In a rare Monday afternoon game, thanks to the Family Day holiday, the Vancouver Giants extended their winning streak to ten games with a 3-2 hard-fought win over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
The win marks the team’s longest win streak since 2009.
Monday was the tail-end of a home-and-home that started with a 6-2 Giants win down in Kent, Washington on Saturday as well as the end of four games in six days for the Giants.
“I thought we played a solid game, we took advantage of some power plays early.” said Michael Dyck post-game. “We had four breakaways, we could have created more offense but I liked how we played defensively today.” he continued.
Vancouver picked up where they left off on Saturday, in front of 4375 fans, more or less dominating the opening period.
The Giants out-shot Seattle 12-3 in the first period and deservedly so.
There’s a confidence surrounding this team where every time they enter the offensive zone, you get the feeling something exciting is going to happen.
As of late, that assumption has been true more often than not.
Entering Monday’s game, the Giants’ power play had been succeeding at a 40.5% clip during their nine-game winning streak and quickly improved those numbers with two goals on the man advantage in the first period alone.
Bowen Byram kicked things off offensively for the Giants, back pedaling along the blue-line before snapping a well-placed shot past 17-year-old Blake Lyda, extending his point streak to nine games in the meantime.
— Stephen Hawco (@stephenhawco7) February 17, 2020
It took about four minutes for Byram to find himself back on the score sheet, setting up Tristen Nielsen for a power-play marker of his own for the Giants’ leading scorer 28th goal of the season.
— Stephen Hawco (@stephenhawco7) February 17, 2020
Both goals saw the Colorado Avalanche first-round pick in his usual spot on the power play, quarterbacking it from up top.
Those two points gave Byram 18 points (6G, 12A) in those nine games. (Is that good?)
It seems like a broken record almost every game during this winning streak but it applies every time….
The power play.
Tonight it went two-for-four — one of them being with three seconds left in regulation and in turn, continues the ridiculous pace it is converting at.
“Lots of confidence.” Dyck said on his power play unit, “They’re looking forward to getting out there in that situation and that’s half the battle.”
Tristen Nielsen touched on what he feels the reasons for the success are on the man advantage, “I think we’re just keeping it simple. We run our plays but we just try to get pucks on net and as many shots, it’s been working out for us.”
Nine of the Fort St. John native’s 28 goals have come on the power play.
Seattle came out for the second period with a bit more legs, pushing the play more.
They were rewarded for it just 2:33 into the period when 16-year-old Connor Roulette showed some nice hands in tight to get one past Trent Miner for his 17th of the year. Impressive for the young rookie.
Exactly seven minutes later, the Giants restored the two-goal lead when Eric Florchuk got a piece of a centering feed from Michal Kvasnica for his 19th goal of the season and third point of the night.
The Washington Capitals prospect is on an 11-game point streak, collecting 19 points (4G, 15A) in that time.
Post-game, the game’s first star knew that Seattle was going to come on strong after a tough loss to the Giants two days prior.
“We knew they’d show push back so we had to counter with some of our own. I think everyone saw tonight as a good kind of playoff game, it was a good crowd, both teams were into it and there were a lot of battles so it was a good one.” Florchuk said.
A lot of battles there were…
The game saw two fights, numerous after-whistle scrums and a hit that was given a five-minute major and caused more of a ruckus.
No love lost between two teams that met in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
The fights came from Jackson Shepard, who has shown all season long he isn’t afraid to drop the mitts. As well as 16-year-old Justin Lies who squared off for his second career fight.
Despite all of that, one of the major talking points of the night was the five minute major….
— Stephen Hawco (@stephenhawco7) February 18, 2020
Byram was also assessed a game misconduct on the play, so it will be interesting to see what kind of discipline the league comes up with for the star defenceman.
The Giants have only had one suspension this season, when Tristen Nielsen was suspended one game for an interference major back on January 25th.
Oh ya…..the player you see Byram trying to get a piece of at the end of the clip is rookie forward Matthew Rempe, who stands at six-foot-*eight* and 206 pounds compared to the six-foot-one 192 pounds you see Byram at.
Give the Giants credit, they never backed down once tonight. They answered the bell when needed and showed they aren’t to be pushed around.
It’s something the players are noticing and are building around.
“Our team sticks together.” said Tristen Nielsen, “I mean we always kind of get challenged, every once in a while a team tries to intimidate us and it’s good to see our players don’t back down or go away.”
In the dying minutes of regulation, Seattle showed that push back that Florchuk referenced and managed to bring the game within one goal with just 47 seconds left on the clock thanks to a goal from defenceman Simon Kubicek.
After some more rough stuff to end the game, the Giants hung on to sweep their third straight weekend of games and continue their streak.
The streak isn’t what is really on the team’s mind with a few days off before hosting Calgary on Friday night, just taking it game by game according to Coach Dyck.
“That’s what we’ve been doing up until this point is just taking it game by game. We’re not really too concerned about streaks or anything else. We’re just concerned about building momentum for playoffs.”
Stay tuned for more Giants coverage from DUBNetwork…