Sunday, 12 May 2019

Dmytriw sees Giants through to force Game 7

Captain nets third period winner in 4-2 victory over Raiders

Jared Dmytriw, left, celebrates scoring the winner for the Giants.
    PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – It’s true thanks to Jared Dmytriw.
    The WHL Championship is heading to a series deciding Game 7 for the first time since 2014.
    On Sunday in Game 6 of the WHL final, Dmytriw’s Vancouver Giants, who were facing elimination, were locked in a 2-2 draw with the host Prince Albert Raiders heading into the third period at the Art Hauser Centre.
    At the 3:40 mark of the third, Dmytriw, who is the Giants captain, backhanded home the rebound of a shot taken by linemate Lukas Svejkovsky to give Vancouver a 3-2 lead. That tally held up as the winner as the Giants pulled out a 4-2 victory before a sellout crowd of 3,289 spectators at the Raiders 2,580 seat home rink.
    With the win, the Giants tie the best-of-seven series 3-3. A winner take all Game 7 for the Ed Chynoweth Cup and the WHL title is set for 7 p.m. local time Monday at the Art Hauser Centre.
David Tendeck stopped 36 shots in goal for the Giants.
    Vancouver was down 3-1 in the series before rallying back to force a Game 7.
    The last WHL final to go to a series deciding Game 7 came back in 2014, when the Edmonton Oil Kings beat the Portland Winterhawks to take the league crown. Edmonton moved on to win the Memorial Cup.
    Dmytriw, who is from Craven, Sask., was pumped to score the winner on Sunday.
    “It was unbelievable,” said Dmytriw. “To get the lead at that point in the game was huge.
    “Then, we kind of locked it down. I thought the team played well down the stretch.”
    At first, things didn’t start well for the Giants.
    Just 53 seconds into the game, Raiders power forward Parker Kelly shot down the right wing, cut to the front of the Vancouver goal, took a shot and banged home his own rebound to give the host side a 1-0 edge.
Davis Koch scored two goals on Sunday for the Giants.
    The Giants weren’t shaken by the early Raiders goal. Overage winger Davis Koch and left-winger Owen Hardy netted singles to give Vancouver a 2-1 advantage in the opening frame.
Dmytriw was pleased with how his squad bounced back after falling behind early.
    “It has kind of been the identity of our group this whole year is to bounce back,” said Dmytriw. “We knew coming into tonight whether they got the first one or we got the first one we weren’t going to change our game.
    “We were going to stick to our game plan, and I was proud of the way the boys handled that adversity early and bounced back.”
    Before the first period ended, the Raiders evened things up at 2-2, when Kelly netted his second of the game with 32.2 seconds remaining in the frame.
Parker Kelly (#27) sets to pop home a rebound for a Raiders goal.
    The two sides proceeded to skate through a scoreless second period setting the stage for Dmytriw to net the winner for the Giants in the third.
    Koch potted his second goal of the contest with 14.2 seconds remaining in the third to seal the Giants victory.
    Ian Scott turned away 23-of-26 shots to take the setback in goal for the Raiders. David Tendeck stopped 36 shots in a sensational outing to pick up the win in goal for the Giants.
    “I thought we were OK outside of a couple of things in our D-zone that could have been better,” said Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid. “I thought we missed a couple of assignments.
    “We weren’t as good as we could have been. They played heavy. We can be better in our own end, and that will help us out offensively.”
Raiders fans cheer on Parker Kelly’s first goal.
    Giants head coach Michael Dyck was pleased with the resiliency of his team.
    “I’m proud of the way we’ve played,” said Dyck. “Coming into a building that is not easy to play in, but I think we fed of the energy early.
    “I like the way we responded after giving up a goal in the first minute. I thought we played solid from there.”
    After the Giants went ahead 3-2, Kelly had a huge chance in front of the Vancouver goal to net the equalizer, but he was stoned by Tendeck.
    Looking back on the contest, Kelly thought his team might have had a bit of a lull after he scored the game’s first goal.
    “I thought our start was good,” said Kelly. “Maybe, we kind of let our foot off the gas pedal.
    “We can’t be doing that.”
Aliaksei Protas jets up the right wing for the Raiders.
    The Raiders topped the WHL regular season standings with a 54-10-2-2 record and were rated second in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    Vancouver finished second overall in the WHL with a 48-15-3-2 mark and was rated sixth in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    When the Giants fell behind 3-1 in the series, they faced a tough challenge in attempting to pull even. After winning two straight, Koch was pumped to see his WHL career get extended for a second time.
    “It is nice to stave off elimination in those two games,” said Koch. “I look forward to tomorrow in Game 7.”
    In Monday’s Game 7, the Raiders will be facing elimination for the first time in the post-season. Still, Raiders captain Brayden Pachal is looking forward to playing a winner take all contest.
    “It is something you dream of your whole life,” said Pachal. “It is time for us to take control of that opportunity.”
    The winner of Game 7 on Monday will earn a berth to the Memorial Cup, and this year’s CHL championship tournament starts Friday and run to May 26 in Halifax, N.S.
The Giants celebrate an empty-net goal from Davis Koch.
    In order to get to that point, the Giants are trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win the WHL final since the Victoria Cougars pulled off that trick in 1981 against the Calgary Wranglers.
    “We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves,” said Dyck. “We didn’t think about winning three games when we were down.
    “We thought about winning one. It was an opportunity to come back into here, and we just wanted to keep moving forward from there.”
    Habscheid has faith that his players will find a way to prevail in Game 7.
    “This is a special group that I coach here,” said Habscheid. “It is a great bunch of guys.
    “We treated Game 5 like it was Game 7. We treated Game 6 today like it was Game 7. We will treat Game 7 like it is Game 7.
    “We’re fine. If I was going anywhere, I’d take these 20 guys with me. They are great kids, they’re winners, and we like our chances tomorrow.”

Storm romps to 8-3 OHL title clinching victory

    A five-goal surge in the second period powered the Guelph Storm to an Ontario Hockey League Championship series clinching victory.
    On Sunday before 5,005 spectators at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph, the host Storm fell behind 2-0 to the visiting Ottawa 67’s heading into the first intermission.
    The Storm exploded for five straight goals to start the second period to go ahead 5-2 and cruised to an 8-3 victory in Game 6 of the OHL final.
    With the win, the Storm took the best-of-seven series 4-2. Ottawa won the first two games of the series before Guelph closed things out with four straight victories.
    Dmitri Samorukov and Isaac Ratcliffe both scored twice for the Storm, while Cedric Ralph, Nick Suzuki, Domenico Commisso and Keegan Stevenson had singles. Commisso’s goal was scored into an empty net, when the 67’s pulled their goalie for an extra attacker while down 6-3 in the third period.
    Noel Hoefenmayer, Kody Clark and Sasha Chmelevski had singles for the 67’s.
    Anthony Popovich turned away 23 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Storm. Cedrick Andree turned away 31-of-38 shots to take the loss in goal for the 67’s.
    The 67’s were without star goaltender Michael DiPietro, who was injured in Ottawa’s 4-3 victory on home ice in Game 2. DiPietro is reported to have a high ankle sprain.
    Suzuki was named the MVP of the OHL playoffs posting 16 goals and 26 assists appearing all of his team’s 24 post-season games.
    The 67’s topped the OHL regular season standings with a 50-12-4-2 record and were rated fourth in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    The Storm finished eighth overall in the OHL’s regular season with a 40-18-6-4 mark.
    Guelph advances to play for the CHL title in the Memorial Cup tournament, which starts Friday and runs to May 26 in Halifax, N.S.
    The Memorial Cup field includes the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the host Mooseheads.
    The Storm opens play at the Memorial Cup on Saturday taking on the Huskies.

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