Coming up on his 18th birthday, Vancouver Giants left-handed forward Zack Ostapchuk is burning up the ice this season, impressing his fellow players and coaching staff with his efforts.
The 2021 NHL draft prospect earned on of the five G-Men goals Wednesday night, when the Langley-based team defeated the Victoria Royals on Kelowna’s Propera Place by the score of 5-3.
It came unassisted, when took the puck from his own zone, split through a number of Victoria defenders before roofing his fourth of the season.
Associate coach Keith McCambridge called it a “beautiful end-to-end goal.”
“For such a large young man to have the speed and the skill set with the set of hands to make some of those plays in tight, you see that with smaller players but guys with range, like Zack has, you don’t always see that,” McCambridge said of the 6 ft. 2 in. tall, 198 pounder.
“The bench was up and that was an exciting goal for us,” the coached added. “We’ve talked about him a lot and I have a feeling we’ll be taking about him more as we push through this bubble season. But that was, for sure, a highlight reel goal.”
Ostapchuk, who hails from St. Albert, Alta., also scored another point with an assist in the second period.
Last night’s triumph helps secure the Giants’ top spot in the B.C. division standings, currently with nine wins and three losses.
In addition to Ostapchuk prowess with the puck, Justin Sourdif and Alex Kannok Leipert both emerged from the game with a goal each and two assists.
Sourdif actually extended his point-streak to eight straight games. During that span he’s recorded five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. He’s recorded an assist in each of those eight games. He now has 11 points in four meetings against Victoria. And, of note, three of Kannok Leipert’s four goals on the season have now come against Victoria.
Eric Florchuk also added a goal and an assist, while Justin Lies netted the final goal of the night for the G-Men.
It was the efforts of the young Giants goaltender Drew Sim that also drew accolades from the associate coach.
Going up against a team that hasn’t chaulked up a lot of victories this year, a goalie who’s not seeing a lot of action at the net could lose focus in the game. But that wasn’t the case for Sim, another 18-year-older out of Alberta.
Sim played the full game, and stopped 17 of the 20 shots sent his way.
“Drew kept his focus… You want your goaltender to be a difference maker and to give you that one save you need to win the game, and he did that,” McCambridge said specifically of an “exceptional” save that came in the third period.
Royals have now dropped seven straight games, leaving them with one win and 10 losses.
The Giants now have a few nights off before taking on the Rockets in Kelowna on Saturday night.
BY THE NUMBERS
VIC – 3:25 into the game, Brayden Tracey (8) wired home a one-timer from the right-wing circle on a Victoria power play. Brandon Cutler and Gannon Laroque each earned assists.
VAN – Giants captain Alex Kannok Leipert responded with a power play marker of his own at 15:32. Kannok Leipert parked himself in front of the Victoria net, and tucked home a rebound for his fourth of the season. Tristen Nielsen and Justin Sourdif each earned assists.
Shots: 11-5 Vancouver
VIC – 2:58 into the middle frame, Royals captain Tarun Fizer helped restore the lead for Victoria with a shot from the right point that found its way through traffic and in for his third of the season.
VAN – Eric Florchuk responded for Vancouver with a power play marker at 14:58. Florchuk pounced on a Justin Sourdif rebound and wired home his fourth goal of the campaign. Zack Ostapchuk earned a second assist.
VAN – Less than two minutes later, on another power play, the Giants took the lead when Justin Sourdif’s shot from the high slot found its way past Adam Evanoff. Sourdif’s fifth goal of the season was set up by Eric Florchuk and Alex Kannok Leipert. The goal came at 16:21.
VAN – Zack Ostapchuk opened up a two-goal lead for his team at 3:18 on a highlight reel-type end-to-end rush up the left-wing. Ostapchuk took the puck from his own zone, split through a number of Victoria defenders before roofing his fourth of the season. The goal came unassisted.
VIC – Back came the Royals at 4:57 when Ty Yoder finished off a two-on-one rush with Brayden Schuurman. Carter Dereniwsky also earned a helper on Yoder’s third goal of the season.
VAN – Justin Lies ended all hopes of a Victoria comeback at 13:47 when he deflected an Alex Kannok Leipert point shot through Adam Evanoff. Tanner Brown also earned an assist on Lies’ second goal of the campaign.
Shots: 15-10 Vancouver
Final score: Vancouver 5 – Victoria 3
Final shots: 38-20 Vancouver
Drew Sim: 17/20 saves for Vancouver (3-1)
Adam Evanoff: 33/38 saves for Victoria (0-6-1-0)
Vancouver power play: 3/8
Victoria power play: 2/5
3 Stars: 1) Justin Sourdif (VAN – 1G, 2A); 2) Alex Kannok Leipert (VAN – 1G, 2A); 3) Ty Yoder (VIC – 1G)
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