Coach’s Corner: Team gave big effort in tough games

Vancouver Giants head coach Jason McKee talks about injuries, goaltending, and penalty killing.

It’s been a rough few games for the Vancouver Giants, with two losses and a win in their last three outings.

But head coach Jason McKee doesn’t have any complaints of his team’s performance.

“We’re really banged up right now,” McKee said. The number of injured players has depleted the team’s defence and resulted in them calling up a few midget players for the last few games. They lost 4-2 to the Red Deer Rebels, fell fighting hard 4-3 against the Victoria Royals, and edged the Edmonton Oil Kings 2-1 at the Langley Events Centre.

Those games were part of a string of four games in five nights, part of a punishing schedule that made it hard to get injured players back on the ice.

Nonetheless, the Giants made their opponents work hard for every goal.

“I think we’ve responded well,” McKee said.

One of the key ingredients of their recent run has been starting goalie David Tendeck, who has the second highest save percentage in the WHL.

“Dave’s been arguably one of our most consistent guys all year,” said McKee.

The other players know they can count on him.

“He gives our guys a chance to win every night,” McKee said.

Another key? A strong and consistent ability to kill penalties.

Early in the season, the Giants had trouble staying out of the penalty box. While they’ve cut down the number of minutes they spend short handed, they’ve retained their skills in killing time – and even scoring short-handed goals, now up to five for the year.

The power play still needs work, McKee said, noting theyv’e been running hot and cold all season.

The Giants will have a chance to work on that in the next few days. An unusual schedule gives them a free Saturday and Sunday to rest and practise after their Friday game against Everett at the LEC.

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