Newcomer Teal sets tone for Giants turnaround
Burns scores winner in battle for division lead
January 8, 2011
The Vancouver Giants wore their black road uniforms Friday but their favourite colour turned out to be teal.
New centre Teal Burns, playing only his fourth game for Vancouver, netted the game winning goal as the Giants edged the Prince George Cougars 4-3 in WHL action.
The former Portland Winterhawk grabbed a loose puck in his zone midway through the final period, pulled away from a pack of pursuing Cougars and beat Prince George netminder Ty Rimmer from the right wing. The goal, at 10:18, broke a 3-3 tie.
The point was Burns's seventh in a Giant uniform, matching his entire 32-game output in Portland. Burns and left-winger Spencer Bennett, who collected two assists Friday, were acquired in the Dec. 28 Craig Cunningham trade. Bennett has five points in four games as a Giant.
New defenceman Darren Bestland also contributed Friday with a goal in his first Giants game. Brendan Rowinski and Mark Reners had the other goals for Vancouver, which never trailed in the game.
Cougar captain Brett Connolly, who just returned from the world junior tournament, scored once for Prince George while Spencer Asuchak and Sena Acolatse had the other two. The Connolly and Acolatse tallies came on the power play as the undisciplined Giants were shorthanded eight times, including three times in the third period with the game on the line.
The game marked the debut of new Giant import Andrej Stastny, who received his release from the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation early Friday morning. Stastny didn't figure in the scoring but did finish a plus-1.
Coach Don Hay liked what he saw from Stastny at the team's morning skate.
"He looks powerful, he looks like a man," Hay said of the 6-4, 215-pound Slovak. "To me he looks bigger on the ice than off the ice."
The victory was Vancouver's third straight and pulled the Giants even with Prince George in the B.C. Division. It was also Vancouver's 13th straight win in Prince George including playoffs. The two teams meet again tonight on Cougar ice. The division rivals will renew their battle for top spot on Tuesday at Pacific Coliseum.
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