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Blazers will be facing new-look Giants

Vancouver roster in state of upheaval
By Gregg Drinnan
November 5, 2015 8:24 P.M.
The Vancouver Giants will be wearing arctic camouflage sweaters tonight as they play the Kamloops Blazers. (Photo: vancouvergiants.com)

The Kamloops Blazers are going to see the new-look Vancouver Giants when the teams meet tonight (Friday) at Pacific Coliseum.
The Giants, who have lost six straight games (0-5-1), continued their early season makeover on Thursday as they added one goaltender, traded away another and waived a 20-year-old forward.
Daniel Wapple, 20, was acquired from the Regina Pats in exchange for a fourth-round selection in the 2017 bantam draft. Wapple’s addition left the Giants with five 20-year-olds — the others being forwards Trevor Cox, Elliott Peterson, Carter Popoff and Taylor Crunk.
Cox, who was acquired late last month from the Medicine Hat Tigers, remains out with a broken hand. His absence allows the Giants to keep four 20-year-olds on their roster until two weeks after he returns.
Yesterday, after acquiring Wapple, the Giants placed Crunk, an off-season acquisition from the Victoria Royals, on waivers. He had put up three goals and an assist in 15 games with the Giants.
Wapple, selected in the fourth round of the 2010 bantam draft by the Moose Jaw Warriors, is from Saskatoon. In 128 regular-season games, split between the Pats, Warriors and Medicine Hat Tigers, he is 63-44-15, 3.08, .903. This season, in nine games, he is 5-3-1, 3.20, .907.
Wapple was terrific last season when he played in 56 games. He finished 29-15-10, 3.03, .906.
In Vancouver, he will be backed up by Ryan Kubic, 17, who has gotten into four games this season, going 0-3-1, 4.84, .848.
As they acquired Wapple, the Giants sent goaltender Payton Lee, 19, to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a sixth-round selection in the 2016 bantam draft.
A second-round pick by the Giants in the 2011 bantam draft, Lee played in 140 games over five seasons, going 52-71-9, 3.39, .885. The Oil Kings were in need of a goaltender after Alec Dillon went down with an undisclosed injury.
The Giants’ roster now features 22 players — two goaltenders, six defencemen and 14 forwards. Already this season, Vancouver has used 31 different players.
The team the Blazers will face tonight will include Wapple in goal and four other recent acquisitions. Forward Chase Lang and defenceman Ben Thomas were acquired from the Calgary Hitmen in a five-player deal last month, while Peterson was picked up on waivers after he was dropped by those same Hitmen. As well, forward Haydn Hopkins came over from the Prince George Cougars last month.
It also is expected that forward Thomas Foster, 19, will play his first game of the season. Foster, who had 46 points, including 13 goals, in 69 games last season, has been sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Earlier this week, two players — defenceman Brennan Menell and forward Jesse Roach — left the Giants and went home. Benell, who had seven assists in 14 games, had been quarterbacking the first power-play unit.
The Giants began this season by winning three of their first four games. Hey, they even showed up in the CHL’s top 10 rankings. But they lost five times on a six-game East Division swing and have never really recovered. Overall, they are 4-8-3, including 1-7-2 in their last 10.
In the meantime, the Blazers (6-8-0), who started 0-6-0, have won five of their last six games and have moved out of the Western Conference basement, leaving the Giants as the sole occupants.
The Blazers are coming off a 5-4 overtime victory over the visiting Spokane Chiefs on Wednesday night. The Blazers fell behind 4-0 in that one, before roaring back and winning on an OT goal by winger Collin Shirley.
“We were a little lackadaisical,” Shirley said of the Blazers’ play in the first half of the game. “You can’t really put a finger on it but I don’t think everyone was going. It’s tough to see that but it was great that we stayed in the fight and everyone finished the game up hard.
“Most times it’s tough to come back, especially from four goals. A lot of teams aren’t going to let you come back like that. We have to take that and learn from it.”
JUST NOTES: The Giants will wear special arctic camouflage sweaters against the Blazers as they celebrate Canadian Armed Forces Night. . . . Proceeds from ticket and 50/50 sales will benefit programs and services for military families and cadets. . . . The Blazers will return home to face the Prince George Cougars on Saturday, 7 p.m. . . . Former Blazers D Austin Madaisky, 23, has signed with the Straubing Tigers and will finish this season in the German DEL. The NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets placed him on waivers this week for the purpose of terminating his contract. He had been a fifth-round selection by Columbus in the NHL’s 2010 draft.
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There’s more WHL news with Taking Note at TheCoachesSite.com. While you’re there, don’t forget to get your free copy of A Coaching Life, an eBook that features eight prominent coaches, including the Blazers’ Don Hay and former Blazers F Ryan Huska.

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