Victoria pays a visit New Year’s Day afternoon to take on the Vancouver Giants on their home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The puck drops at 2 p.m. a public skate follows the game. (Jay Wallace/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Giants first game of the new year gets underway at 2 p.m. in Langley

Vancouver’s major junior hockey team preparing to battle Victoria Royals at Langley Events Centre

It’s the 35th game of the season, but the first of the new year for the Vancouver Giants, and they’re playing it on home ice in Langley this afternoon.

This afternoon at the LEC the G-Men kick off 2020 with a home showdown with their closest rivals, the Victoria Royals.

Puck drops at 2 p.m.

The G-Men have won three straight and could secure their longest winning streak of the season with two points today.

The Victoria Royals are coming off a 4-1 road victory in Kamloops on Monday and they enter play with a four-point lead on the Giants for third place in the B.C. division standings.

Tickets are still available for today’s game, online.

During today’s game, two lucky fans are going to leave with some significant prizes.

The Giants will be giving away a hot tub courtesy of Coast Spas and a trip to Las Vegas courtesy of Prime Travel.

It is a midweek game, but since it is on a holiday, there will be a post-game skate, which is an awesome autograph opportunity.

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VICTORIA ROYALS

OVERVIEW:

Head coach: Dan Price

Record: 19-12-2-0

Road record: 8-5-2-0

Last game: A 4-1 road win Monday in Kamloops.

Last 10: 6-4-0-0

Season series vs. VAN: 1-2

Goals for/goals against: 89 GF/86 GA (+3)

Power play: 19.8% (12th)

Penalty kill: 86.3% (3rd)

Leading scorers: Tarun Fizer (33GP – 11GP – 20A – 31PTS), Gary Haden (31GP – 14G – 14A – 28PTS), Kaid Oliver (23GP – 8G – 14A – 22PTS)

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NICE KILL:

The Royals currently hold the WHL’s third ranked penalty kill at 99/115=86.1%. This comes alongside the league’s third best road penalty kill, which sits at 40/47=85.1%. Since the holiday break, Victoria has killed off all 12 opponent powerplays in their three contests.

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STREAKING ROYALS:

Royals’ forwards Kaid Oliver and Tarun Fizer are both currently riding multi-game point streaks. Oliver extended his streak to five games on Monday night and now has eight points (4g-4a) over that span. Fizer is on a three-game point streak and has collected two goals and four assists in those contests.

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VICTORIA NOTES:

Overage forward, Gary Haden, has collected at least a point in 11 of his last 13 games. During that span he has 10 goals and eight assists for 18 points.

Goaltender Shane Farkas has posted a 6-1 career record against the Vancouver Giants. This season he’s 1-1 against them with a 1.52 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage.

In three meetings against Vancouver this season the Royals have surrendered just four goals against.

The Royals are 9-4-2 in one-goal games.

When leading after the first period the Royals are 9-1-2-0.

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VANCOUVER GIANTS

OVERVIEW:

Head coach: Michael Dyck

Record: 17-15-1-1

Home record: 8-6-1-0

Last game: A 6-2 win at home Saturday over the Kelowna Rockets

Last 10: 5-5-0-0

2019-20 record vs. VIC: 1-2

Goals for/goals against: 90 GF/90 GA (0)

Leading scorers: Tristen Nielsen (34GP – 16G – 19A – 35PTS), Justin Sourdif (32GP – 13G – 16A – 29PTS), Tyler Preziuso (34GP – 14G – 14A – 28PTS)

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SHEPARD BREAKS OUT:

Giants rookie forward Cole Shepard sure wrapped up 2019 with a bang. The 2002-born forward from West Vancouver, B.C. recorded the first three-point game of his young WHL career on Saturday when he posted two goals and an assist against the Kelowna Rockets in a 6-2 victory for the Giants. Both of Shepard’s goals came during a four-goal first period for the Giants. Through 22 games this season, Shepard now has eight goals along with four assists for 12 points. In three games this season against Victoria, Shepard has managed one goal.

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300 GAMES FOR PREZIUSO:

This afternoon marks a significant milestone for Giants forward Tyler Preziuso. The product of Victoria, B.C. will be suiting up in his 300th career WHL game. Preziuso’s tenure with the Giants hasn’t been a long one, but he’s sure made a strong first impression. In six games with the Giants, Preziuso has compiled five goals and an assist for six points. Since acquiring Preziuso the Giants are 4-2. Preziuso leads all active WHL’ers in games played.

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VANCOUVER NOTES:

Tristen Nielsen has registered 15 points in his past 11 games. He’s notched six goals and nine assists for 15 points in that span.

During their three-game winning streak, the Giants penalty kill has gone 11/12.

Justin Sourdif leads the Giants with two points (1G, 1A) this season against Victoria.

David Tendeck has played in all three games so far this season against Victoria. He’s 1-2 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.04 goals-against average.

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