Friday evening at the Sandman Centre the Vancouver Giants dropped a 7-3 decision to the Kamloops Blazers. Matthew Seminoff and Connor Levis each scored twice for Kamloops while captain Connor Zary finished with three assists. Tristen Nielsen responded with a goal and an assist for Vancouver while Eric Florchuk and Bryce Bader also supplied goals. It marked the first WHL regular season game in 384 days for the Vancouver Giants.
KAM – 31 seconds into the game, over-age defenceman Montana Onyebuchi staked the home side to an early 1-0 lead off the rush. Connor Zary and Logan Stankoven earned helpers.
KAM – Matthew Seminoff increased the Kamloops lead at 3:08 of the first period off a nifty slot feed from Orrin Centazzo.
KAM – At 13:43 rookie Connor Levis converted on a breakaway to increase the Kamloops lead to 3-0.
VAN – Back came the Giants at 16:08 when their 2019-20 leading scorer Tristen Nielsen slid a backhand shot past Dylan Garand from the right-wing circle. Kaden Kohle did the dirty work behind the net to free the puck out front, and from there Nielsen did the rest to put the G-Men on the board.
KAM – On a late double-minor power play Kamloops made it 4-1 when Logan Stankoven potted his first off a shot from the right-wing circle.
Shots: 11-8 Vancouver
*Blazers goaltender Dylan Garand made two terrific saves off Giants forward Bryce Bader. Both saves came off odd-man rushes.
*Giants goaltender Drew Sim had a strong bounce back period, stopping all 13 Kamloops shots he faced.
Shots: 13-5 Kamloops
VAN – 4:04 into the third period Bryce Bader snapped home his first of the season through a screen off a shot from the left wing. The goal came right as a Giants power play had expired. Marko Stacha and Adam Hall both assisted.
KAM – Nine seconds later off the ensuing faceoff, Kamloops restored their three-goal cushion when Connor Levis redirected a pass from Caeden Bankier home.
VAN – Eric Florchuk made it a 5-3 game at 11:13 when he skated into the slot and one-timed home a pass from Tristen Nielsen.
KAM – The Kamloops Blazers answered quickly at 12:27 with Matthew Seminoff’s second goal of the night off a set up from Connor Zary.
KAM – Quinn Schmiemann grabbed the game’s final goal of the night for Kamloops at 12:56 on a backhander from the right-wing circle.
Final Score: 7 – 3 Kamloops
Shots On Goal: 27-22 Kamloops.
VAN PP: 0/3
KAM PP: 1/4
Drew Sim: 20/27 saves for Vancouver.
Dylan Garand: 19/22 saves for Vancouver.
- Matthew Seminoff (KAM – 2G, 1A)
- Connor Levis (KAM – 2G)
- Connor Zary (KAM – 3A)
Giants Next Game: Sunday at 6 PM vs. the Kelowna Rockets.
- Giants defenceman Marko Stacha suited up in his first career WHL game and earned an assist on Bryce Bader’s third period goal. He finished with a +2 rating.
- Bryce Bader has now scored a goal in four consecutive WHL games dating back to December 16th, 2018. He finished with a team-high four shots on goal.
“Usually a team takes 20-25 games to form its identity, but with this season being shortened we have to make sure we magnify that as fast as possible.” – Associate Coach Keith McCambridge.