LANGLEY ADVANCE EXCLUSIVE: Giants’ coach’s corner

Jason McKee is head coach of the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants, who play their home games at the Langley Events Centre

It was another good-news bad-news weekend for the Vancouver Giants in a pair of home games at the Langley Events Centre on Nov. 4 and 5.

They began their contest against the Kelowna Rockets with some strong and spirited play, drawing first blood when Alec Baer scored off the rush early in the first period. Back-and-forth play saw the Rockets score twice while Darian Skeoch marked his first of the season, tying the game 2-2.

Then the wheels fell off the car, when the Rockets, shorthanded, scored twice in three seconds.

“Yeah, our special teams weren’t great,” said Giants head coach Jason McKee.

The game would end 6-4 in favour of Kelowna, though not before Baer found the net a second time, and Johnny Wesley also scored.

“We had a chance with four minutes left on the power play to try and get the go-ahead goal, and we didn’t get enough pucks directed toward the net,” said McKee. “It was a little bit frustrating.”

The team battled back, but had an inconsistent night, McKee said.

Things turned around on Saturday against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, with a 7-3 victory for the Giants.

“We had a much more consistent game, I thought we had a lot of contributions from a lot of players,” said McKee.

Both in five-on-five and with special teams, everything worked better.

“It was an opportunity for the guys to bounce back the very next night, and they were able to do that,” the coach said.

Up next in team development will be, well, a little bit of everything.

“We’ll continue to work on our defensive scheme,” said McKee. Offensively, they need to be “putting pucks in areas where we can get them back.”

“There’s a lot of areas this week to touch on,” said the coach.

Hockey Star #3: #28 – Darian Skeoch

The Ontario-born defenceman contributed two assists in the Giants 7-3 win over Lethbridge, and a goal in their hard-fought loss to Kelowna the night before.

Hockey Star #2: #14 – James Malm

Malm has made two assists in each of his last two games, bringing up his effort and creating more offensive opportunities, said head coach James McKee.

Hockey Star #1: #41 Radovan Bondra

Bondra was a key factor in the Giants win over Lethbridge on Nov. 5, with two goals, along with a couple of penalty minutes. The 6’5” Slovakian leads the Giants in goals, with 11 notched so far this season, and has 16 points heading into Thursday night’s game against the Prince George Cougars. A fifth-round NHL draft pick by Chicago, he’ll have a chance to catch up with team points leader Tyler Benson during a three-game home stretch that starts Nov. 10.

 

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