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Cunningham's four points leads Giants to 6-3 win over Rockets in WHL action

NHL.com @NHL

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Craig Cunningham scored two goals and added two assists as the Vancouver Giants doubled the Kelowna Rockets 6-3 in Western Hockey League action Sunday night.

Cunningham's four-point night gave him 63 on the season and moved him into a tie for the league scoring lead with Calgary's Brandon Kozun, who is playing for Canada at the world junior championship in Saskatchewan.

Kevin Connauton also scored a pair for Vancouver while Garry Nunn and Neil Manning had a goal each. The Giants (25-14-3) played their last game at the Pacific Coliseum until March 12 because of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Shane McColgan had two goals and Tyler Halliday scored the other for the defending WHL-champion Rockets (19-21-2), who lost for the sixth time in their last seven games.

Vancouver outshot Kelowna 40-18 while going 3-for-7 on the power play. Kelowna ended the night 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

The Rockets led 2-1 after the first, but the Giants scored five unanswered goals in the second to lead 6-2 after 40 minutes.

McColgan opened the scoring only 21 seconds into the game as he beat Vancouver goaltender Mark Segal from in close after a giveaway. The Giants lost Milan Kytnar for the night after he was tripped into the end boards by Tyson Barrie at 13:24.

Connauton drew the Giants even on a wrist shot from the blue-line on the ensuing power play 1:18 later, but McColgan put the Rockets ahead 2-1 on a shot through Segal's legs with 8.4 seconds left in the first.

The Giants scored four unanswered goals four minutes apart to take control of the game in the second. Nunn tied it 2-2 at 4:15, before Manning scored on a power play and Cunningham added his pair.

Following Cunningham's second goal at 8:15, Kelowna coach Ryan Huska pulled starter Mark Guggenberger in favour of rookie Adam Brown.

Guggenberger, who backstopped Kelowna to the WHL title and a Memorial Cup final berth last spring, finished with 17 saves on 22 shots. The 20-year-old Richfield, Minn., native again struggled to find his form after returning in December from hernia surgery that had kept him out since October.

Connauton's second goal, on a 5-on-3 power play at 17:45, put the Giants ahead 6-2. The goal came 24 seconds after McColgan and Mitchell Callahan took simultaneous roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Vancouver outshot Kelowna 19-1 in the second and Halliday rounded out the scoring in the third.

Notes: The Giants now embark on what the club has dubbed a 27-game "Olympic road trip" due to figure skating and short-track speedskating events at the Games. Six of the 27 games will be played in suburban Langley, B.C., as home contests.

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