Rockets Shut Down Giants

December 2, 2023 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Vancouver Giants News Release

Vancouver Giants' Ty Thorpe battles the Kelowna Rockets
Vancouver Giants' Ty Thorpe battles the Kelowna Rockets
(Vancouver Giants, Credit: Rob Wilton)

Langley, B.C. - The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Vancouver Giants 4-0 on Friday night at the Langley Events Centre.

With the loss, the Giants' record falls to 9-15-2-0 this season.

The Rockets scored a pair of goals in the final five minutes of the opening period and made it a 3-0 game midway through the third, before adding an empty-net goal to make it a 4-0 final.

Rockets goaltender Jari Kykkanen stopped all 16 Vancouver shots he faced in the third period and finished with 31 saves overall for his first shutout of the season.


The game's opening goal came at the 15:19 mark of the first period, after Hiroki Gojsic fed a pass from the right wing to the slot off the rush, where captain Gabriel Szturc tapped it in for his 12th goal of the season.

Less than two minutes later, defenceman John Babcock walked down from the left point and beat Mirwald on the short side to make the score 2-0 for Kelowna.

Neither side scored in the second, though a late Giants push made things interesting heading into the third period.

Kelowna held off the Giants to begin the final period, and got an insurance marker from Dylan Wightman on the power play at the 10:00 minute mark.

Vancouver continued to push and got more solid chances when they pulled the goalie on a power play to make it a 5-on-3 advantage, but Kykkanen wouldn't budge, finishing with 31 saves on the night for his third career shutout.


"Certainly we drew a few penalties in the third, but obviously we've got to get the power play going here and capitalize on some of these Grade-As. We had a ton of good looks tonight, but we've got to bear down on our chances there...the first [period] was fine. I thought we had some good energy. I liked our jump tonight. I think that was probably our most physical game. There was some good push back tonight. It was nice adding Langkow and Matty Edwards back into it because they kind of bring guys into the fight. So we liked that part: we thought our compete was there for the most part and our first was fine." - Associate Coach Adam Maglio on the game as a whole

"That's a quality Sammy has - he makes players better around him and that's why he was named our captain. You can just see Sammy's compete level and how hard he is on pucks, that's why he's going to be a very good pro. He does a lot of little things well. For our young group, he's a good player to watch. He's a good player to emulate their games from because even looking at his game tonight - where it's been three, four months since he's played and maybe his conditioning might not be at 100 per cent - but he certainly does so many little things well." - Associate Coach Adam Maglio on the return of Sam Honzek


SOG: VAN - 4/11/16 = 27 | KEL - 9/11/12 = 32

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

Face-Offs: VAN - 31 | KEL - 25


1st: KEL - Andrew Cristall - 1G, 3A, 4 SOG, +3

2nd: KEL - Jari Kykkanen - 31-Save Shutout

3rd: KEL - Gabriel Sztruc - 1G, 1A, 6 SOG, +3


Vancouver: Loss - Brett Mirwald (28 saves / 31 shots)

Kelowna: Win - Jari Kykkanen (31 saves / 31 shots)


Vancouver heads to Kennewick to battle the Tri-City Americans on Saturday, before finishing their weekend in Spokane against the Chiefs.

Next Saturday, Dec. 9 is the annual Teddy Bear Toss, when the Giants welcome the Everett Silvertips.

Images from this story

Vancouver Giants' Ty Thorpe battles the Kelowna Rockets
Vancouver Giants' Ty Thorpe battles the Kelowna Rockets

(Rob Wilton)

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