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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants vs. Kelowna Rockets (Game #5)

Paige Bednorz

Tonight at the Langley Events Centre the Vancouver Giants look to snap a modest two-game losing streak when they take to the ice against the Kelowna Rockets for the first time this season. Last night the G-Men fell 7-4 in Kamloops, and are hoping that a quick turnaround can help their cause as they face a fresh Rockets club that hasn’t played in over a calendar week.

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KELOWNA ROCKETS

OVERVIEW

Head Coach: Kris Mallette

Record: 2-1

Road Record: 1-1

Last Game: A 4-2 win at home over Kamloops on October 15th

Goals For/Goals Against: 13 GF/12 GA (+1)

Power Play: 3/7 – 42.9% (1st)

Penalty Kill: 8/10 – 80% (12th)

Leading Scorers: Pavel Novak (3GP – 2G – 4A – 6PTS), Colton Dach (2GP – 3G – 1A – 4PTS), Max Graham (3GP – 2G – 1A – 3PTS)

WHAT’S UP DACH?

So far the early returns have paid off handsomely for the Kelowna Rockets after a late September trade sent Tyler Wong to Saskatoon in exchange for Chicago Blackhawks prospect Colton Dach. In two games with Kelowna, Colton Dach has registered three goals and one assist for four points. Originally selected sixth overall in the 2018 WHL Prospects Draft by the Saskatoon Blades, Dach was drafted by the Blackhawks in Round 2 (62nd overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. On October 1st, Dach inked a three-year entry-level contract with Chicago. Tonight’s game will mark just the second time Colton Dach has ever faced the Giants. The last time¬†was¬†October 9, 2019 when Dach was a member of the Saskatoon Blades.

NOVAK SHINES EARLY

In 2019, the Kelowna Rockets selected skilled 2003-born Czech forward Pavel Novak with the 13th overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. During his rookie season in the WHL, Novak struck for 25 goals and added 33 assists for 58 points which led the team and ranked him third among all WHL rookies in scoring that season. So far in 2021-2022 he hasn’t skipped a beat with a team- best six points (2G, 4A) in three games. Novak has posted two points in each of his first three games this season.
ROCKET NOTES
  • 13 different Rockets have recorded at least one point so far this season.
  • In his Kelowna debut on October 15th, goaltender Colby Knight stopped 29 of 31 shots to earn the victory against Kamloops.
  • The Rockets were 2-2 against the Giants last season, earning both wins against Vancouver on home ice.
  • Nolan Flamand led all active Rockets last season with three points (all assists) against Vancouver.

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

OVERVIEW

Head Coach: Michael Dyck

Record: 2-2

Home Record: 1-1

Last Game: A 7-4 loss last night in Kamloops

Goals For/Goals Against: 15 GF/16 GA (-1)

Power Play: 1/12 – 8.3% (21st)

Penalty Kill: 17/21 – 80.9% (11th)

Leading Scorers: Justin Sourdif (4GP – 2G – 5A – 7PTS), Adam Hall (4GP – 4G – 1A – 5PTS), Ty Thorpe (4GP – 2G – 3A – 5PTS)

LYSELL FINDING HIS GROOVE?

It didn’t take long for Fabian Lysell to discover his scoring touch at the WHL level. Last night in Kamloops, Fabian Lysell led all Giants skaters with three points (1G, 2A) and received second star honours for his efforts. Mid-way through the third period, Fabian Lysell skated onto a pass from Justin Sourdif, moved into the right-wing circle and wired home his first career WHL goal past the glove of Dylan Garand. In three games so far this season, Lysell has posted one goal and three assists for four points. The 2003-born forward is one of five Giants skaters currently at a point-per-game (or better) clip through four games.

McNELLY’S DEBUT

Tonight marks the 2021-2022 season debut for Giants over-age defenceman Cade McNelly. The 2001-born product of Westlock, AB was suspended late in the 2021 season when he was still a member of the Seattle Thunderbirds, and tonight he’ll officially put a Giants sweater on for the first time in a game. In 121 career WHL games, McNelly has managed six goals, 11 assists and 315 career penalty minutes. His return to the Giants lineup will give them a full roster of 20-year-old players for the first time in a span of five games to start the season.

GIANT NOTES

  • Three Giants: Fabian Lysell, Nicco Camazzola and Ethan Semeniuk have all scored their first career WHL goals in October.
  • Captain Justin Sourdif has managed three multi-point games so far through four games.
  • Justin Sourdif led all Giants with four goals and seven assists for 11 points in four games against Kelowna last season. He factored in on 11 of the Giants 18 total goals against the Rockets.
  • Tonight’s game marks the first of three straight meetings for the G-Men against Kelowna. They’ll also face the Rockets at home next Friday (Oct. 29) and then in Kelowna on Wednesday, November 3rd.

 

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