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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants at Kamloops Blazers (Game #5 – Round 2)

Rob Wilton

It’s do or die tonight for the Vancouver Giants. Thanks to a 4-2 road victory last night at the LEC, the Kamloops Blazers now have a 3-1 series lead on the Giants in their second round playoff matchup. A win for the G-Men tonight would extend the series and send it back to Langley on Sunday. A loss means that Kamloops will advance to Round 3. Puck drop is tonight at 7:00PM.

RADIOWEBCAST

KAMLOOPS BLAZERS 

OVERVIEW

 Record: 7-1-0-0

Last game: A 4-2 win against the Giants in Langley last night.

Goals For/Goals Against: 36GF/12GA (+24)

Power Play: 11/49 (22.5%)

Penalty Kill: 31/34 (91.2%)

Leading Scorers: Logan Stankoven (9-9-18), Luke Toporowski (6-7-13), Caedan Bankier (4-6-10)

A FRANCHISE FIRST?

 This is the third time the Blazers have met the Giants in a playoff series, but they never advanced past the Giants in either of the first two series, which occurred in 2010 and 2004. A victory for the Blazers not only eliminates the Giants from the playoffs for their first time in franchise history, it also sends them to the third round of the WHL playoffs for only the second time since 1999.

STANKOVEN DELIVERS IN THE CLUTCH

 With nine goals and nine assists in eight playoff games, Logan Stankoven leads the Blazers in playoff scoring. Stankoven has recorded two-or-more points in six of those eight games. The Dallas Stars prospect and Kamloops native scored the game-winning goal and added an empty netter last night to give the Blazers a 4-2 victory and subsequently a chance to clinch the series tonight at home. Stankoven’s two-goal effort prevented him from being held off the scoresheet in back-to-back games for the first time in nearly three months. He finished third in league scoring during the regular season with 104 points in 59 games.

BLAZERS NOTES

  • The Blazers are looking to advance to the third round of the WHL Playoffs for the first since 2013.
  • At 91.2%, the Blazers have the second-best PK in the playoffs.
  • The Blazers are 5-0 at the Sandman Centre in the postseason.
  • The Blazers allowed three goals against in both Game 3 and Game 4 after giving up that same amount in their four-game sweep against the Spokane Chiefs.
  • Dylan Garand enters tonight’s game with a 7-1 record, a 1.51 GAA, and a 0.941 SV%.

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

 OVERVIEW

 Record: 5-5-0-0

Last game: A 4-2 loss in Langley against Kamloops last night at home.

Goals For/Goals Against: 39GF/39GA (EVEN)

Power Play: 14/43 (32.6%)

Penalty Kill: 40/52 (76.9%)

Leading Scorers: Zack Ostapchuk (5-14-19), Fabian Lysell (4-15-19), Alex Cotton (6-10-16)

DESPERATION TIME

For the first time in a span of 11 playoff games so far this season, the Vancouver Giants are facing elimination. In order to keep their season alive tonight the Giants will have to do something that they only managed to do once during the regular season – And that’s win in Kamloops. Back on February 19th the Giants erased a third period deficit on their way to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Blazers. Fabian Lysell had the OT winner on a breakaway and Jesper Vikman made 49 saves which was his regular season high.

A GIANT DUO

Coming into tonight’s game, Zach Ostapchuk and Fabian Lysell share the playoff scoring lead with 19 points each through 10 games. Fabian Lysell also leads the WHL with 15 assists and seven power play assists. Zack Ostapchuk has five goals and trails Lysell by just one assist for the league lead. Both players have been significant sparks for the Giants offence during the playoffs, and no doubt will need to be a factor tonight if the Giants want to extend their season. So far in the series Lysell (4A) and Zack Ostapchuk (2G, 1A) have combined for seven points.

 

GIANTS NOTES 

  • The Giants are 4-0 in the playoffs when they score first.
  • When leading after two periods during the playoffs the Giants are also 4-0.
  • Jesper Vikman leads all goalies in saves throughout the playoffs with 291 through nine games.
  • The Vancouver Giants have had 11 power plays through five games in the series, the Kamloops Blazers have had 23.
  • The Giants have only outshot their opposition three times in 10 playoff games, but are 2-1 in those contests.
  • Five of Adam Hall’s eight goals during the playoffs have come on the road.
  • Fabian Lysell has recorded two-or-more points in six of the Giants first 10 playoff games.

 *Notes provided by: Kyle Dalla Zanna

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