On the night of Red Deer Rebels Head Coach Brent Sutter’s 1,000th game coached, the Giants were in no mood to let him celebrate with a win.
Vancouver used its monicker to have a ‘Giant’ third period against Red Deer, scoring four unanswered goals, sealing up the team’s seventh straight victory.
The win gave the Giants 26 on the season and moved them six points behind the Victoria Royals for second in the BC Division with a game in hand. For the Rebels, the loss was their 30th and second in a row.
The first two periods were dominated by the home side, as the 2,347 fans at Langley Events Centre ooh’d and aah’d at the saves Byron Fancy had to make through the first 40 minutes. 32 shots came his way and all of them were turned aside.
The Rebels weren’t without their chances, including an early shorthanded breakaway that Trent Miner turned away. He only had to make 15 stops in the first two periods.
For the second road game in a row, Red Deer opened the scoring, this time early in the third period, as Ethan Sakowich snapped a shot from the point on the Rebels third power play of the night. Sakowich’s 10th of the season gave the visitors a short-lived lead.
Vancouver scored a minute and a half later on its fifth power play of the night. Leading scorer Tristen Nielsen scored his 25th goal of the season to tie the teams at a goal apiece. The goal was a nice set play on the power play; Nielsen ripped a one-time shot on a nice pass from Bowen Byram.
The Giants weren’t done there as they continued their relentless forecheck. Czech Republic import Michal Kvasnica scored his seventh goal of the season when a pass from behind the net bounced to his stick and he flipped it beyond Byron Fancy.
It was then Byram’s turn to score. His sixth of the season came on a nice pass from Nielsen. With all kinds of time in the slot, Byram made no mistake and the Giants had themselves a two-goal lead.
With the Rebels net empty to try to spark some offense, Justin Sourdif turned and fired a puck down the ice from inside his own blue line. The clearing attempt slid down the ice and right into the middle of the net for his 19th goal of the year and a 4-1 lead.
That’s how this game ended, with the Giants also outshooting the Rebels 43-24.
Rebel Yell… The three stars were 1) Tristen Nielsen 2) Bowen Byram 3) Trent Miner. Byron Fancy finished up with 39 saves; Miner had 23. Joel Sexsmith led the Rebels with 5 shots on net; Justin Sourdif had 7 for the Giants. Milos Roman was 13-of-24 in the face-off circle; Jayden Grubbe was the best Rebel at 4-for-6. Red Deer was 1-for-3 on the man advantage; Vancouver was 1-for-5. The next action for the Vancouver Giants comes Friday as they take on Victoria at home. The Rebels will travel to Kamloops to take on the Blazers at Sandman Centre on Friday night as well.