Game of the Night

Chilliwack Bruins vs. Vancouver Giants @ Pacific Coliseum
4-9 Final

Guess who's back...?  While some hockey fans busy themselves with the NHL pre-season, a handful of fans popped the popcorn and bought a 2-4 in celebration of the start of the regular CHL season!

Tonight, the Vancouver Giants opened their regular season at home against their rivals, the Chilliwack Bruins.

After the raising of the banner naming the Vancouver Giants the BC Division champion for 5 years running, the two teams got their season underway!

Prior to the match, I stole a glance over both of the team rosters.  Even if I wasn't a big fan of the Bruins, I knew them well enough to notice that the names I was used to seeing were no longer there.  On the Giants, the change was evident.  At the start of last season, it was odd for me to view the roster without the names of Casey Pierro-Zabotel and Evander Kane; now it's the names of Lance Bouma, James Wright, and Tomas Vincour that are amiss.  But no matter how many names we lose, we gain and the integrity and skill in the Giants franchise remains.

As it is the first game of the regular season, many players are wiping off the dust that gathered over the off-season.  Despite the gathered dust, the first period was one for the eyes searching entertainment.  The first 20 minutes saw a scrap and 2 goals, with the Giants scoring 10 seconds.  Chilliwack's Ryan Howse picked up right where he left off last season with a PPG to get his year started.  James Henry got his first of the season in his return to the Giants and earned Matt MacKay his first point of the season.  Now on the score sheet it may not look like much, but the shifts played between the teams were brilliant.

The goal of the night for the Giants was to stop Ryan Howse.  Everyone knew that.  Howse is a big guy who has a knack for scoring.  But Howse has a very grand bag of tricks.

If you were looking for a period to top a solid first, well the second was sure to make your fill.  Two words can easily summize the second set of 20 minutes: scoring and goals.  Albeit the game started to look a bit more pre-season than regular season, but the determination shown by the Vancouver team was rattling!

A total of 8 (yes, that's right, 8) goals were scored within 20 minutes between the two teams.  The period scoring opened just under 2 minutes in with a Chilliwack goal from Jamie Crooks, returing the lead to the visiting team.  Vancouver would respond to every Bruin goal, but there was a difficulty in the period.

Again, the goal of the Giants for the night was to stop the scoring monster Ryan Howse.  Howse, in turn, showed just why he wore the 'A' on his chest and scored 2 goals to complete the hat-trick.

The manner in which the second ended, just continued on into the second.  After letting three unanswered goals past him into the net, Lucas Gore was replaced with Brandon Gamble.  Three goals, two of which just 8 seconds of each other.  The scorere announcement didn't even get a chance to be announced before the third goal happened!

Chilliwack and Vancouver earned themselves a short break to recollect their minds and wits (Chilliwack) and a moment to let themeselves breathe after so much done coming from behind and then finally taking the lead (Vancouver).

The final 20 minutes picked up right where the second period ended.  57 seconds into the final period, Marek Tvrdon scored his second of the night!  After tying up the game so many times, the Giants opened up the biggest of leads with 9 leading 4.  

The score was enough to tell the tale of the rest of the game.  But the only store no score sheet can tell is the frustration and defensive move the Bruins took after leaving 6 unanswered goals.

What a way to open a 10th birthday but with 9 goals, eh?

3 stars:
1) Brendan Gallagher
2) Marek Tvrdon
3) Ryan Howse

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