Giants goalie Morrison bears down against Portland on teddy-toss night
By Steve Ewen, The Province
December 10, 2011 9:21 AM
Bret Kulak celebrates the Giants' first goal, sparking the teddy toss, as Vancouver hosted the Portland Winterhawks at Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, B.C.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch, PNG
Mike Johnston's scouting reporting on Vancouver Giants netminder Adam Morrison had several chapters and probably some dog-eared pages, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Portland Winterhawks to win Friday.
Morrison — who played some of his minor hockey in White Rock with Johnston's son Adam — made 46 saves, including 17 in the third period, to lead the Giants to a 5-3 win over Portland before a crowd of 12,103 at the Pacific Coliseum.
"There's a lot of character in our room and we proved that tonight," said Morrison. "They're a highly talented team that plays a high-risk game. We were able to shut them down when it came down to it. I'm real happy."
Attendance was boosted by the fact it was Teddy Bear Toss Night, and the stuffed animals took flight early, as Cain Franson made a nifty pass to find Brett Kulak sneaking in from the point and he tucked a shot past Mac Carruth at 2:54 of the first period.
Vancouver upped the margin to 3-0 by the midway point of the frame on goals from Jordan Martinook and Brendan Gallagher, but Portland got one back before the stanza ended on a Troy Rutkowski blast.
The teams traded goals in the second period to make it 4-2 and Portland then cut the margin to 4-3 on a Brad Ross power-play tally at 6:34 of the third, but that's as close as the WHL's top-scoring team could come. Martinook finished off his hat trick scoring into an empty net with 12 seconds left.
The game, though, belonged to Morrison, who upped his record to 18-4-1-1, to go along with a 2.28 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
His best stop was probably when he got his right big toe on a Dillon Wagner one-timer from right in front of the net in the third, but there was plenty of competition for that title.
"It's his job to stop the first 50, isn't it?" smiled Glen Hanlon, who was running the Giants' bench for his first game, with Don Hay already in Canadian world junior team mode.
"Mo has been great. He's so calm.
"It got to a point when there was 12 minutes left in the third and I said, 'It's going to be what it's going to be. Mo's holding the fort here and it's going to have to be a pretty good shot to beat him.'"
Vancouver gets back it Saturday, hosting the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
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