The Vancouver Giants (4-2-0-0) ended their 2019 preseason with a 5-1 loss at the hands of the Kamloops Blazers (5-0-0-0) to cap off three games in three nights for this weekend’s six team preseason tournament.
2018 first-round pick Zack Ostapchuk had the only goal for the Giants, snapping a well-placed wrist shot low glove past Rayce Ramsay. The goal marked the 12th overall pick’s first goal in the WHL (preseason, regular season, and playoffs included).
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) September 9, 2019
“I thought he was good. He’s played well and has done a lot of little things very well. He’s a good two-way player, and it’s nice to see him chip in offensively,” Giants head coach Michael Dyck said about the rookie’s goal.
On the Kamloops side, the line of Zane Franklin–Orrin Centazzo–Logan Stankoven combined for a total of eight points between the three of them and a whopping 28 points in the Blazers’ five preseason games thus far.
“They’ve had a great stretch. They’re three players that can play with some pace and obviously some skill. For different reasons, there seems to be a little bit of chemistry right now. They’re anticipating what’s going to happen, and they’re working hard,” Blazers head coach Shaun Clouston said postgame about his top trio.
Clouston is coming into his first season with the Blazers after spending 16 seasons with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
He finished off by saying, “They’re helping each other out, supporting the puck carrier. If there is a little mistake, all three of them are racing back to help out. It’s exciting to see them play right now, that’s for sure.”
Fittingly, that line opened the game’s scoring and made up the first period’s offense when overage forward Zane Franklin finished off a beautiful drop pass from Orrin Centazzo just 1:11 into the opening frame, on a delayed penalty, to quickly give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.
2003-born Logan Stankoven earned his fourth goal of the preseason and first of two on the night with a power-play goal in the dying seconds of the period to give the Blazers a two-goal lead.
The second period saw no goals but did see the Giants kill off three of their seven penalties — something they’ve had lots of work on.
During their three games this weekend Vancouver found themselves a man down 22 times, killing off 18 of them, which was good for 81.8%.
2020 NHL Entry Draft prospect Connor Zary had the night’s insurance goal — the second power-play goal of the night for Kamloops — cutting hard to the net and sneaking a cheeky backhand over Giants goaltender Braedy Euerby’s glove-side shoulder for his third of the 2019 preseason.
Stankoven and Centazzo rounded out the remainder of the scoring for the Blazers, who continue their perfect record during their five preseason games.
Vancouver’s preseason as a whole started with a loss and ended with a loss, with four straight wins sprinkled in between.
“It was a good opportunity to evaluate and to see where guys are at and see what holes we need to fill,” Dyck said about their six-game preseason.
As for every year, it’s a good measuring stick for up-and-coming prospects to see how they keep up with the WHL game and where they are in their development.
“For them (prospects), it’s getting a taste of the league at this level. Kamloops had a veteran line-up, so it was an opportunity to see more of a veteran team than they have seen in the first five games. From there, we get an opportunity to meet with those (young) guys and address what they need to work on moving forward, but they can certainly gain a lot of confidence from this experience,” Dyck added about his young prospects.
- The Giants now have 12 days off until their regular season opener in Prince George to take on the Cougars in the first of a back-to-back against the division rivals.
- Decisions, decisions: General manager Barclay Parneta has to trim their six overagers (Brayden Watts, Owen Hardy, David Tendeck, Jadon Joseph, Dylan Plouffe, and Milos Roman) down to three before the October 10th deadline. The Giants can keep all six on the roster until then, but can only dress three 20-year-olds for games.
- 2020 NHL Entry Draft prospect Justin Sourdif led the Giants in preseason scoring with six points (2G, 4A) in six games, while Tristen Nielsen led the team with three goals in his five games played.
- After tonight’s game, 16-year-old Blazers forward Logan Stankoven leads the WHL with 10 points, and his two linemates — Franklin and Centazzo — are tied for second with Moose Jaw’s Eric Alarie with nine points respectively.