The Giants improved to 3-1 on the season as they defeated the Prince George Cougars 1-0 in a shootout on Sunday night. Tristen Nielsen scored the game-winner in the third round with Trent Miner stopping all 14 shots in regulation plus three in the shootout to record his second consecutive shutout to start the season. The real star of the game tonight however was Prince George Cougars goaltender Tyler Brennan who made 43 saves in regulation and stopped the first two shooters in the shootout before Nielsen finally got one past him.
Brennan with the game of his WHL career
Tyler Brennan of Prince George was incredible tonight. He recorded his first career WHL shutout despite the loss. Brennan’s positioning and ability to control rebounds caused the Giants major problems tonight. The Giants were firing everything they could towards the net but Brennan was a man on a mission tonight.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 5, 2021
“You have to give credit to their goaltender,” said Associate Coach Keith McCambridge after the game. “He was big, he was strong, he made obviously a lot of key saves for them.”
Another shutout for Miner
On the opposite end, Miner had a quiet game with only 14 saves plus the three in the shootout. In games where goaltenders do not see much action, it is key for them to find a way to stay in the flow of the game. Miner was able to make some heads-up passes from catching Prince George on line changes, and backstop the team when Prince George was pressuring late. Although he was not needed much tonight, Miner stood tall when the team needed him and helped deliver a third straight win.
After the game, McCambridge was asked about his goaltender.
“The ability for him and his experience to stay focused, to stay composed and making sure he has his concentration on when that next shot comes. You don’t know when it is. Most times it’s easier for a goaltender when are busy like Prince George’s goalie was. When there is no minute to rest, you continue to get those shots and are in the game. It’s a real credit to him. He was able to keep his focus and when we needed him to stand tall, he did that.
A complete game
This was the best game the Giants have played start to finish this season. They possessed the puck and rarely allowed Prince George to set up in the offensive zone. Even when shorthanded, the Giants forced play up ice and even got some quality scoring chances. The only issue the Giants had was solving Tyler Brennan. Sometimes you are going to face a hot goalie but they never got discouraged and continued to apply pressure throughout the game. In the end, they were rewarded and skate off the ice with a 1-0 win tonight.
The @WHLGiants hang on for the SO win in a barn burner against the Cougars!
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 5, 2021
Three best Giants of the evening
Nieler was the only guy in the building to beat a goalie tonight! pic.twitter.com/ASR30wbgBY
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) April 5, 2021
It seems like every night Nielsen is one of the best players on the ice. Not only did he score the shootout winner but he registered nine shots on goal tonight. He was a force on the powerplay, shorthanded and at even strength. Nielsen has come into this season determined to prove he is the best player in the BC Divison. Offensively and defensively, Nielsen continues to deliver for this Giants team.
Sourdif really stood out tonight. He drove the net hard, set up teammates, and registered four shots on goal. Sourdif is getting better game by game. His playmaking ability and puck control have been on display early this season. Although he did not register a point, Sourdif dominated this game.
Leslie was solid tonight and even chipped in offensively with five shots on goal. Game by game, it seems that Leslie is getting more comfortable. He is jumping up in the play in the offensive zone more and getting pucks on the net. Sometimes early in a player’s career, they hesitate and overthink the play. Leslie seems to be thriving in the role he has been given and really shinned tonight.
The Giants face the undefeated Kamloops Blazers tomorrow night. The first game between these two saw Kamloops dominate on their way to a 7-3 victory. The Giants will be looking for some revenge as they look to break Kamloops four game winning streak to start the season. Game time is set for 7 PM PST.