VANCOUVER - James Henry's first WHL goal lifted the Vancouver Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Chilliwack Bruins on Saturday night.
Tyson Sexsmith, cut from Canada's junior team earlier in the week, recorded his league-leading sixth shutout as the Giants outshot the Bruins 37-16. Lance Bouma added an empty netter for the defending Memorial Cup champions, who posted their sixth straight victory and improved to 24-7-1-3 before a crowd of 10,744 at the Pacific Coliseum.
It was Vancouver's second victory in two nights over Chilliwack as the Bruins fell to 17-15-3-1. The Giants now hold a decisive 5-0-1-1 edge over their regional rivals in the season series.
The loss spoiled a fine effort by Chilliwack goaltender Mark Friesen, who was chosen the game's first star. Referee Andy Thiessen called only seven minor penalties as the Giants went zero-for-three on the power play and the Bruins were blanked on two man-advantage situations.
Fans brought thousands of teddy bears to throw on the ice as part of an annual pre-Christmas charity event. But the anxious spectators had to wait through a scoreless first period, in which the Giants outshot the Bruins 16-6 but could not finish chances.
Henry, a 16-year-old Winnipeg native, finally sent the teddies flying at 9:04 of the middle period. He scored during a scramble as the Giants had an extra attacker on the ice due to a delayed Chilliwack penalty.
Before then, the clubs had combined for only four shots. They managed only six shots apiece over the entire second period.
A goal by Vancouver's James Wright in the final three minutes was disallowed as Henry was called for goaltender interference.
Sexsmith stopped Brandon Campos on a breakaway early in the third period to preserve his shutout.
Chilliwack's Dylan Chapman left the game about eight minutes into the final frame after he was checked into the corner boards by Jonathan Blum. Chapman lay on the ice for a few minutes and held a towel to his head as he skated off the ice followed by a trainer.
Bouma closed out the scoring with 35 seconds remaining in the game while Friesen was pulled in favour of an extra skater. The goal came after Vancouver coach Don Hay called a timeout as Chilliwack pressed for the tie.
Vancouver scratched veteran centre Mitch Czibere while top scorer Michal Repik remained out indefinitely with a concussion.
The Bruins also played without their top points producer, Oscar Moller, who is with the Swedish team as it prepares for the upcoming world junior championships in the Czech Republic.
Chilliwack was also missing Ryan Howse (charley horse) and Partik Bhungal (leg) because of injuries.