Monday, September 25, 2006


WHL: Giants Open Season with some Hawk hunting.

I've had a hard time getting into the NHL preseason at all, but was able to get into 'Hockey Mode' thanks to the Western Hockey League season starting up again. On Saturday, some friends and I went down to see the Vancouver Giants take on the Portland Winter Hawks. Seeing hockey live and in person is the best way to get back into the swing of things.

Now, the Vancouver Giants are hosting this season's Memorial Cup, so the G-men are guaranteed a spot. That being said, they are still a Top 3 contender in the WHL and have a strong team. Remember the names Michal Repik and Spencer Machacek. These two high-scoring wingers will have their names called quite high next draft day. Offensive defenseman Jonathan Blum is another name we'll keep an eye on.

It was also Banner Night, as the Giants raised the banners to celebrate their first WHL, Western Conference, and BC Division titles.

Two referees + obstruction crackdown = penalty parade. Apart from the first few minutes of the game, the Giants completely dominated the Winter Hawks, who had 1 guy I recognized from last season. Are the Winter Hawks going to be bottom feeders? It was like the Giants were playing a Midget squad. The Giants went 4-18 (yes, 18! The Hawks had 9 PP of their own) on the Power Play, out-shot the Winter Hawks 44-19 overall, and cruised to a 9-0 victory in front of over 11,000 fans.

It was also cool to have some random German guys behind us, talking about the game in heavily-accented German. Apparently, the Giants did a lot of 'blitzen'.

My friend videotaped the entire Power Play for the 9-0 goal. Boston Bruins draftee Milan Lucic sets up Canucks draftee Mario Bliznak for an easy tap-in. This was pretty much the scene for most of the game as the Giants had Power Play practice for most of the night.

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