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Rockets Defeat Giants 5-2 in Regular Season Finale

March 24, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Vancouver Giants News Release

Vancouver Giants' Samuel Honzek and Brett Mirwald battle Kelowna Rocket's Ethan Neutens
Vancouver Giants' Samuel Honzek and Brett Mirwald battle Kelowna Rocket's Ethan Neutens
(Vancouver Giants, Credit: Steve Dunsmoor/Kelowna Rockets)

Kelowna, B.C. - The Vancouver Giants fell 5-2 to the Kelowna Rockets on Saturday night in their regular season finale at Prospera Place, finishing the year as the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a 32-32-4-0 record,

The loss sets up a first-round matchup between Vancouver and Everett, which will begin on Friday, March 29 in Everett. For the full first round schedule, click here.

Scoring for the Giants on Saturday was Tyson Zimmer (23rd) and Jaden Lipinski (24th).

The Rockets got a pair of goals each from Max Graham and Ethan Neutens, plus a goal from Michael Cicek.


The Rockets got out to a 2-0 lead atfer one period thanks to goals from Cicek and Neutens less than two minutes apart. The Rockets also outshot the Giants 16-7 in the opening frame and controlled most of the play.

In the second, Vancouver came out strong, with Zimmer cutting the Rockets' lead in half just 3:22 into the period. Connor Levis fed a great stretch pass up ice to Zimmer, who entered on a 2-on-1 with Zimmer and ripped it home over the glove of Jari Kykkanen to make it 2-1.

Several minutes later on a power play, the G-Men found the equalizer after a pass out front from the goal line from Honzek found Lipinski in front, who chipped in his 24th of the season.

Before the second period came to a close, the Rockets re-took the lead on Neutens second of the game, giving them a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Graham scored the all important next goal for Kelowna 4:45 into the third period to make it 4-2 Rockets.

Graham then added his 20th goal of the season into an empty net with 3:32 left to play to make the final score 5-2.


"I thought we were better tonight overall than last night, but in the second period I thought we started to get physical. I just felt like we were getting a little bit pushed out of the game, especially last night and a little bit in the first tonight. I thought we got a little more physical, a little bit more assertive. It allowed us to claw back in, but obviously it wasn't the result we wanted at the end of the day...we need more consistency. It might even come down to performance, consistency from individuals. When we're on, we're a good team and we know that, but at the end of the day, we're a five-man team, so we need all five guys going on the ice. I think we've had some inconsistencies with performances and that's everyone, especially these last two games. I just think guys need to perform at their best every night, especially in the playoffs to give us a chance here." - Associate Coach Adam Maglio on Saturday's game

"They're a work-man like team. They're extremely physical and hard. The good thing is I think it mirrors a little bit of what we saw in these two games. They're a really, really hard forechecking team, their track game is really good - they get back on top of you - and they don't give you a lot of room on the ice. It's a buy-in. I think players will have to understand you need to play a little bit of a different game. You can't play a spaced out game against them and hope that things are going to work out. You've got to match their intensity because it's going to physical series."

Associate Coach Adam Maglio on the upcoming playoff series against Everett


SOG: VAN - 7/12/8 = 27 | KEL - 16/15/15 = 46

PP: VAN- 1/3 | KEL - 0/2

Face-Offs: VAN - 28 | KEL - 37


1st: KEL - Gabriel Szturc

2nd: KEL - Dylan Wightman

3rd: KEL - Kayden Sadhra-Kang


Vancouver: Loss - Brett Mirwald (41 saves / 45 shots)

Kelowna: WIN - Jari Kykkanen (25 saves / 27 shots)


The regular season has now concluded.

The Giants will take on the Everett Silvertips in round one of the 2024 Western Hockey League Playoffs, which begin on the road on Friday, March 29.

Playoff tickets for the first round will go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 25 at 10 a.m.

Images from this story

Vancouver Giants' Samuel Honzek and Brett Mirwald battle Kelowna Rocket's Ethan Neutens
Vancouver Giants' Samuel Honzek and Brett Mirwald battle Kelowna Rocket's Ethan Neutens

(Steve Dunsmoor/Kelowna Rockets)

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