Vancouver Giants captain Tyler Benson is the WHL Player of the Week.

Goalie sets franchise record in a pair of wins

Vancouver Giants earn shutout wins over Medicine Hat, Kootenay

Vancouver Giants netminder Ryan Kubic set a new franchise record, leading the Western Hockey League team to a pair of shutout wins on home ice.

The Giants won two of four games last weekend, gaining some ground in a race for a playoff position in the Western Conference. After a 6-0 win Wednesday (Dec. 2) over the Medicine Hat Tigers and a 4-0 triumph Friday over the Kootenay Ice, the Giants then lost twice. They dropped a 3-1 decision on the road to the Everett Silvertips, and fell 6-5 Sunday to the Prince George Cougars in the Pacific Coliseum.

Kubic was the winning goalie in the two shutout victories, and his shutout string of an even 208 minutes was a new franchise best.

The old record was set by former Surrey Eagles netminder Dustin Slade, who went 198:18 in the 2006 playoffs.

The Giants are 8-18-2-2 (win-loss-overtime loss-shootout loss), and remain in the basement of the B.C. Division, six points out of a playoff position in the Western Conference.

Kubic turned aside 33 shots against Medicine Hat, while the Giants scored six times on the 28 shots directed at the Tigers’ net. Ty Ronning had the hat trick for Vancouver, with Chase Lang, Dylan Plouffe and Trevor Cox adding singles. Cox, who scored the game’s last goal with the Giants shorthanded, also had a pair of assists.

The Giants were two-for-six with the man advantage, while the Tigers were scoreless on three powerplay opportunities.

Kubic was perfect again Friday night in a 4-0 win over the Kootenay Ice, making 25 saves. Ronning, Lang and Radovan Bondra found the net in the first period, giving Vancouver a 3-0 lead after just 20 minutes. Alec Baer was the only goal scorer over the final two periods.

Kubic’s shutout run came to an end 10 minutes into Saturday’s game in Everett, when Matt Fonteyne gave the Silvertips a 1-0 lead. Everett was up 2-0 when Tyler Benson got the Giants to within one with a powerplay goal 43 seconds into the third period.

The Silvertips added an insurance goal with two minutes remaining.

The Prince George Cougars chased Kubic from the net less than five minutes into Sunday’s game, taking a 2-0 lead by scoring twice on three shots on net.

The Giants rallied with goals from Plouffe late in the first period and Baer early in the second. The Cougars regained the lead with a powerplay goal, but fell behind 4-3 after Lang and Benson tallied for the home team.

Prince George then reeled off three straight scores to go up 6-4. Vancouver cut the difference in half on a goal by Ronning with two minutes to go, but time ran out on the Giants.

The Giants will play three games next weekend, all against the 19-8-1-1 Victoria Royals. The Royals visit the Giants Friday night at 7:30 p.m., then the two rivals will travel to Victoria for games Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

BLUE LINES: Giants captain Tyler Benson was named the WHL’s Player of the Week. The Edmonton native tallied eight points in four games, scoring twice and assisting on six other goals.

The 17-year-old now has 19 points, including seven goals, in 20 games so far this season.

The six-foot, 196-pound forward is eligible for next summer’s National Hockey League Entry Draft.