It was not the best of nights for Vancouver-area hockey fans. The Vancouver Giants, fresh off their most successful four-game stretch of the season — it speaks volumes that this step forward resulted in exactly one overtime win, two overtime losses and a regulation loss — put in a dismal performance at the Pacific Coliseum against a vastly superior Kamloops Blazers team.
The Abbotsford Heat returned to the AESC after a road trip that got them just one of a possible 10 points, and put up just one goal en route to a 5-1 loss to the Charlotte Checkers. And the Vancouver Canucks, full of healthy, award-winning forwards, relied on Roberto Luongo and Dale Weise to lull the Nashville Predators to sleep in a 1-0 snoozefest.
Prior to the game, many people in the Coliseum concourse could be heard discussing the Giants problems keeping the puck out of their own net to start games. Some quoted Don Hay’s post-game presser from a few weeks back, that the team aims to get through the first five minutes without allowing teams to open a lead. Then the puck dropped, and 10 seconds later it was 1-0 Kamloops Blazers.
More after the jump. Oh, and scroll to the very bottom of this post for a 2-for-1 coupon for the SFU Clan’s final two home games on February 23 and March 2. It’s top-notch college hockey, and you get two adults into Bill Copeland Arena for just five bucks a head.
The visitors scored on each of their first two shots, in fact, and got three more on the first five shots of the second period. It was 5-0 before the game was half over, and the Blazers looked for all the world like they could have scored 15 more if they hadn’t already mentally checked out to prepare for Saturday’s game against Spokane. These two teams are separated by 55 points in the WHL standings, and they played their parts to a T Friday night.
The highlight of the night for Vancouver came in the form of a uniform. The Giants unveiled an ode to Gordie Howe, as the team will celebrate his 85th birthday on March 1 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. I have to say I like the Mr Hockey #9 crest on the jersey, and the old-timey striped leggings are great. The only thing I’m not a fan of? Every player on the ice wearing the number 9 on the armbands as well.
Here’s a shot I took on Friday that captured a rarity indeed: a shot on the Vancouver goal that didn’t end up behind Payton Lee. (Don’t get me wrong, I think Lee has a great future ahead of him. Alas, he’s let in some massive stinkers early in games this season, digging the Giants holes they don’t have the offensive skill to climb out of.) My question to you is, do you like the wider shot, or the closeup that drops the net entirely?