Dan Elliott

This weekend marks the first of five weekend’s this season in which the Vancouver Giants (13-8-0-1) play 3 games in 3 nights. On Friday November 18 the Giants play host to the Victoria Royals (11-10-0-1), then on Saturday they make the trip to Everett to take on the Silvertips (5-14-0-3), and then return home Sunday to welcome the defending WHL Champions from Kootenay (13-5-1-2) to town. The Giants head into the weekend sitting in 1st place in the BC division, having won 9 of their last 11 games, as well as 6 straight wins on home ice.

Friday will be the 7th time in the Giants first 23 games of the season that they will square off with the Victoria Royals, who are 3rd in the BC division and 5th in the western conference. Vancouver is 4-2-0-0 vs. the Royals this season, including a perfect 3-0-0-0 on home ice where they have outscored their island rivals 18-4. Victoria comes into the game having lost 3 of their last 4 games, but will be boosted by the return of leading scorer Kevin Sundher, who missed the past 2 games with an upper body injury. The Royals have been hit hard by injuries this season, especially on their backend as Tyler Stahl has missed the last 18 games with an upper body injury and Jesse Pauls has been out for 13 games with an upper body injury as well. Goals against has been the Royals biggest issue this year; they have given up a league worst 102 goals against. Goaltender Keith Hamilton has been a busy man this year starting 19 of the club’s 22 games. Brandon Magee is the hottest player on the team. He is currently riding a 4 game point streak in which he has 3 goals, 4 assists, and 7 points. Game time is 7:30 pm at the Pacific Coliseum Friday November 18.

On Saturday the Giants make their first trip of the season to Everett. It will be the 2nd of 6 meetings this year between the Giants and Silvertips. Vancouver defeated the Silvertips 6-5 on September 28 at the Pacific Coliseum. Everett has struggled so far this season managing just 5 wins in 22 games and currently sit in 5th place in the US division and last in the western conference. The Tips come into the weekend having lost 6 of their last 7 games and without their leading goal scorer Tyler Maxwell. The 20 year old has returned home to California after requesting a trade. Everett did add former Giant JT Barnett to their roster, as he was acquired from Kamloops, but will be without forward Jesse Mychan who received a 10-game suspension for checking to the head and top prospect Ryan Murray who is out with a high ankle sprain. The Giants will try and make it 7 straight wins over the Tips Saturday night at 7:05 pm at Comcast Arena in Everett.

Vancouver will wrap up the weekend on home ice Sunday night as the defending WHL Champions pay a visit. The Kootenay Ice are 3rd in the central division and 5th in the eastern conference with 13 wins and 29 points in 21 games. Sunday marks game two of nine straight on the road for the Ice. Kootenay is the top defensive team in the league, having surrendered just 45 goals in 21 games. Goaltender Nathan Lieuwen has been outstanding, posting a record of 10-4-1-2 with a 1.86 goals against average and .935 save percentage. He is one of 4 players on Kootenay’s roster who have been drafted. Lieuwen (Buffalo) was selected in the 2011 NHL draft, while Max Reinhart (Calgary), Joey Leach (Calgary), and Drew Czerwonka (Edmonton) were taken in the 2010 NHL draft. Since the Giants entered in the league in 2001 they have had their troubles with Kootenay, managing just 6 wins in 23 games all-time. Sunday will be the only meeting of the season between the two teams and the Giants look to snap their 2 game losing streak vs. the Ice. Vancouver hasn’t beaten Kootenay at the Pacific Coliseum since February 12, 2006. Game time is 5:00 pm November 20 at the Pacific Coliseum.