Bondra hat trick paces Giants to victory

Vancouver top line combines for eight points in 5-3 win over Prince Albert at Langley Events Centre



Gary Ahuja

Black Press

A win is a win but Jason McKee was not too thrilled with how his Vancouver Giants team won.

The Giants scored three times in the opening 20 minutes and made it 4-0 early in the second period, chasing Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Ian Scott from the crease after just 11 shots.

But instead of putting their foot down and finishing things off, the Giants coasted to what turned out to be a 5-3 victory.

Vancouver was hosting the Raiders on Wednesday night at the Langley Events in the last game of a six-game home stand which saw the Giants win four out of the six contests.

Attendance was 2,878.

The Giants improved to 10-12-0-0 while the Raiders fell to 5-15-1-1, which is last place in the Western Hockey League.

“For me, I didn’t like the game. It was a win but I didn’t like the process in getting it, that’s for sure,” McKee said.

“It turned into river hockey. We didn’t want to compete anymore, we wanted to poke and run I call it, where you hope the puck goes by.

“Guys are cheating the zone and (we had) defencemen who didn’t want to play defence tonight.”

Vancouver had a great start to the game with Radovan Bondra scoring twice as part of a three-goal period.

On the opening goal at 6:58, Ty Ronning stole the puck behind the net and fed Bondra in front with the winger waiting patiently for a sliding Raiders d-man to take himself out of the play and wristing the shot in glove-side.

Less than two minutes later, Tyler Benson fed Matt Barberis at the point and the defenceman showed great poise, walking in from the blue-line and around another sliding Prince Albert defender and then also going high glove side from the slot.

The Giants third goal came after Bondra was hauled down on a breakaway, earning a penalty shot.

Bondra skated in slowly from the left-side and went five-hole on Scott for the 3-0 lead.

Ronning and Bondra would set up Thomas Foster in front early in the second to make it 4-0, prompting the Raiders to make the goalie change with Nicholas Sanders taking over in the crease.

From there, the Giants defensive play evaporated with the Raiders generating several odd-man rushes as Cole Fonstad finally capitalized, coming in all alone on goaltender David Tendeck and beating him with a back-hand deke through the pads.

Bonra would get his hat trick goal 8:37 into the third period before Prince Albert scoring goals less than two minutes apart.

Calvin Leth made it 5-2 with just over three minutes remaining, banging home a rebound off a pad save by Tendeck and less than a minute later, Sean Montgomery made it a two-goal game, scoring on a four-on-three power play.

“We have to learn now to play with some pride in front of our net and learn how to defend. We are not good enough to play river hockey so we are going to correct that quickly tomorrow,” McKee said.

The coach was also not happy with some of the penalties his team took in the third period.

Prince Albert finished with a 32-25 shot advantage and McKee was happy with the play of his back-up goaltender, who has now won his last two starts.

“He was probably our most consistent guy tonight, He just played his game, it never changed from the start to the end,” the coach said.

The line of Bondra, Foster and Ronning finished with four goals and four assists and made up the game’s three stars, in that order.

Bondra leads Vancouver with 15 goals and 23 points in 19 games.

The fifth-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks — he attended training camp with the NHL club — now has eight goals in his last eight games.

“He is using his body and getting the puck on net. He is creating things,” McKee said, adding that from watching video of Bondra last year, the six-foot-five is improving in his own zone as well.

“He is learning how to defend better and his offensive game is taking the next step too.

“I think he is getting a lot of quality shots and getting to those areas and I think he is being rewarded for it.”

Up next for the Giants is a game in Kelowna against the Rockets on Nov. 18 before Vancouver returns to the LEC to host the top-ranked CHL team, the Regina Pats on Nov. 20.

 

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