Skip to main content

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

NHL.com @NHL

The Vancouver Giants aren't going to have the benefit of home-ice advantage for a long time, so they made the most of it Sunday night.

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

The Giants (25-14-3) played their last game at the Pacific Coliseum until March 12 because of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

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.

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.

Elsewhere in the WHL it was Red Deer 3 Edmonton 0; Kamloops 5 Prince George 2; Lethbridge 4 Calgary 2; Moose Jaw 6 Prince Albert 2; Everett 2 Portland 1; Spokane 3 Seattle 2; and Saskatoon 6 Tri-City 4.

At Vancouver, the Giants 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.

Rebels 3 Oil Kings 0

At Edmonton, Darcy Kuemper made 30 saves as Red Deer blanked the Oil Kings.

Simon Witt opened scoring for the Rebels (22-15-3), while Alex Petrovic and Jordie Deagle tallied on the power play.

Cam Lanigan turned aside 28 shots in net for Edmonton (10-22-10).

-

Blazers 5 Cougars 2

At Prince George, B.C., C.J. Stretch and Zak Stebner both scored twice as Kamloops beat the Cougars.

Tyler Shattock had the other goal for Kamloops (17-19-5).

Alex Rodgers and Dallas Jackson replied for Prince George (9-29-2).

-

Hurricanes 4 Hitmen 2

At Calgary, Graham Hood scored twice to lead Lethbridge to a win over the Hitmen.

Cam Braes and Brennan Yadlowski each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes (13-22-4).

Joel Broda and Rigby Burgart scored for Calgary (27-10-2).

-

Warriors 6 Raiders 2

At Moose Jaw, Sask., Brendan Rowinski scored a hat trick as the Jaw beat Prince Albert.

Rowinski also set up Dylan Hood's game-winning goal in the second period, while Danny Gayle and Thomas Frazee also scored for the Warriors (20-15-3).

Nathan Deck and Ryan Harrison replied for the Raiders (20-20-3).

-

Silvertips 2 Winterhawks 1

At Portland, Ore., Byron Froese scored the game-winner with just over a minute to go in regulation as Everett defeated the Winterhawks.

Clayton Cumiskey also scored for Everett (21-16-3).

Brad Ross replied for Portland (25-16-2).

-

Chiefs 3 Thunderbirds 2

At Kent, Wash., Spokane scored three unanswered goals in the second period to overcome a two-goal deficit and beat the Thunderbirds.

Steve Kuhn, Ryan Letts and Kenton Miller scored for the Chiefs (23-13-3),

Sena Acolatse and Charles Wells scored for Seattle (13-22-6).

-

Blades 6 Americans 4

At Kennewick, Wash., Gaelan Patterson had his first career hat trick and added an assist, and Walker Wintoneak had three assists as Saskatoon beat Tri-City in a battle of the top two teams in the WHL.

Travis Toomey, Derek Hulak and Jeremy Boyer also scored for Saskatoon (28-7-4), which has won five straight.

Kruise Reddick score a pair of goals for Tri-City (29-10-1), which also had goals from Johnny Lazo and Tyler Schmidt.

View More