Tristen Nielsen: 3 Victoria Royals: 2
The Vancouver Giants were coming into this weekend’s exhibition tournament — which includes the Giants, Royals, Blazers, Rockets, Cougars, and Silvertips — sporting a 2-1 preseason record after three games.
Friday’s game against the Victoria Royals marked the first game of Giants hockey played at the Langley Events Centre since Game 5 of last year’s WHL Final against the Prince Albert Raiders.
The Giants won a hard-fought game against their division rival by a score of 3-2. All three Giants goals came off the stick of 2000-born forward Tristen Nielsen, two on the power play. Goaltending prospect, 2002-born Braedy Euerby, stopped 25-of-27 shots that the Royals fired at him.
The opening frame went scoreless, despite the Royals getting four of their eight power plays on the night during the first 20 minutes.
One of Vancouver’s bright spots was 17-year-old defenceman Tanner Brown, who had a couple of thunderous body checks to make his presence known.
“On the backend, he (Brown) likes playing a heavy game. He actually played well for us last season upfront and once last weekend and did well. He plays with an edge. As long as he keeps it simple with the puck, he’ll be good for us,” head coach Michael Dyck said about the young defender.
Fellow 17-year-old Braedy Euerby also had a great game, highlighted by a shorthanded 2-on-1 where he slid over in time to stop the Royals’ one-timer. Coach Dyck had nothing but good things to say about the Ladner, BC, native’s winning performance:
“He was solid. He played really well. I thought he made some big saves for us, and he kept the puck to the outside, also making the routine saves look like routine saves which gives the guys in front of him confidence.”
Tristen Nielsen was buzzing around the ice all game, registering a hat trick. Coming off a 35-point season last year, it’s clear he’s poised for a breakout season in the WHL.
“He scores a couple big goals for us on the power play, which is nice to get going. It’s really what he needs to do. He’s a shooter. He has to hit the net and get to the net, and he did that. He started playing well and doing the right thing and got rewarded for it. Hopefully, he uses this as a foundation and springboards off of it,” Dyck said when asked about his player’s memorable night.
Sean Gulka and Brandon Cutler were the scorers for the visiting Royals. The team swapped goaltenders about halfway through the game — a fairly common practice during exhibition. Veteran goalie Shane Farkas stopped 17-of-18 shots, while prospect goalie Keegan Maddocks saved six out of eight shots.
On Saturday night, the Giants take on the Prince George Cougars at 7 p.m. Giants fans should see a very similar line up dressed for the second straight night, in part due to having seven players at NHL training camps.
“We not so much look at who we’re playing but at ourselves and how we can be better. Tomorrow we want to be better five-on-five. We didn’t like our first period. We have to play more to our identity,” Dyck said when asked about tomorrow’s game.