Giants Steal Game One

Photo Credit D. Laird Allan/Sportswave

The Western Hockey League finals are in full swing in both the Eastern and Western conferences that will see several of the top 50 WHL players listed in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings.

Prior to the start of the game it was interesting to see two Vancouver Giant alumni players in attendance, namely current Edmonton Oilers Milan Lucic (2004-05 to 2006-07 as well as Montreal Canadian’s speedster Brendan Gallagher who played with the Giants from 2008-09 to 2011-12.

They were sharing a conversation with PxP Dan O’Connor and Colour person Bill Wilms.

The Western Conference sees the #1 ranked Vancouver Giants hosting the Spokane Chiefs in best of seven match up with the series kicking off at the Langley Event Centre for the first two games.

Vancouver were 48-15-3-2 throughout the  regular season managing to grab 101 points under new GM Barclay Parneta finishing first in the Western Conference that saw them eliminate the Seattle Thunderbirds in 6 games (4-2) in the quarter final match-up.

Round two saw them sweep the Victoria Royals 4-0 improving their overall postseason record to 8-2 through the first two rounds.

Spokane finished second in the US Division with a record of 40-21-2-5 with 87 points trailing Everett who finished with a record of 40-21-2-5 with 87 points.

Of the 50 players listed in the Central Scouting rankings Vancouver lists (D-man) Bowen Byram who is ranked second in North American skaters as well as Goaltender Trent Miner currently ranked 6th.

Spokane has Adam Beckman (LW) listed in the top 50 and is ranked 34th in skaters as well as centre Luke Toporowski who is listed at #100 in the final ranking list.

This game saw the Giants come out focused sticking to their game plan while playing a more discipline style of play than in previous series staying out of the “sin-bin” and simply skating away.

Lukas Svejkovsky opened the scoring to the delight of the 4,917 on hand while on the PP at 6:25 collecting his 4th of the playoffs rifling a shot from the top of the right-wing circle as Dylan Plouffe and Tristen Nielsen collected assists.

The Giants continued to press that saw them take a 2-0 that saw Dawson Holt collect his third of the postseason after jumping on an Owen Hardy rebound sending a backhand shot top-shelf all started following a solid check on the Spokane defender on the side of the Chiefs goal.

The Giants controlled the play throughout the first 20 minutes that saw Spokane narrowly outshooting the G-men by a 1-10 margin.

They continued to press and managed their second of the game 57 seconds in as Owen Hardy (4) extended his goal-scoring streak to three consecutive game with the lone helper going to Jared Dmytriw giving the Giants a comfortable 3-0 lead.

The Chiefs pressed and managed their lone marker at 5:30 as they took advantage for the old phrase “dump it in” as Ethan McIndoe shot the puck into the Giants zone along the right-wing boards.  

One would think it would be an easy stop for Tendeck who left the net to try and slow the puck down behind the goal, but the puck took an unexpected bounce, deflecting off the Giants goal-post to the waiting Adam Beckman who simply tipped it home for his sixth of the playoffs.

The second saw the Chiefs continue to press, only to come up short in the shot department allowing Vancouver to 12-10.

The third saw the G-men continue to dominate the play with both teams playing aggressive but tentative while staying out of the sin-bin, but the end result saw Giants Bowen Byram end all hopes of a Spokane comeback.

He broke in on the left wing going wide at 18:06 when he collected his fifth of the postseason into the empty net making it a 4-1 game, that saw the lone assist go to Owen Hardy.

The third saw Spokane outshoot the Giants by a 11-8 margin that had the final shots listed with David Tendeck going 30/31 saves (6-1), while Spokane’s Bailey Brkin: 26/29 saves for Spokane (10-3)

Giants PP: 1/2 Chiefs PP: 0/1

Three Stars:

1.     David Tendeck (VAN – 30 saves)

2.     Owen Hardy (VAN – 1G, 2A)

3.     Jaret Anderson-Dolan (SPO – 2SOG)