Recap: Strong Start pushes Giants Past Cougars
The Vancouver Giants continue their winning ways on the road, with their 5-1 win over the Prince George Cougars, on the Tuesday night at the CN Centre.
The Giants (24-14-3-2) won their seventh-straight away from home and their fourth in seven games against the Cougars (15-19-4-3). The Giants last road loss came in Prince George, a 6-2 setback on December 2nd.
Ethan Browne and Austin Crossley made their Cougars debut, as Browne was one of four 16-year-olds dress for Prince George. The Cougars line-up Tuesday averaged out to just 17 and a half years-old.
Dawson Holt and James Malm each recorded three-point nights (1-2-3), and Matt Barberis, Kaleb Bulych and Jared Dmytriw also scored for the Giants. David Tendeck turned aside 21 of 22 shots in the Vancouver crease.
Jared Bethune scored in his third-straight game, as he picked up his 14th goal late in the first period; he has five goals since Friday. Tavin Grant started for the Cougars, stopping 16 of 21-shots, before Taylor Gauthier spelled him off midway through the second period.
Holt opened the scoring seven and a half minutes into the game, capitalizing on a turnover behind the Cougars’ net. Malm stole the puck behind the goal and found Holt in the slot, who spun and fired the puck over Grant’s blocker at 7:27.
Malm doubled the visitors lead just a minute and a half after Holt’s goal, as he followed the bouncing puck to the net. The puck skittered across the Cougars’ zone, before landing onto the stick of Malm, who from below the goal-line, banked it back off of the skate of Grant and just over the goal-line.
Liam Ryan then dropped the mitts with Vancouver’s Alex Kannok-Leipert late in the first period, and it was Giants coming out of that skirmish with a power-play.
Matt Barberis made it 3-0 for the Giants on that power-play with just four-minutes left in the first. Barberis’ point-shot went off a defender in front of the net and fluttered over Grant’s shoulder at 16:04.
The Cougars, in particular Jared Bethune, had a quick response. 13-seconds after Barberis scored, Bethune replied for the home team. On a determined effort, the veteran dug the puck out of skates behind the night, curled out front and roofed it over Tendeck’s glove.
Vancouver pushed back in the second and restored their three-goal lead early. Kaleb Bulych made it 4-1, after he scored his first career WHL goal just over two-minutes into the frame. Bulych fired from the point and it went off the base of the post and past a screened Grant at 2:21.
Dmytriw finished off the scoring for Vancouver midway through the middle stanza. Dmytriw fired the puck from the wall and underneath the arm of Grant, after he was scrambling back from a puck-playing miscue below the goal-line at 12:04.
The third period was highlighted by a heavyweight tilt between newcomer Austin Crossley and Vancouver’s Darian Skeoch. The two squared up in the neutral zone with less than five-minutes left, and quickly exchanged heavy blows before tumbling down to the ice on top of one another.
FINAL SCORE: 5-1 Giants
Shots: 31-22 Giants
Power-Plays: Cougars 0-2 Giants 1-2
Three Stars: 1) James Malm 2) Dawson Holt 3) Jared Bethune
The Cougars continue their home stand Tuesday Wednesday, in the back half of their doubleheader against the Vancouver Giants; puck drop is 7 pm. Tickets are available at the TicketsNorth box office, or online at www.ticketsnorth.ca