With two superstars already missing and one more on his way out, the Vancouver Giants relied on rookie Adam Basford to keep their latest hot streak alive.
Basford scored three goals to lead the Giants to a 6-0 victory over the Prince George Cougars on Sunday night.
It was the first WHL hat trick for Basford, a 19-year-old Richmond, B.C., native who joined the Giants late last season from the Tier II BC Hockey League.
Casey Pierro-Zabotel added a pair of goals while Craig Cunningham also scored for the Giants (27-2-0-3) as they extended their winning streak to six games before a crowd of 7,115 at the Pacific Coliseum.
Vancouver captain Jon Blum recorded three assists in his final game before joining the United States' team for the upcoming world junior hockey championship in Ottawa. The Giants are already without forward Evander Kane and goaltender Tyson Sexmith, who are at Canada's junior selection camp.
The final score would have been much higher if not for the exceptional efforts of Prince George goaltender Kevin Armstrong, who recorded 47 saves. Vancouver outshot Prince George 53-14 and didn't allow more than six shots against in a period.
Vancouver goaltender Jamie Tucker easily recorded his third shutout of the season as the Giants handed the Cougars (13-21-0-1) their second loss in two nights.
In other WHL action Sunday, it was: Calgary 4 Kelowna 3; Saskatoon 2 Regina 1; Lethbridge 3 Edmonton 2; and Tri-City 3 Medicine Hat 0.
At Vancouver, neither team managed to score on a total of seven power plays, but the hosts produced two shorthanded goals.
The Giants outshot the Cougars 17-3 in the opening 20 minutes, but were repeatedly denied by Armstrong. Pierro-Zabotel gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded marker 13:20 into the game. The goal came after Blum blocked a shot and Pierro-Zabotel then took the puck, rushed up the ice and backhanded in his own rebound off the end boards.
The Cougars did not record their first shot until 13:54 of the first.
Armstrong robbed the Giants several times again in the second. Basford gave the Giants a 2-0 advantage at 12:45 as he converted a two-on-one with defenceman Blum, who forced a turnover at the Prince George blue-line.
Pierro-Zabotel put the Giants ahead 3-0 at 17:54 of the period as he deflected Andrej Kudrna's shot past Armstrong.
Basford added his second goal at 3:09 of the third period. Cunningham gave the Giants a 5-0 lead about three minutes later before Basford completed his hat-trick with a shorthanded goal at 13:10.
Hitmen 4 Rockets 3
At Calgary, Jason MacDonald scored the game winner as the Hitmen shaded Kelowna.
Carson McMillan, Ryan Fox and Alex Plante also scored for Calgary (29-5-1-1).
Lucas Bloodoof, Stephan Novotny and Dylan Hood scored for the Rockets (19-13-0-0).
Blades 2 Pats 1
At Regina, Derek Hulak scored the shootout winner as Saskatoon downed the Pats.
Charles Inglis scored in regulation for the Blades (24-9-2-0).
Michael MacAngus had the lone goal for Regina (18-14-1-4).
Hurricanes 3 Oil Kings 2
At Edmonton, Colton Sceviour's overtime goal lifted Lethbridge past the Oil Kings.
Dan Iwanski and Carter Ashton scored in regulation for the Hurricanes (19-14-0-1).
Jeff Lee and Brent Raedeke countered for Edmonton (15-18-2-3).
Americans 3 Tigers 0
At Kennewick, Wash., Drew Owsley's first career shutout led the Americans past Medicine Hat.
Taylor Procyshen scord twice and Brett Plouffe added a single for Tri-City (23-8-0-2).
Tyler Bunz made 17 saves for the Tigers (20-10-3-3).