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 Vancouver Giants

Schmidt Nets 1st WHL Hat-Trick in 7-1 Win Over Blazers

February 25, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Vancouver Giants News Release


Vancouver Giants celebrate win
Vancouver Giants celebrate win
(Vancouver Giants, Credit: Rob Wilton)

Langley, B.C. - Cameron Schmidt's hat-trick led the way for the Vancouver Giants on Saturday night in a commanding 7-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers in front of over 4,200 fans at the Langley Events Centre.

Vancouver's win is their ninth consecutive on home ice and brings their record to 11-2-1 in their last 14 games. The Giant's overall record is now 28-26-3-0, putting them just three points back of Victoria for fifth place in the Western Conference standings. The loss drops Kamloops record to 18-33-3-2.

In addition to Schmidt's three goals (20th, 21st, 22nd), London Hoilett scored twice for the G-Men (7th, 8th), while Tyson Zimmer (20th) and Adam Titlbach (7th) also found the back of the net.

Scoring the lone goal for Kamloops was rookie Tommy Lafreniere, which was his first in the WHL in just his second career game.

GAME SUMMARY

Hoilett opened the scoring 6:15 into the contest after going hard to the net and shovelling home the puck after a good move down the left wing from rookie Aaron Obobaifo, who dangled around a defender and threw the puck to the net.

Lafreniere would tie the game late in the first period off a shot from the top of the right circle.

Before the opening frame came to a close, Schmidt regained Vancovuer's lead, after receiving a pass from Ty Halaburda on the power play and rifling home a shot top corner from the top of the right circle.

Vancouver was unable to extend their lead in the first 15 minutes of the second period, but exploded for three goals in a span of just 2:02 late in the middle frame.

First, Zimmer received a pass from Mazden Leslie right in the slot off an entry on the left wing side and used his quick release to beat Dylan Ernst, making it 3-1 Vancouver.

Less than a minute later, Schmidt used his elite skating to pull away from the Blazers forward covering him at the point and dance into the high slot, where he again went top shelf to extend the Giants lead to 4-1.

Titlbach then joined in on the fun, one-timing his seventh of the season off a pass from Gronick.

The Blazers fired 20 shots on goal in the third, but many were from the outside. No doubt, Mirwald had to make some key saves to keep the four-goal lead intact.

Schmidt would then complete the hat-trick on a breakaway with only 1:14 left in the game, before Hoilett scored his second of the night with just one second left on the clock to make the final 7-1.

THEY SAID IT

"After the tough loss to Kelowna yesterday, we just wanted to battle back and we stayed much more disciplined tonight. [We] stayed out of the box and we out-shot them, which is a change, so that was definitely a key to the win...It was a surreal moment [to get my first hat-trick] and I couldn't have done it without my teammates. I was happy to get it." - Forward Cameron Schmidt

"I thought we played a really good game throughout the whole lineup. We just played a fully structured game. We kind of enforced that after the loss last night. We took it to them and shot a lot of pucks." - Forward Tyson Zimmer

STATISTICS

SOG: VAN - 11/14/8 = 33 | KAM - 3/7/20 = 30

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

Face-Offs: VAN - 31 | KAM - 34

3 STARS

1st: VAN - Cameron Schmidt - 3G, 7 SOG, +2

2nd: VAN - Tyson Zimmer - 1G, 3 SOG, +1

3rd: VAN - Jaden Lipinski - 1A, 1 SOG, +2

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Vancouver: WIN - Brett Mirwald (29 saves / 30 shots)

Kamloops: Loss - Dylan Ernst (26 saves / 33 shots)

NOTEWORTHY:

The Giants haven't lost a game on home ice since Dec. 29 (5-3 to EDM), going 9-0 since then with a goal differential of +23 (44 GF, 21 GA)

After going 8-2 in the month of February, Vancouver is now 15-5-1 since Jan. 1

The Giants tied a season-high with seven goals scored, which they had previously done three times (Dec. 9 vs. EVT, Jan. 27 at VIC, Feb. 10 vs. WEN)

Schmidt's hat-trick gives him 22 goals on the season in 48 games, putting him just three goals shy of tying the Giants franchise record for goals in a season by a16-year-old rookie, set in 2003-04 by Gilbert Brule (25 goals in 67 games)

Schmidt is the sixth different Giant to record a hat-trick this season (Thorpe Oct. 13 vs. SC; Lipinski Nov. 15 at PG; Halaburda Dec. 2 at TC; Leslie Jan. 3 vs. CGY; Levis Jan. 27 at VIC; Schmidt Feb. 24 vs. KAM)

Goaltender Brett Mirwald stopped 29 of 30 shots to improve to 11-1-1 in his last 13 games, with a .935 SV%

Tyson Zimmer reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his WHL career on Saturday, after finishing last year one tally shy (19 goals in 64 games)

NEXT GAME:

The Giants have a three-in-three next on the docket, as they'll play Kelowna at home on Friday, Kamloops on the road on Saturday and finish with a matinee at the LEC on Sunday against Seattle.





Images from this story

Vancouver Giants celebrate win
Vancouver Giants celebrate win

(Rob Wilton)
  

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