Dan Elliott

For the second time this season the Vancouver Giants will play 3 games in 3 nights over a weekend. In total the Giants have five 3 in 3 weekends on the season. On tap this time around is the Everett Silvertips, Kelowna Rockets, and Seattle Thunderbirds. All 3 teams sport records below .500 and are trailing the Giants in the Western Conference Standings. The Giants head into the weekend on a 3 game losing skid, matching their longest losing streak of the season.

First up is a home date with the Everett Silvertips on Friday night at 7:30 pm, wrapping up an 8 game homestand for the Vancouver Giants in which they have gone 3-4-0-0. The Silvertips (9-27-1-8) are coming off just their 9th win of the season and only their 3rd win on the road, Wednesday night in Kelowna. In fact it was their first road win since October 28, snapping a 13 game road losing streak. The Silvertips currently sit in 5th place in the US Division and last in the Western Conference. Despite their record, Everett plays teams tough. They have gone to overtime 11 times this year, the most in the WHL, and are 4-and-13 in 1 goal games, including a league high 8 shootout losses. The Silvertips feature 18 year old defenceman Ryan Murray who played for Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships and was the 3rd ranked player among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings for the upcoming 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Friday marks the 3rd of 6 meetings this season between the Giants and Silvertips. Vancouver is 2-0-0-0, defeating Everett 6-5 and 2-1 in a shootout. Friday is also Don Hay Bobblehead Night at the Pacific Coliseum. Every fan in attendance will get a chance to win 1 of 500 limited edition Don Hay Bobbleheads. As well, the first 5000 fans through the door will get a commemorative poster honouring the Giants bench boss.

On Saturday the Giants make the trip to Kelowna to take on the Rockets. It will be Vancouver’s first road trip since December 28. The Rockets currently sit in 3rd spot in the BC Division and 6th place in the Western Conference with a record of 19-22-2-3. Saturday will be game 3 of Kelowna’s 5 game homestand. The Rockets head into the weekend having won 5 of their last 8 games and will take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night before playing Vancouver on Saturday. The Giants will be looking for a little revenge after falling 4-3 to the Rockets on January 14. Saturday will be the 6th of 8 meetings this year between the Giants and Rockets. Kelowna leads the season series 3-2-0-0. Offensively, the Rockets are led by Brett Bulmer who played 9 regular season games with the Minnesota Wild, recording 3 assists, before being reassigned to the WHL. In 2 games vs. Vancouver this year he has 2 goals and 1 assist. Puck drop is 7:05 pm at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Vancouver wraps up the weekend back on home ice in the fourth and final meeting of the season against the Seattle Thunderbirds, at 5:00 pm at the Pacific Coliseum. The T-Birds have had the Giants number this year winning two of the first three meetings; however, they come into the weekend having lost 8 of their last 9 games and like the Giants will be playing 3 games in 3 nights this weekend. They play host to Kamloops on Friday night and then play in Everett on Saturday evening. Seattle is 4th in the US Division and currently holding on to the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a record of 17-24-0-1. As usual as Calvin Pickard goes, so go the Thunderbirds. The 4th year netminder is responsible for all 17 of Seattle’s wins, sporting a 3.36 goals against average and a save percentage of .913. He also has 3 shutouts on the year, including a 3-0 victory over the Giants the last time these two teams met back on December 13.

Following Sunday’s game, the Giants will jump on the bus and head to Alberta for a 3 game road trip with games against Red Deer, Calgary, and Edmonton.