3 Games In 3 Nights This Weekend
The Vancouver Giants have just 13 games remaining in the regular season, 8 at home and 5 on the road. Currently sitting in 2nd in the B.C. Division and 5th in the Western Conference with a record of 31-23-1-4, the Giants are set for a busy weekend in which they play 3 games in 3 nights. Vancouver is tied with Kelowna in points, but the Rockets are in 1st in the division because they have 2 more wins and a game in hand.
It all gets started on Friday night when Vancouver plays host to their division rivals from Chilliwack. Game time is 7:30pm at the Pacific Coliseum. It will be the front end of a home and home series between the Giants and Bruins. Vancouver is 4-2 vs. the Bruins this year, having won the last three meetings. The Giants are also a perfect 3-and-0 at home against Chilliwack this season. The Bruins sit in last in the B.C. Division and 9th in the Western Conferenc,e three points out of a playoff spot. They have had their struggles in 2011, managing just three wins in their last 14 games. They come into Friday's game on a four game losing streak in which they have been outscored 22-9. Despite their record the Bruins boast some serious fire power. Not only do they have the 4th best power play in the league, they have Ryan Howse who is second in the league in goals with 44. The Calgary Flames draft pick is riding an 8 game goal scoring streak in which he has scored 12 goals. Chilliwack will also benefit from the return of captain Brandon Manning, who will be back after serving a seven game suspension for his hit on Kamloops Blazers defenceman Austin Madaisky.
Friday is also Milan Lucic Night. As part of the organizations 10th anniversary celebrations the 2007 Memorial Cup MVP will be honoured in the final Giant Alumni Night of the season. The first 500 fans on hand will receive and limited edition Milan Lucic bobblehead doll and he will be added to the Giants 'Ring of Honour', joining recent inductees Brett Festerling, Andrej Meszaros, Gilbert Brule, and Mark Fistric. As well, a Milan Lucic program/collector poster will be handed out to fans on entry, while quantities last.
Following Friday's tilt, Vancouver will travel to Chilliwack on Saturday night for the rematch at Prospera Centre. Game time is 7:00pm. That will mark 8 of 10 meetings on the year between these two rivals. They will round out the season series with games on March 9th in Vancouver and March 12th at Chilliwack.
On Sunday the Giants return home to take on the Tri-City Americans. Game time is 5:00pm. It will be the Americans first visit to the Pacific Coliseum since knocking the Giants out of the 2010 playoffs and being crowned Western Conference Champions. Tri-City is in search of a 4th straight division title, but are in a huge battle with Portland and Spokane. Right now the Americans sit in 3rd in the U.S. Division and 4th in the Western Conference with 76 points, 6 points back of Portland and 5 points shy of Spokane. The Americans should be a tired team when they arrive in Vancouver on Sunday as it will be their 5th game in 7 days. They feature the reigning WHL Player of the Month, Brendan Shinnimin, who is 9th in the league in scoring with 25 goals and 75 points. As well, Adam Hughesman is having a breakout year. He is 6th in the league in scoring with 39 goals and 79 points. Tri-City though is missing their starting goaltender. Drew Owsely is out with a knee injury and his return date is unknown. The Giants will not only be seeking revenge for last year's post season ousting, but also for the two meetings in Tri-City this year. Vancouver lost 9-1 on December 17th and 5-2 on January 15th. The Giants will need to be discipline. The Americans have the 2nd best power play in the league and are 6-for-12 with the man advantage vs. the Giants this year.