With 24 games completed in the 68 game schedule, Tristen Nielsen leads the Vancouver Giants in both goals (12) and points (23).
The speedy winger, who was brought over in a trade with Calgary during last season, has found his game and has improved as the season has gone on.
“He’s been getting way more shots on net this year than he did last year. He’s hitting the net and it’s paying off for him,” Giants coach Michael Dyck said about the 19-year-old.
Dyck had commented earlier in the season about Nielsen’s troubles with putting the puck on net but has noticed a vast improvement lately.
“He’s been doing a way better job at that,” Dyck said.
“That’s why he’s finishing. He’s the kind of guy that always wants to go bar down and it wasn’t working for him. He was missing a lot of nets in practice and just started focussing on hitting the net more. You score when you hit the net more. He’s starting to do that more and it’s paying off for him.”
The native of Fort St. John, BC, is just seven goals shy of his career high of 19. He hit that mark as a 17-year-old with the Hitmen and will surely blow past that number this season.
One of Nielsen’s biggest attributes is his speed and ability to energize the Langley Events Centre crowd on a nightly basis with his hard net drives that often lead to secondary scoring opportunities.
He’s one of those players that gives you the feeling something exciting is going to happen when the puck is on his stick. He also isn’t afraid to sacrifice the body whether with a hit or blocking a shot at a key time.
“He brings lots of energy. He’s dynamic and a guy that can not only bring a physical element to the game but he’s dangerous one-on-one.”
Tristen Nielsen has his own Movember page that you can find here if you wish to donate.
A former first-round selection (20th overall) in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, Nielsen has seen much of his success this season alongside Calgary Flames prospect Milos Roman and 2020 NHL Draft prospect Justin Sourdif.
The trio makes up three of the top four scorers on the Giants roster so far this season.
“With my line, it’s pretty easy to have confidence. Sourds and Milos are elite players. Milos is a great all-around player. Sourds can provide very high offensive skill, so for me, it’s just not getting too high or too low,” Nielsen said about his linemates.
Nielsen is a player who wears his heart on his sleeve. He is mindful of keeping his emotions in check when aspects of the game don’t come as easy or the team as a whole has been playing frustrating hockey.
“I know I’m a sensitive guy so I just have to really try to control my emotions and stay even keel.”
Vancouver heads down south of the border for a pair of games against Spokane and Tri-City as they try to gain some traction on Kelowna and Kamloops….newcomer Connor Horning will wear #22 and is expected to debut this weekend. Import forward Michal Kvasnica, who will wear #38 after joining the team from the Czech Republic, will also play his first games this weekend…The Giants also released ‘01 defenceman Nic Draffin from their active roster and will remain on the team’s protected list….