Vancouver Giants forward Davis Koch celebrates a goal during the WHL squad’s 3-1 win over Prince Albert Raiders on Thursday night (Jan. 24) at Langley Events Centre. (Photo: Doug Westcott/Vancouver Giants)

HOCKEY: Surrey’s Koch is sizzling for the hot Giants of WHL

During the winger’s recent scoring streak, he had 16 points to match the number on his jersey

* This story has been updated

South Surrey-raised Davis Koch is sizzling right now for one of the WHL’s hottest teams.

The winger leads the Vancouver Giants in scoring with 51 points, four ahead of top draft prospect Bowen Byram’s 47, and Koch had a seven-game point streak going until it was snapped in Kelowna last Saturday.

The following day, on Sunday, Koch rebounded with a goal in the Giants’ shootout loss to the Rockets at Langley Events Centre. The previous Thursday (Jan. 24) in Langley, he extended his point streak with a pair of goals in the home team’s giant 3-1 win over the league-leading Prince Albert Raiders.

During his seven-game run this month, Koch notched 16 points – a number to match the one on his jersey.

It could all be a case of some good home cookin’ for Koch, who lives in White Rock with his mom.

“I owe at least half of my success to her,” he said Monday. “She’s done a lot for me over the past so many years, and to be back here after getting traded (to the Giants), it’s been great.… It’s nice to be back home playing my last year of junior.”

Koch, 20, is in his second year with the Giants after playing parts of four seasons with Edmonton Oil Kings. Prior to his time in the Alberta capital, Koch dressed for 34 games with Valley West Hawks of the B.C. Major Midget League and, before that, played at Okanagan Hockey Academy.

The Oil Kings drafted Koch in the second round, 42nd overall, in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft.

At the 2018 trade deadline, the Semiahmoo minor hockey association product came “home” in a trade with the Giants.

CLICK HERE to see Koch’s stats at eliteprospects.com.

This month, Koch is playing his best hockey, point production-wise, with the G-men. For the season, after Wednesday night’s 3-2 overtime win in Kamloops, he has 20 goals and 31 assists in 47 games played. Against the Blazers, in his 300th career WHL game, Koch one-timed home a Jadon Joseph feed for his team-leading 20th goal of the season.

“I struggled early on a bit and stuck with it and things picked up,” Koch said Monday. “A lot of it is being on a line with Tristen Neilsen (who came to the Giants in the James Malm trade) and Jadon Joseph (a trade-deadline acquisition). It’s been good playing with them and we’re looking pretty good.”

As a 20-year-old, one thing is certain: Koch will not be in a Giants jersey next season, as he’ll have “aged out” of WHL hockey. Undrafted, he’s not sure what his hockey future holds, but he’s making the most of the current season, in hopes of landing with a pro team next year.

“We’ll see what happens next year,” he said, “but for now I’ll keep trying my best to play well this season. I’m keeping all the focus on this year and the playoffs.

“I want to play my way onto a pro roster,” he added, “and that could happen with my play right now, I hope, so I just have to keep it going and finish off the year the best I can.”

The Giants play in Portland tonight (Friday) before returning to Langley Events Centre for a Saturday-nighter (Feb. 2) against Prince George Cougars.

For the Giants, a month that started with three straight losses has ended with a 10-game regulation unbeaten streak. The team has won five straight road games dating back to Jan. 6 in Cranbrook.

With 67 points on the season, the Giants are in third place in WHL standings, behind only the top-dog Raiders and second-place Everett Silvertips.

• AROUND THE WHL:

WHL formally announces Kootenay Ice move to Winnipeg



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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