VANCOUVER, B.C. - Adam Basford scored three goals to lead the Vancouver 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 potted 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 Team USA for the upcoming world junior hockey championship in Ottawa.
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.
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.
The Giants played without winger Evander Kane and No. 1 goaltender Tyson Sexsmith, who are trying out for the Canadian team that will play at the upcoming world junior tourney. Prince George was missing centre Dana Tyrell, who is also at the Team Canada camp.