 1A) all added multi-point games. Trent Miner stopped 25 of Kelowna’s 27 shots to help lead the Giants to their 17th win of the season and their third in as many tries against the Rockets. Liam Kindree responded with both Kelowna goals.
GIANTS EARN THEIR THIRD STRAIGHT WIN
VAN – 2:48 into the game, Tristen Nielsen and Tyler Preziuso combined on a shorthanded two-on-one to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. Preziuso finished off the Nielsen feed from the left-wing to secure his 14th goal of the season.
KEL – 31 seconds later the Rockets responded on the same power play when Liam Kindree one-timed home his fifth of the season past Trent Miner from the right-wing circle.
VAN – Jackson Shepard restored the lead for the Giants at 4:31 off another two-on-one chance. Michal Kvasnica carried the puck down the right-wing and centered a pass for Shepard who did the rest, tucking his sixth of the season by Cole Schwebius.
VAN – The younger Shepard brother got in on the scoring act at 10:34. Cole Shepard took a breakaway feed from Michal Kvasnica and snuck a backhand shot through Schwebius’ pads and home for his seventh goal of the season.
VAN – Cole Shepard wasn’t done. He ripped home his eight of the season on a power play at 17:34 off a shot from the left-wing circle. Tristen Nielsen and Tyler Preziuso both assisted on the play.
Shots: 14-7 Vancouver
VAN – Early in the second period, Cole Shepard earned his third point of the game when he assisted on Zack Ostapchuk’s third goal of the season. Ostapchuk took a Shepard pass, skated in close and roofed his shot over Cole Schwebius’ left shoulder.
VAN – Milos Roman notched Vancouver’s final goal of the night at 14:24 of the middle frame off a shot from the high slot. Justin Sourdif had the lone helper on Roman’s 50th career WHL goal.
*Kelowna pulled Cole Schwebius in favour of Roman Basran.
Shots: 12 – 8 Kelowna
KEL – Liam Kindree struck for a second time at 16:30 while shorthanded. He forced a turnover inside the Giants zone and roofed his sixth of the season over Trent Miner’s shoulder to make the final score 6-2 in favour of the Giants.
Shots: 11-8 Vancouver
Final Score: Vancouver 6 – Kelowna 2
Final Shots: 33 – 27 Vancouver
Trent Miner: 25/27 saves for Vancouver (7-7-1-1)
Cole Schwebius: 16/22 saves for Kelowna (4-5)
Roman Basran: 11/11 saves for Kelowna
Vancouver Power Play: 1/6
Kelowna Power Play: ¼
*Both teams had a shorthanded goal.
- Cole Shepard (VAN – 2G, 1A)
- Tristen Nielsen (VAN – 2A)
- Seth Bafaro (VAN – 1A, +4)
Next Giants Game: Wednesday, January 1st at 2:00 PM against the Victoria Royals.
“In the first period we were opportunistic and utilized our speed well. We got the puck moving quickly to areas where we could skate onto it and took advantage of our opportunities,” – Michael Dyck.
“We all just bought in. We played hard, played to our game and that’s why the score was 6-2.” – Cole Shepard
- Thanks to their victory, the Giants now sit three points back of Kelowna for second place in the B.C. Division standings.
- The Giants also remain two points back of Victoria for third place in the B.C. Division standings.
- The Giants improved to 3-0 on the season against Kelowna and 2-0 against them at home.
- Milos Roman recorded the 50th goal of his WHL career in the second period of Saturday’s game.
- Saturday’s three-point effort was the first of Cole Shepard’s WHL career.