Kelowna, B.C. – 17-year-olds Brendan Semchuk and Dylan Plouffe led the way with three points each as the Vancouver Giants defeated the Kelowna Rockets 5-4 on Friday night at Prospera Place in WHL pre-season action. Semchuk and Plouffe both had goals while Tyler Popowich, James Malm and Matt Barberis also scored for Vancouver.
The Giants scored three unanswered goals in the second period to overcome a 2-0 deficit. Popowich ripped a wrist shot past Kelowna goaltender Michael Herringer from the slot at 1:47 on a power play to put Vancouver on the board before Semchuk tied the game with a pretty one-handed effort just after the midway mark. Plouffe added the go-ahead goal off a point shot on a man advantage at 12:06.
Kelowna had first period goals from Jonathan Smart and Jordan Borstmayer.
The teams traded goals in the third period. Malm tallied his second marker of the exhibition campaign after a pretty setup by Semchuk to put Vancouver ahead 4-2. Conner Bruggen-Cate pulled Kelowna back to within one goal before Barberis scored on a late power play with a hard slap shot from the top of the right circle. Kole Lind made things interesting, scoring to put the Rockets back in it again with 1:13 remaining, but Giants’ goalie David Tendeck made an important save on Jake Kryski in the final minute to preserve the one-goal victory.
Kelowna out shot Vancouver 40-37. The Giants were 3-for-5 on the power play. Tendeck made 36 saves to earn Vancouver’s first win of the pre-season.
The Giants will conclude the pre-season campaign against the Victoria Royals at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday at 3:00pm.
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