It was a big night for Trent Miner, goaltender for the Vancouver Giants, who turned aside all 21 shots fired his way to earn his first career WHL shutout.
The G-Men improved to 2-0 on the road and 4-1 on the season Wednesday night with a 5-0 victory over the Kelowna Rockets, and Miner wasn’t the only one deserving credit for the victory.
James Malm powered the Giants offence with three goals, Davis Koch and Brayden Watts also added goals for the Giants.
This was the first Giants shutout victory in Kelowna since February, 2007, said Dan O’Connor, the team’s play-by-play broadcaster.
Fresh off a “first-star performance” Sunday against Spokane, Watts – a Giants forward – wasted little time getting the Giants on the board Wednesday.
Just 3:32 into the game, he took a slick feed from Mlios Roman, skated in alone on Rockets starter Roman Basran and stuffed a backhand shot past his left leg for his second goal in as many games.
Later in the period, Malm registered his first of three goals on the night when he beat Basran off a shot from the right-wing circle. Malm’s goal came via the power play which finished two-for-five on the night for Vancouver.
Malm was far from done.
Less than three minutes later, Malm struck again.
This time it was off a rush down the right-wing. Malm threw the puck between his legs, then dragged it wide by Kaedon Korczak before stuffing home a forehand shot past Basran’s right leg.
It was a WHL Play of the Year type goal that put Vancouver ahead 3-0 which is how the first period ended.
Miner and Basran were both sharp in period two, combining for 23 saves.
Miner’s busiest period was the second, where he stopped nine Kelowna attempts. His best save came off Kyle Topping from in close. Basran at the other side was equally sharp as he made some notable saves off point-blank chances to keep his team within striking distance through 40 minutes.
Malm completed his natural hat-trick at the 10:23 mark of the third period when he converted on his second power play goal of the game from a similar spot where he scored his first one. Dylan Plouffe earned the lone helper, securing his second assist of the game. Malm’s third of the night and seventh of the season moved him into the league lead for goals through five games.
Koch added some final insurance for the Giants at 18:23 when he scored his first goal of the season off a nice feed from Yannik Valenti.
Moments later, Miner was mobbed by his Giants teammates once the final buzzer echoed through Prospera Place.
He earned 3rd star honours in the game while Plouffe (second star) and Malm (first star) were also recognized.
The final shots were 37-21 for the Giants who killed off all three of Kelowna’s power play attempts while going two-for-five on the man advantage themselves.
The Giants will now head north for two games in Prince George beginning Friday night.