Tonight in Kelowna the Vancouver Giants wrap up their 2018-19 regular season with one final clash with the Kelowna Rockets. Tonight’s game means next to nothing for the Giants as far as the standings are concerned, but the Kelowna Rockets have ‘everything’ on the line. The Giants clinched first place in the Western Conference with yesterday’s win (plus some help from Victoria) while the Rockets now sit tied with Kamloops for the third and final playoff spot in the B.C. Division with one game remaining for each team. Tonight is a must-win for Kelowna and the Giants have a chance to play the role of spoiler when they invade Prospera Place tonight at 7:05 PM.
RADIO – WHL LIVE
Head Coach: Adam Foote
Home Record: 13-15-4-1
Last 10: 3-4-2-1
Goals For/Goals Against: 166 GF/207 GA (-41)
Power Play: 21.7% (11th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 77.7% (12th in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Kyle Topping (67GP – 23G – 45A – 68PTS), Nolan Foote (65GP – 36G – 27A – 63PTS), Leif Mattson (67GP – 22G – 40A – 62PTS)
AVOIDING A DROUGHT:
The Kelowna Rockets have made the playoffs in each of the past 11 seasons. That streak could be in jeopardy if they lose tonight’s game. The last time they missed the playoffs was during the 2006-07 season when the Giants ultimately won the Memorial Cup. In fact that 2006-07 season was the only time Kelowna has missed the playoffs since 1996. You’d better believe that the Rockets are going to bring their very best effort to avoid snapping that 11-year streak.
THE SEASON SERIES SO FAR:
The Rockets have struggled against the Giants this season posting just one victory in eight tries. In four home games against the Giants the Rockets are 0-4 and have been outscored 11-2 and have been shut out twice. Kelowna’s only victory against the Giants this season came on January 27th – A 4-3 shootout victory at the LEC.
With Matt Barberis sidelined, that leaves 20-year-old defencemen Dalton Gally and Schael Higson who will playing for their WHL careers tonight. Higson is a veteran of 310 career WHL games and has posted 26 points through 48 games this season with both Brandon and Kelowna. Gally has suited up in 193 career WHL games with Medicine Hat and Kelowna. He has 10 assists through 63 games this season.
Head Coach: Michael Dyck
Road Record: 22-9-1-1
Goals For/Goals Against: 226 GF/159 GA (+67)
Power Play: 24.3% (4th in WHL)
Penalty Kill: 84.8% (2nd in WHL)
Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (67GP – 28G – 50A – 78PTS), Bowen Byram (67GP – 26G – 45A – 71PTS), Milos Roman (58GP – 27G – 32A – 59PTS)
With the game tied 1-1 late in the third period the one of the Giants longest tenured players delivered. Dylan Plouffe fired home his eighth goal of the season on a power play from the right-wing point, essentially clinching the top record in the Western Conference standings. Plouffe has now scored in back-to-back games for the Giants and has now suited up in 244 games in a Giants uniform – The most of any homegrown Giant.
A LOOK AT THE FUTURE:
The exact details of the Giants lineup for tonight have yet to be finalized, but it’s safe to suggest that there will be plenty of youth on display for the G-Men when they take the ice against Kelowna tonight. Krz Plummer, Tanner Brown and Joel Sexsmith have all been added to the Giants roster for tonight’s game.
- The Giants power play is 20/58 and has scored at least once in 14 of it’s past 16 games.
- The Giants penalty kill is 10 for its last 10. The Giants have surrendered a power play goal against in just one of their past five games.
- The Giants are 29-3-1-2 this season against the B.C. Division standings.
- The Giants are 22-4-2-2 in one-goal games.
- Milos Roman could return to the Giants lineup tonight after missing the team’s previous three games.