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Giants Triumph 4-2 Over Kelowna Rockets

Photo Credit Rob Wilton/Vancouver Giants

In a thrilling Sunday afternoon matchup at the Langley Events Centre, the Vancouver Giants secured a 4-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets, salvaging a split of their weekend home-and-home series. 

The standout performance came from forward Cameron Schmidt, whose two-goal effort, combined with goals from Mazden Leslie and Tyler Thorpe, propelled the Giants to success.

Giants’ captain Sam Honzek played a pivotal role with two assists in the game, contributing to the team’s overall offensive prowess. 

Despite goals from Kelowna’s Kayden Longley and Trae Johnson, the Giants held their ground, showcasing a flawless penalty kill by successfully thwarting three power-play opportunities. 

Goaltender Brett Mirwald’s exceptional performance with 30 saves played a crucial role in the victory. The result narrows the gap in the standings, as the Giants now trail the Rockets by just six points in the B.C. Division.

Despite the victory, Captain Samuel Honzek talked about consistency, emphasizing, “I think we need to be consistent. 

You know, don’t look at who we are playing, but if we still play hard and maintain our structure, I think we’re going to feel successful now. 

Honzek returned to the lineup on January 9 after representing Slovakia in the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship, and made an immediate impact with a power-play goal and a primary power-play assist. 

The 6-foot-4 forward, selected 16th overall by the Flames in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, has accumulated 5 goals and 9 assists in 14 games this season.

In a strategic move ahead of the 2024 trade deadline, the Giants bolstered their top-6, acquiring center Tyson Zimmer from the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Connor Levis from the Kamloops Blazers. 

Zimmer made an impactful debut, scoring his first goal as a Giant on Jan. 10 against the Saskatoon Blades.

After the game, Levis highlighted the team’s chemistry, stating, “I think we’re gelling really well together. You know, in the dressing room, on the ice. And, you know, that’s important if you want to have success as a team. So I think we’re doing that really well, and we’re playing really hard for each other.” 

Levis also shared his family’s joy about his trade to Vancouver, saying, “I mean, they were ecstatic, like, it’s really cool for them. They got to be so close to me here, and I got to watch, watch their son play. I’ve been away from them for quite a while. So, you know, super excited for them. And I’m glad to have them here watching and cheering me on.”

Levis found the net in his Giants debut on Jan. 12 against the Regina Pats.

Looking forward, the Giants are gearing up to face the Victoria Royals in a three-game series next weekend, starting on Friday, January 26, with a home game at 7 p.m., followed by two away games on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.


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