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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants vs. Kamloops Blazers (Game #42)

Allen Douglas

Tonight at the Langley Events Centre, the Vancouver Giants take aim at their third victory in as many days as they wrap up a three-in-three stretch against the B.C. Division leading Kamloops Blazers. So far this weekend the Giants have rattled off two convincing victories over the Victoria Royals and have moved within three points of a top three playoff spot in the B.C. Division standings. The Kamloops Blazers though are a team to be reckoned with. In two games this weekend against Tri-City, the Blazers have outscored them 21-3.

 

KAMLOOPS BLAZERS

OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Shaun Clouston

Record: 29-11-2-1

Road Record: 12-7-2-0

Last Game: A 9-0 win at home last night against the Tri-City Americans

Last 10: 8-2-0-0

Goals For/Goals Against: 187 GF/106 GA (+81)

Record vs. VAN: 3-0

Power Play: 25.9% (3rd)

Penalty Kill: 88.6% (1st)

Leading Scorers: Zane Franklin (43GP – 25G – 47A – 72PTS), Orrin Centazzo (43GP – 32G – 29A – 61PTS), Connor Zary (38GP – 27G – 29A – 56PTS)

LET’S BE FRANK:

Blazers captain Zane Franklin comes into tonight’s game holding the WHL lead in scoring with 72 points in 43 games. The product of Marwayne, AB has notched 25 goals along with 47 assists and has already surpassed his previous season high for points (68) that he set last season. So far this weekend, Franklin has supplied a goal and five assists for six points as the Kamloops Blazers are coming off two dominant victories over the Tri-City Americans. Altogether, Franklin has recorded points in seven straight games and during that span he’s managed five goals and 12 assists for 17 points. Franklin has been especially effective this season against the Giants having mustered five goals and two assists for seven points. Franklin scored the overtime winner for Kamloops on January 3rd in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Giants.

BE WARY OF ZARY:

2001-born forward Connor Zary has had quite a week. On Thursday, Zary registered three assists for Team White during the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Zary then returned to the Blazers lineup last night and scored the first two goals of the game in what ended up as a 9-0 victory for Kamloops over Tri-City. For the season, Zary has notched 56 points through 38 games. He’s ranked #12 on NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings List for the 2020 NHL Draft. He’s notched five goals and four assists over his past four games.

KAMLOOPS NOTES:

  • The Kamloops Blazers have won seven games in a row.
  • With 187 goals scored, the Blazers have scored more goals than any other team in the WHL this season.
  • Dylan Garand is 3-0 against Vancouver this season with a .962 save percentage, and a 0.98 goals-against average.
  • The Blazers power play is 5/12 on the season against Vancouver.
  • Kamloops is currently ranked #7 in the CHL Kia Top 10 national rankings.

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Michael Dyck

Record: 19-18-2-2

Home Record: 9-8-1-0

Last Game: A 6-2 win last night in Victoria.

Last 10: 5-3-1-1

Record vs. KAM: 0-2-1-0

Goals For/Goals Against: 107 GF/108 GA (-1)

Power Play: 14.9% (20th)

Penalty Kill: 81.1% (7th)

Leading Scorers: Tristen Nielsen (41GP – 20G – 20A – 40PTS), Tyler Preziuso (41GP – 16G – 16A – 32PTS), Justin Sourdif (37GP – 14G – 17A – 31PTS)

ERIC ‘SCORE’CHUK:

Eric Florchuk has wasted little time making a strong first impression with his new team. The 6’2″ forward from Fort Saskatchewan, AB has recorded at least one point in each of his first four games as a Giant and this weekend alone has registered four goals in a span of two games. On Friday night at home, Florchuk scored three times giving him his second hat-trick of the season and the first Giants hat-trick since October, 2018. Last night Florchuk registered his 15th goal of the season which came on a five-on-three power play chance in the second period. Florchuk was selected by the Washington Capitals in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Draft, making him one of six NHL drafted prospects on the Vancouver Giants roster.

THE BROTHERS SHEPARD:

It has been quite a weekend so far for both Jackson and Cole Shepard. Last night in Victoria, the elder Shepard (Jackson) scored once and added two assists for three points and was named the game’s first star. Younger brother Cole added a goal and an assist for two points. For the weekend the brothers have combined for two goals and six assists.

VANCOUVER NOTES:

  • Since January 10th, the Vancouver Giants power play is 6/13. It went 4/7 last night in Victoria.
  • Last season at home the Giants were a perfect 4-0 against Kamloops.
  • The Giants are 14-0 when leading after two periods.
  • Tonight marks the 200th career regular season game for Tristen Nielsen.
  • Michael Dyck’s next victory will mark the 200th of his WHL coaching career.
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