It was a road trip to remember for Ty Ronning.
Not only did the speedy Vancouver Giants forward celebrate his 20th birthday with a hat trick — albeit in a 6-5 loss — but Ronning finished with six goals and 10 points in his team’s seven-game trek away from the Langley Events Centre.
Even more important for the team was the fact they picked up three wins and eight of a possible 14 points after going 3-2-1-1. The results leave Vancouver with a mark of 5-5-1-1 through the first dozen games of the Western Hockey League season.
The Giants concluded their Prairie road trip with a 6-5 loss in Brandon on Friday to the Wheat Kings before bouncing back with a 5-2 win in Regina over the Pats the next day.
Ronning leads Vancouver with 10 goals and 16 points in a dozen games thanks to his recent hot streak.
“I think for myself, it is making the simple plays and just playing the game I love,” he said on Monday afternoon.
“And all-around, our team is doing the little things well — blocking shots and chipping the puck out over the blue-line and advancing zones, having an aggressive fore-check and finding the back of the net.”
Vancouver and Brandon were tied at one after one period before the Wheat Kings exploded four goals in the second for a 5-2 lead. Ronning completed his hat trick in the third period while Dylan Plouffe scored a pair of power-play goals but that would not be enough to complete the comeback.
Brandon’ s Kale Clague matched Ronning as each player had three goals and an assist. Brandon also got goals from Ty Lewis, Stelio Mattheos and Kade Jensen.
David Tendeck made 26 saves in the loss for the Giants.
Todd Scott got the call in goal the next night for Vancouver and responded with a 33-save, first-star performance in his team’s 5-2 victory over the Pats.
Ronning finished with a goal and an assist while James Malm, Brendan Semchuk, Bowen Byram and Milos Roman had a goal apiece. Brad Morrison and Dawson Holt finished with a pair of assists.
Vancouver returns to the LEC on Friday, hosting the Prince George Cougars. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
The Giants also announced the return of captain Tyler Benson.
Benson hasn’t played since January and was with the Edmonton Oilers as he rehabbed from off-season sports hernia surgery.
In 33 games in 2016/17, Benson had 11 goals and 42 points.
The addition of Benson gives Vancouver yet another offensive option. With 43 goals in a dozen games, the Giants are averaging 3.58 goals per game, good for 11th in the WHL. By comparison, the team was second-last in goal scoring last season with 2.54 goals per game.
Experience is a key in increased production.
“Not gripping the stick too tight and just relaxing and playing the game,” Ronning said.
He also raved about getting their captain back.
“That is a big plus. Right now our team is good, (now) we are going to be even better,” Ronning said.