Vancouver NW Giants 4 - Séminaire St-François Blizzard 1
GIANTS SURPRISE BLIZZARD, MOVE CLOSER TO SEMI-FINAL SPOT
Many people may not have given the Vancouver North West Giants much thought heading into the 2007 TELUS Cup, given that the Giants were the only team at the National Midget Championship not to win their Regional championship.
The Giants made believers out of a number of people on Thursday afternoon, topping the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard 4-1 at Red Deer Arena, moving to 2-2 and all but assuring themselves of a semi-final spot.
Kyle Nielsen was a deserving winner of the Player of the Game award for the Giants after making 39 saves, a number of them of the spectacular variety, to lead his team to the victory.
“Kyle has been huge for us all season, so it’s not a big surprise to see him play well,” Giants head coach Jon Calvano said following the win. “It was great to see him bounce back from Monday’s game (two goals in the opening period of a 2-1 loss to Prince Albert).”
Clinton Atkinson and Landon Ferraro scored in the first period, and Stefan Elliott and Shane Harle scored in the second for the Giants, who fought back from an early 1-0 deficit.
Ferraro and Elliott both connected while the Giants had the man advantage, while Harle’s goal was a shorthanded marker.
Jonathan Hazen scored the lone goal for the Blizzard, who fell to 2-2 and into a third-place tie with the Giants in the standings.
Mike Villeneuve was named Player of the Game for the Quebec champions.
The Blizzard return to the ice at Red Deer Arena on Friday night when they take on the host Optimist Rebels in what could be a preview on Saturday’s semi-final. The Giants, meanwhile, travel to Carstairs, AB to take on the St. John’s Maple Leafs.
- - -
PREVIEW: BLIZZARD, GIANTS LOOK TO WRAP UP SEMI-FINAL BERTH
The Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard look to wrap up a semi-final berth, and move a step closer to their fourth national championship, when they take on the Vancouver North West Giants on Thursday afternoon at Red Deer Arena.
The Blizzard offense exploded on Wednesday night against Sault Ste. Marie, scoring seven times in the first 40 minutes on their way to a 7-0 win. The powerplay came up big for the Quebec champions, scoring three times.
Sébastien Trudeau tied a tournament high with five points (two goals, three assists) in the win, as the Blizzard rebounded from their third-period collapse in Tuesday night’s loss to Prince Albert.
Vancouver stayed right with the TELUS Cup hosts for 40 minutes on Wednesday night, before stumbling in the third period of a 5-0 loss to the Red Deer Optimist Rebels.
Although he struggled in the opening six minutes of the third period against the Optimist Rebels, Graeme Gordon has been arguably the Giants’ most impressive player thus far at the National Midget Championship, allowing only five goals in more than 150 minutes of action.
In sixteen of the last seventeen national championships, the Quebec champion has gone home with a medal. In the 28-year history of the National Midget Championship, only three B.C. teams have ever won a medal. Both the Blizzard and the Giants can take one step closer to the podium with a win on Thursday afternoon.