Consistency is a common word coaches use when it comes to talking about what it takes to be successful.
And on Saturday night, the Vancouver Giants played one of their most consistent games of the season, a 4-1 victory over the visiting Kamloops Blazers at the Langley Events Centre. The two Western Hockey League rivals also played the night before with the Blazers winning 3-0 in Kamloops.
Vancouver improved to 7-10-0-0 while Kamloops fell to 8-8-0-0.
In that first game, the Blazers fired 43 shots on goal, with only two — the third was into the empty net — beating Giants goaltender Ryan Kubic.
“I think it was probably our most complete effort in all facets of the game, d-zone, o-zone, special teams,” said Vancouver coach Jason McKee.
“We were prepared, you could tell we were hungry early.
“We were committed to it tonight. Our best players led and our 99s, our young guys, were extremely good tonight.”
Another sign of the team’s consistency was the fact all four Vancouver lines scored once and no player had more than a single point.
“For us as a group, we need everyone going if we are going to have success. We can’t rely on one or two guys,” McKee said.
“When we play a team game like we did tonight and spread things around, we give ourselves a chance every night.”
Johnny Wesley had the only goal of the first period, his second goal in the past three games, on the power play to give the Giants a 1-0 lead heading into the locker room.
Radovan Bondra doubled the lead, picking up a loose puck and with Kamloops goaltender Dylan Ferguson out of position, stepping into a shot for his team-leading ninth.
Four minutes later, Dawson Holt wired a bad-angle shot short-side over Ferguson’s shoulder to make it 3-0. Holt was just above the goal-line.
The Blazers would get one back five minutes later.
With Kamloops already on the power play, Thomas Foster was taken down in the Blazers end. No call was made and the puck went back up the ice and Quinn Benjafield scored to get the Blazers on the board.
The lone goal of the third period was an empty-netter by Tyler Benson in the final minute.
The Giants had 13 shots in the first period and had 32 after 40 minutes.
They also held the Blazers to just 24 shots, including five in the final 20 minutes.
“We didn’t give up as many opportunities as we did last night but he made some key saves at key times, McKee said.
“We were really working on stick to puck, and limiting them to the outside and limiting the shots,” said Giants defenceman Darian Skeoch.
The rugged blue-liner — the game’s first star — didn’t have any points, but was a physical presence all night, including a big hit which sent Kamloops forward Jermaine Loewen to the dressing room in the final frame.
“Everyone bought in and stuck to our structure. We were all just working hard out there,” Skeoch said.
Kubic was the game’s third star, finishing with 23 saves.
“Everyone just showed up to play, We prepped better before the game, we were ready to go,” he said.
“The guys definitely helped me out tonight and I look forward to the games coming up if they are playing like that.”
The win wrapped up an above-.500 month of the Giants as they won 7 of 13 games. They opened and closed the month of October with victories over Kamloops.
“After you lose a couple, you don’t want to get into a big slide so tonight was huge for us,” Skeoch said.
“We want to turn things around here and we are starting slowly and we want to get on the right path.”
The game’s second star was Matt Barberis, who finished with one assist.
Up next for the Giants is a home game at the LEC on Nov. 4 against the Kelowna Rockets.