(Junior) Game of the Night

Vancouver Giants vs. Calgary Hitmen @ Pengrowth Saddledome
2-5 Final

Today is a funny night.    After the second period of the Devils/Canadiens game, one of my two rivalries of the night started.

Lance Bouma, a Calgary Flame prospect, plays his first game after the pre-season in the Saddledome.  Martin Jones and Brandon Kozun in just their second game back from the World Juniors hoped to resume winning tonight. 

Though these two teams don't face each other often in the season, they watch each other like hawks in the standings and when they do meet, the emotion in this game can rivaly any rivalry in the NHL.

The opening 10 minutes of the game saw a lot of scoring.  The first goal to come was one for the home team.  Giffen Nyren made the big shot at the point and left a juicy rebound off of Mark Segal's pads.  Tyler Fiddler picked up the free puck and buried it into the net for the early lead.  But that doesn't mean anything to the Giants.  How many times have we given up the first goal and have come back?  Numerous.

What did I tell you?  Just 60 seconds after, Brendan Gallagher gets his 27th of the year (with uncredited) thanks to Brett Lyon.  Brett didn't get the point because of the little pick-pocket he got.  But he was the one who brought it down the ice.  Mike Piluso created the turnover for Gally.  Piluso stripped the Hitman of the puck and Gally would bat his own rebound in the air to make it a 1-1 hockey game!

Garry Nunn would take a tripping penalty later on and that allowed Calgary to regain the lead. Fresh off of the World Juniour tournie, Brandon Kozun went 5-hole on Mark Segal just a little under 5 minutes in.

If you've never seen a game between these two before, you are seriously missing out.  Any game between Calgary and Vancover is bound to be a good one, especially in hockey!

A prime reason why you should go is for sights like this; Connor Redmond and Cody Beach (Portland Winterhawks' Kyle Beach's younger brother) exchanged a couple of throws.  Beach had the upper-hand as being the more experience fighter, but that didn't matter as this one ended by means of the linesmen.

Just to add a little to his new team, former Giant Misha Fisenko got his fourth of the season.  The fifth shot that Segal has faced has got him pulled to the bench for Derek Tendler.

Giants were awarded the 2-man advantage for a good minute.  But on that 5-on-3, Kevin Connauton lost the puck to Michael Stone.  Stone had the breakaway to the net, but instead of a clean shot, he drew the hooking penalty awarding him the penalty shot.  Interestingly enough, when he reached the top of the face-offs circles, he just slapped the puck.  Went past the Tendler and the net, and caught only the Boston Pizza sign at the endboards. 

The first period alone was enough for a hockey game (but I wouldn't be happy unless we made more goals).  Even if we were down by two, it was a great, entertainment-filled period.  We had a fight, a PS, goals, PPs, hits, and so much emotion, what more could you have asked for? (Okay, I know, but it was rhetorical!)

Not wanting to waste much time, Calgary capitalized a scoring chance.  Tyler Fiddler had the puck at the back of the net before putting the puck to the front for Cody Sylvester to bank in for their fourth goal.  No Vancouver jersey was placed between Sylvester and Tendler and that's a no-no if you can help it.

The hole we were in was made deeper with another goal against us.  Matt MacKenzie threaded the puck through traffic and Tendler to make it a 1-5 hockey game.

Letting frustration get the best of him, Gally dropped the gloves with Sylvester right off of the face-off after the goal.  Neither of them are the biggest of guys, but this was one Hell of a scrap!  Amazing hits were exchanged between the two and made it really hard for me to give the fight to either of them.

Third period, everything settled down.  Craig Cunningham added a goal to make the lost sting a little less.  Nunners started the play with the amazing speed of his and got the initial shot on Martin Jones.  At first, it looked like Connor Redmond had the goal, but Craig got the last touch.

Despite us losing with such a great defecit, it was a very good game.  The big difference maker tonight was the goaltending for Vancouver had multiple chances and everything was great, but Martin Jones measured up (and then some) to the challenge.  Giants cannot feel too bad about this one.

3 stars:
(1) Tyler Fiddler
(2) Misha Fisenko
(3) Giffen Nyren

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