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Pierro-Zabotel picks up where he left off as Giants pound Cougars 9-1 @NHL

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Casey Pierro-Zabotel scored two goals and added an assist as the Vancouver Giants pounded the Prince George Cougars 9-1 in the second game of their opening-round Western Hockey League playoff series Saturday night.

The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven affair before a crowd of 8,418 at the Pacific Coliseum. Vancouver, which finished first in the Western Conference regular season, has outscored eighth-place Prince George 17-3 in the first two games.

Pierro-Zabotel, 20, now has five points in the playoffs after winning the WHL's regular-season scoring title. He is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer unless the Pittsburgh Penguins, who made him their 2007 third-round choice, sign him before this year's NHL entry draft.

The Giants outshot the Cougars 47-29, including a 26-7 difference in the second period, while going 2-for-7 on the power play and netting a shorthanded marker. The Cougars converted one of four man-advantage opportunities.

Vancouver led 2-0 after the first period on goals by Mike Piluso and Lance Bouma and never looked back. Piluso opened the scoring on a wraparound while the Giants were shorthanded 3:53 into the game. Bouma, who returned Friday from a hand injury that kept him out 27 games, scored what proved to be the winner as he gave the Giants a 2-0 lead at 15:46 of the first period.

In the second period, James Wright, Craig Cunningham, Brendan Gallagher, Pierro-Zabotel, Mikhail Fisenko and Garry Nunn scored to put the Giants ahead 8-0. Fisenko and Nunn's goals came 18 seconds apart, prompting Cougars coach Wade Klippenstein to pull starting goaltender Kevin Armstrong in favour of 16-year-old midget call-up Michael Salmon.

Pierro-Zabotel notched his second of the night at 2:09 of the third period before Tyler Halliday spoiled Vancouver goaltender Tyson Sexsmith's shutout bid on a power play with only 1:32 left in the game.

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