Owen Stout’s fifth goal of the season in the opening minute of the first period stood up as the game-winner in the Northwest Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Greater Vancouver Canadians in Richmond on Sunday.
The Giants also won the first game of the two-game weekend series with the Canadians 6-1 at the Burnaby Winter Club on Saturday.
The back-to-back wins kept the Giants in a first-place tie in the B.C. major midget hockey league with the Okanagan Rockets, both with 5-1-0 records.
Last weekend, the Kelowna-based Rockets downed the winless Thompson Blazers 6-3 in Kamloops before taking the weekend series with an 11-2 shellacking at home.
“I thought it would be a bit of a cakewalk,” said Giants head coach Clint Thornton after the game-opening goal Sunday. “Then it turned into the Tavin Grant show.”
Grant, who played last season with the Burnaby Minor AAA bantam team, was stellar between the pipes to register his first shutout in B.C. major midget hockey.
On Saturday, Colton Kerfoot got the Giants off to another quick start at home, scoring the first of two tallies 41 seconds after the puck dropped.
Stout, with his first of two tallies, and Hockey Now minor hockey player of the year, Dante Fabbro, also scored for the Giants in the opening period.
The Giants built a 5-0 lead before Cameron Ginnetti, a Burnaby Winter Club product, spoiled the shutout bid by Cody Porter six minutes into the final frame.
Quinn Thompson also scored a goal for the first-place Giants in the middle period.
Mitchell Stapely assisted on three goals for the Giants, while Justin Szeto of Burnaby helped out on a pair of markers. Both Stapely and Szeto chalked up their eighth points of the season in the win.
Although the Giants find themselves in a similar position atop the elite midget league, Thornton stresses this season is shaping up to be tighter than ever.
“More than ever we have to strive to inspire,” Thornton said. “There’s a lot of good teams this year. We have to match their play and improve on it.”
This weekend, the Giants face off with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, hosting Game 1 at the Burnaby Winter Club on Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
Game 2 will be played at Prospera Place in Chilliwack on Sunday at 10 a.m.
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