The Vancouver Giants celebrated head coach Don Hay’s 500th WHL victory prior to Tuesday’s game against the visiting Kamloops Blazers.
Then they went out and ran Hay’s total to 501.
Goaltender Mark Segal stopped 31 shots and also drew an assist, as the Giants scored a 3-0 victory over the Blazers before 5,481 fans at Pacific Coliseum.
Prior to the game, the Giants and the WHL saluted Hay, who became the fourth coach in league history to reach 500 victories. He got there Saturday with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Chilliwack Bruins.
It was the Giants’ second straight victory after a four-game losing stretch.
The Blazers lost their fifth straight game away from home, which comes on the heels of a six-game road winning streak.
The Giants won with solid goaltending and one goal in each period.
Freshman forward Matt Bellerive, who was celebrating his 16th birthday, opened the scoring at 17:19 of the first period.
Winger Brendan Rowinski, a trade acquisition from the Moose Jaw Warriors last month, scored on a power play at 15:59 of the second period, and centre Matt MacKay got his 10th of the season at 13:12 of the third.
While the Giants were celebrating, Kamloops head coach Guy Charron wasn’t at all happy with the play of his charges.
“I think it was an opportunity for us to get two points against a team that has a lot of injuries,” Charron said. “We didn’t take advantage of it and that’s my disappointment.”
While the Giants welcomed back defenceman Wes Vannieuwenhuizen from a seven-game suspension, they were without forward Greg Lamoureux, who suffered a shoulder injury in Saturday’s game.
With the Giants hurting — they also were without injured forwards Roman Tvrdon and Randy McNaught and winger Brett Lyon was serving a one-game suspension — Charron had wanted his club to turn in a physical effort.
“At times we were . . . but not enough,” Charron said. “It was an opportunity . . . we should have taken a little more advantage of them.”
The game plan was for the Blazers to get the puck deep into the Vancouver zone and work over the Giants’ defenders.
“I don’t think we did it consistently,” Charron said.
He was especially critical of the play of the club’s top line, which features Chase Schaber between Brendan Ranford, who leads the WHL with 25 goals, and Jordan DePape.
“They’re a line that is very productive and sometimes your productive line gets away from what the game plan was,” Charron said. “I felt they could have been more consistent in terms of getting the puck in deep and they weren’t.”
Asked what his plans are for practices this week, he added: “I don’t need to say what plans are going to be. Right now, I’ll have 24 hours to think about it and I’ll see what I think it takes for the team to be ready for Friday.”
The Blazers return home to face the Swift Current Broncos on Friday night in the annual Teddy Bear Game. That will be the Blazers’ final home game before the Christmas break.
JUST NOTES: This was the first time the Blazers have been blanked this season. Last season, they were shut out three times. . . . Kamloops G Jeff Bosch stopped 24 shots. . . . The Blazers scratched D Josh Caron (collarbone) and F Chase Souto. . . . Ranford had his point streak snapped at 11 games. It was his second 11-game scoring streak this season.
Taking Note on Twitter