Vancouver Giants are heading into their holiday break on a high note.
Wednesday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna, the Vancouver Giants (15-15-1-1) earned a 4-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets (18-11-1-2).
Tristen Nielsen and Alex Kannok Leipert both posted a goal and an assist for the Giants while Tyler Preziuso and John Little also scored.
Conner McDonald set up all three Kelowna goals which came courtesy of Matthew Wedman, Jadon Joseph and Pavel Novak.
David Tendeck made 25 saves in net for Vancouver to secure his ninth win of the season.
After a scoreless first period, Alex Kannok Leipert opened the scoring for the Giants at 3:34 off the rush from the right-wing.
His shot deflected off Rockets goaltender Roman Basran’s right arm and in for his second of the season.
John Little padded the Giants lead to 2-0 on a power play at 6:06.
The rookie charged hard to the net from the left-wing and deflected a Seth Bafaro feed past Basran for his first career WHL goal. Alex Kannok Leipert earned the second assist.
Just 27 seconds later the Rockets answered back when Pavel Novak wired home a Conner McDonald rebound home for his 13th.
In the third, Tristen Nielsen increased the Giants lead to 3-1 off the rush at 9:44. His shot from the left-wing circle deflected off the crossbar, and off a Rockets defender before crossing the line. For Nielsen it was his team-leading 16th goal of the season.
Jadon Joseph countered for Kelowna at 11:16 off a low shot from the slot that snuck through the pads of David Tendeck. Joseph’s first goal as a Rocket marked his eighth of the season.
Tyler Preziuso made it a 4-2 game for Vancouver at 14:20 off a feed from Tristen Nielsen. Preziuso’s fourth goal in a span of four games stood as the game winner. Evan Patrician also assisted on Preziuso’s 13th marker of the year.
The game’s final goal came 50 seconds later courtesy of Matthew Wedman. The 20-year-old parked himself in front of the Giants goal and re-directed a Conner McDonald shot home for his ninth goal of the season. That’s as close as the Rockets would come, as the Giants managed to hold on in the final minutes.
By the numbers:
Final Score: Vancouver 4 – Kelowna 3
Final Shots: 29-28 Vancouver
David Tendeck: 25/28 saves for Vancouver
Roman Basran: 25/29 saves for Kelowna
Vancouver Power Play; 1/3
Kelowna Power Play: 0/5
Tristen Nielsen (The Vancouver Giants player had one goal and one assist)
Conner McDonald (Kelowna Rocket notched three assists)
Alex Kannok Leipet (The Vancouver Giants player had one goal and one assist)
Tristen Nielsen has now registered 13 points in his past nine games for the Giants.
John Little became the fifth Giant to record his first WHL goal this season. The others include: Zack Ostapchuk, Justin Lies, Tanner Brown and Cole Shepard.
The Giants are now 2-0 on the season against Kelowna.
The Giants improved their road record to 8-9-1-0.
Up next: after taking a holiday break, Giants return to action on Friday, Dec. 27th against the Victoria Royals at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena in Victoria. Puck drop is 7:05 p.m.
They will return home to the Langley Events Centre on Saturday, Dec. 28th to play Kelowna at 7 p.m.