The Kubic Bounces Back
Giants Trump Royals
Vancouver 4 Victoria 1
I was happy to see Ryan Kubic get the start and for Molleken to state that he has the starter’s position for the foreseeable future (in the post-game interview), especially after acquiring an 18 yr old goalie from the Blades this week. It would have been an insult to Kubic to play the new guy in my mind, but I frankly wouldn’t have been surprised, as this franchise tends to be a young goalie graveyard and a mismanagement debacle with their younger players. It was also nice to see Kubic get his first win in the Dub after allowing a goal. He three previous wins were all shutouts. Kubic was very solid in this game, but his team was equally good at forcing the play outside and allowing Ryan to see the shots. A very good full team effort for this game and despite the awful Christmas Frankenstein sweaters and white hockey pants, the team looked good. It was also a good game for the Gs to be seen on Sportsnet. Their previous televised outings have left a sour impression.
The two teams played to a scoreless first. Ty Ronning opened the scoring in the second, assisted by Trevor Cox. Victoria used a late second period PP opportunity to tie the game up going into the third. Carter Popoff found the back of the net in third on the PP. While most of us in the stands were scratching our heads at seeing Johnny Wesley on the PP, he and Trevor Cox hooked up to find a lonely Popoff in the slot. The sniper made no mistake powering it past the Royals goal-keep. Alec Baer added to that lead off of a good cross-crease feed by Ben Thomas. Baer scored his second of the game on the PP, set-up by defensemen Matt Barberis and Thomas. Kubic was rock solid down low and had a quick glove and even when he got caught wandering, he didn’t panic and calmly recovered. I really hope they give this kid a serious chance to be ‘the guy’.
Team Notes: The Giants acquired 18 yr old Jake Morrissey from the Saskatoon Blades this week for a 2017, 7th round pick. The move was necessary when it became apparent that Daniel Wapple would be out for the season after season ending hip surgery. Not to rub any salt in the wounds, but losing Wapple was probably one of the better things that have happened to the team development-wise. Had Wapple been healthy… Kubic would never have gotten the chance to become a better and possibly elite goalie in this league and would follow in the skates of the under-developed young goalies the Giants have wasted for several years now. Goalies, I might add, who have gone on to become linchpin netminders for their new teams. Radovan Bondra has once again joined the Slovakian squad for the World Juniors and he represents the only Giant player, playing in the tournament.
The Giants out shot the Royals 35-27. They went 2 for 3 on their PP chances, while the Royals were 1 for 3. A good all-around game by the team and even the fourth line did not look out of place. With Bondra at WJHC camp, Brendan Semchuk was moved up to the third line with Odgers and Holt. Popoff was moved to centre the top line of Cox and Ronning and the newly matched Smurf line was speedy and skilled, playing well versus the bigger Royals players. The line of Benson, Lang and Baer are really gaining some traction and turning heads. The chemistry seemed pretty good and Benson is coming into his own after a sluggish start coming back from injury. Some good work on the back-end as well. Still a few holes, but the Giants were much better at shutting down the opportunistic game the Royals exemplify. I don’t recall the Gs allowing any clear-cut breakaways in the game and that is a step in the right direction.
Last night was game 1 of 4 in-a-row head-to-head match-ups against the Royals. By the time the two teams face each other back at the Coliseum on Wednesday they are either going to be exhausted or there is going to be some bad blood. The two squads play Saturday and Sunday across the water before returning for the aforementioned Wed tilt. Saturday will be the Royals Teddy Bear Toss Night, so the Victoria team will be motivated to have a strong bounce back game in front of their fans. I suspect Jake Morrissey might get his first start as a Giant. Puck drops in Victoria at 7pm PST.
- Alec Baer
- Trevor Cox
- Ryan Kubic