Vancouver Giants goaltender Ryan Kubic makes a save against the Victoria Royals in a recent WHL game in Victoria. Kubic started all 11 games in a recent 7-3-1 run by the Giants.

Giants still aiming for a playoff berth

Western Hockey League team posts winning record in December

The first half of the 72-game regular season began well and ended well for the Vancouver Giants.

The first three weeks of the regular season saw the Giants get off to a 4-3-2 (win-loss-overtime loss) start to the season, earning points at a rate which would ensure the Western Hockey League team would qualify for the playoffs.

The three weeks just prior to the holiday break were even better, as they went 7-3-1.

It was a disastrous seven-week stretch from mid-October to late November, which saw the team go 1-13-2 that has put the Giants in the hole they will need to climb out of over the final half of the season.

Vancouver is 12-19-5 after 36 games, the halfway point of the regular season. They are last in Western Conference standings, but need to overtake just two rivals in order to climb into the top eight and participate in the playoffs. And if they can maintain their level of play over the first three weeks of December, they should be able to reach the postseason.

A much-improved defensive record is behind much of their success over the past 11 games. After giving up an average of 4.08 goals against per game in the first 25 games of the season, they have lowered that figure to 2.28 over the next 11.

Goaltender Ryan Kubic is one of the reasons why. The 17-year-old appeared in just 10 of Vancouver’s first 25 games of the season, losing all eight decisions (0-7-1).

In the past 11 games, he’s started all 11, going 7-2-1. His goals against average has dropped from 2.28 over the first two months of the season to 1.85 during the recent streak. A save percentage of .878 has improved considerably, as Kubic posted a .937 mark, with three shutouts, over the most recent three weeks.

Matt Barberis has been contributing offensively all season, but his defensive numbers have improved considerably in the past month. The White Rock native is quietly putting together a solid rookie season, leading all Giants defencemen in scoring with five goals and 13 assists. But while he was a minus-13 through the first 25 games of the season, he’s been a plus-4 in the past 11.

Veteran Chase Lang, 19, and rookie Tyler Benson have stepped up their offensive production during the recent run. Lang, who had three goals in 14 games with the Giants following his trade to Vancouver from Calgary in late October, has eight in his past 11.

Benson, a 17-year-old projected to be a potential first round pick in next sumer’s National Hockey League Entry Draft, has four goals and 12 assists in the recent run, after totalling just nine appoints in the previous 15 games.

The Giants will likely need to play .500 hockey over the final half of the season to reach the playoffs. If they play up to the standard set in December, they will achieve that goal.

BLUE LINES: The Giants will have nine prospects playing in the Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament in Calgary this week. The tournament, which began Saturday (Dec. 26) and runs through to Friday (Jan. 1).

Three prospects are with the Yorkton Maulers. They include defenceman Kaleb Bulych, a 2015 second round draft pick, and forwards Kaeden Taphorn (2015 third round selection) and Tristyn DeRoose.

Goaltender David Tendeck, selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft, will be playing with the Vancouver Giants of the BC Hockey Major Midget League. Other Giants prospects currently on teams from the B.C. league playing in Calgary are forwards Haydn Delorme (2015 ninth round pick), forward Haydn Delorme of the Vancouver Chiefs and James Malm (2014 second round pick) of the Valley West Hawks.

Jordan Biro was picked up as an affiliate player by the Sherwood Park Kings of the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League. The forward was listed by the Giants this past summer.

Alex Kannok-Keipert, a defenceman, will play for the Regina Pat Canadians. He was a fourth round pick in 2014.

Defenceman Austin King-Cunningham, listed this past fall, will play for the Moose Jaw Generals.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s COVID-19 case count exceeds 1,800

About 800 new cases in September

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Nine Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Maple Meadows Station’s new Bike Parkade. TransLink photo
TransLink to remove abandoned or discarded bicycles from bike parkades

Rules at TransLink bike parkades ask customers to use facilities for single day use only

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read