VANCOUVER - Craig Cunningham and Neil Manning notched two goals apiece as the Vancouver Giants thumped the Prince George Cougars 7-3 in WHL action Friday night.
Craig Schira, Brendan Gallagher, with his first WHL goal, and Evander Kane also scored for the Giants (2-0-0-1) in their 2008-09 home opener before a crowd of 9,069 at the Pacific Coliseum. Brian Matte, Brett Connelly and Dallas Jackson replied for the Cougars (2-1-0-0) as they suffered their first loss of the young season.
The score was tied 1-1 after the first period, but the Giants took command in the second period as they outshot the Cougars 21-11 and built a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes. Vancouver went 3-for-5 with the man advantage while Prince George was 2-for-6.
The Giants outshot the Cougars 40-27.
Cunningham's second goal of the night at 5:42 of the second period proved to be the winner as he deflected in Craig Schira's point shot, breaking a 2-2 deadlock.
Prince George starting goaltender Kevin Armstrong, who helped the Spokane Chiefs win WHL and Memorial Cup titles last spring, was pulled at 12:06 of the second period after allowing two goals just 20 seconds apart. Backup Ian Curtis allowed one goal on 18 shots.
Vancouver goaltender Tyson Sexsmith made 24 saves in his first appearance this season after returning from the NHL's San Jose Sharks earlier in the week.
Notes: NHL legend Gordie Howe and former Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks coach Pat Quinn, both Giants minority co-owners, participated in a ceremonial pre-game face-off.