Vancouver Giants Weekend Preview

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(ISN) – After two impressive wins over Tri-City and Spokane early in the week the Giants get just one day off before playing 3 games in 3 nights this weekend.

With the win in Spokane Wednesday, the Giants moved into 4th place in the Western Conference, 2 points up on the Chiefs. This is a very coveted position in the standings as it would give the Giants home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. Needless to say with 14 games still left to play there is much to be decided.

Friday night is also Giant Alumni Night featuring Cody Franson. The former Giants blueliner and current Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman helped the Giants to a WHL Championship in 2006 and a Memorial Cup Title in 2007. He will be added to the Giants ‘Ring of Honour’ and 500 lucky fans will get a limited edition Cody Franson Bobblehead Doll.On Friday night the Giants welcome the Edmonton Oil Kings (38-13-3-4) to the Pacific Coliseum. Now in their 5th year of existence, the Oil Kings are having a breakout season leading the Central Division and the Eastern Conference with 83 points, 5 points ahead of second place Moose Jaw. Friday marks the final game of a 6 game road trip in which they have gone 3-1-1-0. The Giants though have had their number this season, beating the Oil Kings in both previous meeting; 4-1 on November 9 and 3-2 on January 28. Taylor Makin is the Giants leading point getter in the two games with 4 assists. If there is one thing the Oil Kings can do, it is score. They lead the league with 252 goals. Michael St. Croix is 6th in league scoring with 37 goals, 52 assists, and 89 points, just 5 points back of league leader Mark Stone of Brandon. They aren’t too shabby defensively either, especially with the season goaltender Laurent Brossoit is having. The Calgary Flames draft pick is 3rd in the league in wins (33), 2nd in the league in goals against average (2.45), and 5th in the league in save percentage (.914). Discipline will be a major factor for the Giants. Edmonton boasts the 2nd best power play in the league, operating at 28.3%, and are coming off a 6-3 win over Kelowna in which they scored 4 goals on the man advantage.

Saturday night the Giants make the trip to Everett, Washington for their 6th and final meeting of the season with the Silvertips. If it is anything like last Saturday’s game at Comcast Arena, you don’t want to miss it. The Giants lost a feisty, emontional affair 4-2, but it was a game that had everything; physical play, great goaltending, timely goals, and playoff like emotion. So far this season the Giants are 4-1-0-0 vs. the Silvertips. All their wins have been just by one goal. The ‘Tips (15-38-1-8) are in a dog fight to make the playoffs. Currently they sit in 5th place in the US Division and 9th spot in the Western Conference, one point out of the playoffs. However, they are playing their best hockey of the season, having won 5 of their last 7 games.

The Giants wrap up the weekend back on home ice Sunday evening vs. the Red Deer Rebels. Puck drop is 5:00 pm. It will be the fifth game in six days for the Giants and the fourth game in five days for the Rebels. In fact it will be the final game of the Rebels four game BC Division road swing. They have stops in Prince George (3-1 loss), Kamloops, and Kelowna before arriving in Vancouver. Red Deer (25-26-1-4) is on the outside looking in when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They are 5th in the Central Division and 9th in the Eastern Conference, 8 points out of a playoff spot. Injuries have been a huge factor this season for the Rebels, who are currently missing 6 regulars with long term injuries. Sunday is the second and final meeting of the season between the Giants and Rebels. Red Deer defeated Vancouver 4-2 on January 26 in Red Deer. The Rebels rely heavily on goaltender Deven Dubyk, who has made 24 straight starts going 11-11-1-1.

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