Allen Douglas

Giants penalty kill making a difference this season

 

The Giants have been unbeatable defensively this season. They have shutout opponents five times in 11 games so far this season. One main reason for their success has been the penalty kill.

Top of the league

The Giants’ penalty kill ranks second in the WHL with an 89.4% efficiency rate. The last time they allowed a powerplay goal was April 12th against Prince George.

The main reason for the teams’ consistency is their aggressive pursuit of the puck. The team does not just clear the puck, but carries it out and tries to create an opportunity going the other way. This has resulted in the team scoring two shorthanded goals so far this season. This style can be attributed to associate coach Keith McCambridge as he brings this aggressive penalty kill philosophy to the team this year. He has been a valuable asset to the team and a big reason why the Giants are one of the best defensive teams in the league.

Consistent lines

The Giants roll their penalty kill lines consistently almost every time. They start with Nielsen and Sourdif along with the D-pair of Brown and Stacha to go against what is usually the first powerplay unit. Next, they send out Florchuk with Ostapchuck upfront with Kannok-Leipert and Horning on the back end. Lastly, they will send out a forward line of Hall and Bader to kill the end of the penalty. The team will also put Nicco Camazzola into the defensive rotation when he’s in the lineup. By rolling the same unit out consistently, each line is able to build chemistry. This also allows the team to match up units so that these lines can learn how to properly defend each team’s powerplay. This penalty kill does not give up grade-A chances often which is why they find themselves as one of the best in the league.

Creating chances every penalty kill

Although the Giants only have two shorthanded goals, it seems as though they get five or six opportunities to score every game while down a player. The forward groups are getting chances with their speed and size, and the defense is not afraid to join the rush either. This can also be attributed to the confidence they have in their goaltender. When you are confident that the goalie is going to make the save, you can take some additional chances. Teams need to be careful as the season goes on. It is only a matter of time before these chances turn into goals and you start seeing the team ascend the leaderboard in shorthanded goals scored.

Driving the team

The Giants’ penalty kill has been a major part of their success. They have given up 47 opportunities and only allowed five goals. If the team continues this success throughout the remainder of the season, they should have no problem setting the team record for penalty kill percentage in a season.

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