After a 19-hour bus ride the Vancouver Giants arrived in Saskatoon Thursday afternoon in preparation for a 6 game road swing through the Eastern Division beginning Friday night in Prince Albert, followed by stops in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Brandon, Regina, and Swift Current. The Giants (15-9-0-1) come into the trip having won 11 of their last 14 games and sitting in 1st place in the BC division, 2 points up on the Kamloops Blazers.
It all gets started Friday night in Prince Albert. The Raiders (5-19-1-1) are 6th in the Eastern Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference and come into the game having lost 6 straight and 12 of their last 13 games. However, they have a history of success vs. the Giants. Since Vancouver came into the league in 2001, they have just 3 wins in 12 games all-time vs. the Raiders and are 1-3-0-1 at the Art Hauser Centre in PA. Needless to say the Raiders have had their struggles this season, but they do have talent including Mark McNeill, who was drafted in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. The forward has 8 goals, 12 assists, and 20 points in 25 games this season. They also feature former Giants defenseman Tyler Hart. Since being traded to the Raiders, he has 1 goal in 13 games. The Giants will look to start the road trip off right with a victory and their first over the Raiders since January 15, 2008. The game will be shown live on Shaw TV, beginning at 5:00 pm PST
On Saturday the Giants will take on the the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Saskatoon Blades (18-6-0-1). The Blades are 1st in the Eastern Division having won 8 straight games and remain the only undefeated team on home ice with a record of 10-0-0-0. The Giants have had a lot of success vs. the Blades over the years winning 7 of the 11 all-time match ups, including 3 of 5 games at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon. It will be the first game between these two teams since the trade back on October 4 in which Michael Burns and Zach Hodder went to the Blades in exchange for Adam Morrison. Needless to say it has been a win, win for both teams. Michael Burns has averaged a point a game with 10 goals, 11 assists, and 21 points in 21 games. Unfortunately, Michael will not get to square off against his younger brother Nathan, who is out with an ankle sprain. Hodder is no longer with Saskatoon after being released after 11 games with the Blades. As for Adam Morrison, he has been absolutely stellar since joining the Giants. He is 13-3-0-1 with a goals against average of 2.28 and a save percentage of .910. The reason he was available was the play of Andrey Makarov. The Russian goalie leads the league with 16 wins and has a goals against average of 2.51 and a save percentage of .928. He very well could be the starter for Russia at the up coming World Junior Championships.
Vancouver Giants Road Trip – November 25 – December 3
Friday November 25 at Prince Albert, 5:00 pm PST
Saturday November 26 at Saskatoon, 5:05 pm PST
Tuesday November 29 at Moose Jaw, 5:00 pm PST
Wednesday November 30 at Brandon, 5:00 pm PST
Friday December 2 at Regina, 5:00 pm PST
Saturday December 3 at Swift Current, 5:00 pm PST