Friday, 10 May 2019

Giants gut out 4-3 win over Raiders, stay alive in WHL final

Davis Koch scored for the Giants on Friday.
    The Vancouver Giants won on plain old guts.
    On Friday night, the Giants pulled out all the stops to pull out a 4-3 victory over the visiting Prince Albert Raiders in a fire wagon style hockey contest in Game 5 of the WHL Championship series at the Langley Events Centre. With the win, the Giants cut the Raiders lead in the best-of-seven series to 3-2.
    Game 6 is set for Sunday at 6 p.m. local time at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. If a Game 7 is needed, it will be held on Monday at 7 p.m. local time at the Art Hauser Centre.
    Friday’s game was a contest where Giants could have easily been watching the Raiders celebrate at centre ice with the WHL championship trophy - the Ed Chynoweth Cup. The two clubs didn’t put on the greatest display of defence, and there could have been way more goals in the game had it not been for the play of Raiders star netminder Ian Scott and Giants standout goalie David Tendeck.
    When the dust settled, the Giants were able to give a final salute to the 5,033 spectators in attendance among a joyous atmosphere for the home side. The Giants won because they played their most desperate game of the series, where the desperation could have been costly too.
Dylan Plouffe scored the Giants fourth goal on Friday.
    The Giants broke through on the scoreboard first at the 7:42 mark of the first period, when left-winger Brayden Watts fired home the rebound of a shot taken by linemate Jadon Joseph.
    The Raiders evened things up at 1-1 at the 10:44 mark of the first, when import left-winger Aliaksei Protas fired home the rebound from a shot taken by linemate Sean Montgomery.
    In the final seconds of the opening frame, the Giants had a golden chance to go ahead off a set play on an offensive zone faceoff. Vancouver won the draw to star offensive defenceman Bowen Byram, but he fired a shot wide of the goal.
    The two sides proceeded to engage in a wild and wide open second period.
    Just 2:45 into the frame, Tendeck got crossed up trying to give the puck to one of his defenceman causing the puck to be turned over. Raiders star right-winger Brett Leason passed the puck out to standout overage centre Dante Hannoun, and he fired a shot past Tendeck to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
    Only 50 seconds later, the Giants evened things up at 2-2, when Byram fired home a shot from the left slot in the Prince Albert zone after taking a nice set up pass from Joseph.
Bowen Byram had a goal and an assist for the Giants.
    Vancouver went ahead 3-2 at the 9:24 mark of the second, when overage forward Davis Koch fired home the rebound of a shot taken by defenceman Seth Bafaro.
    The Giants expanded their edge to 4-2 at the 11:13 mark of the second, when rearguard Dylan Plouffe blew home a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle.
    With 4:06 remaining in the third, the Raiders cut the Giants lead to 4-3, when star overage centre Noah Gregor received a pass from Ozzy Wiesblatt and lifted a backhander past Tendeck.
    Before the second ended, Gregor had a chance to tie things up on a breakaway, but he rang his shot off the post of the Vancouver goal.
    In the third, play was tilted inside the Vancouver zone as Tendeck stood on his head to preserve a one-goal win for his team. The Raiders had a 15-5 edge in shots on goal in the frame.
    Tendeck had to make a blocker stop off Raiders star left-winger Cole Fonstad. The Giants puck stopper also turned away a dangerous redirection chance from Montgomery.
    There was a nervous pause when Tendeck got the glove on a long off-speed shoot in that bounced off the ice from five feet in front of the Vancouver goal.
    The NHL Entry Draft selection of the Arizona Coyotes stopped 37 shots to keep his team’s season alive.
David Tendeck made 37 saves in goal for the Giants on Friday.
    Scott, who has a signed NHL entry-level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, turned away 26 shots to take the setback in goal for the Raiders.
    Leason finished the game with two assists and has scored points in his last eight consecutive game netting seven goals and six assists over that time.
    The Raiders had offensive defenceman Max Martin back in the lineup after he missed two games after taking an awkward fall in the boards in the Raiders 4-0 win in Game 2 of the WHL final in Prince Albert.
    Byram and Watts each had a goal and an assist for the Giants, while Joseph finished with two helpers.
    Saskatoon product Dawson Holt had an assist for the Giants in their win.
    The excitement of Friday’s game was something you would come to expect from the WHL’s two top clubs in the regular season.
    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.
    The winner of the WHL final will earn a berth to the Memorial Cup, and this year’s CHL championship tournament is being held May 17 to 26 in Halifax, N.S.
Dawson Holt had an assist for the Giants on Friday.
    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 the trick in 1981 against the Calgary Wranglers.
    While desperation allowed Vancouver to pull out the win, the Giants will be hard pressed to win two games in similar fashion in Prince Albert in order to capture their first WHL title since 2006.
    The Raiders are in all likelihood coming out of Friday’s game thinking they should have won. Their confidence of locking up the series in front of their adoring fans has to be sky high.
    The Giants still face a daunting task of trying to push the series to a Game 7.
    The Raiders are still in perfect position to capture their first WHL title since 1985, and odds are still in their favour that they will prevail.

Storm win away from Memorial Cup after 4-3 win over 67’s

    The Guelph Storm are a victory away from earning a berth in the Memorial Cup after winning their third straight game in the Ontario Hockey League Championship series.
    On Friday, the visiting Stormed posted a 4-3 win over the host Ottawa 67’s in Game 5 of the OHL final played before 8,855 spectators at TD Place.
    With the win, the Storm take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, which they trailed 2-0 at one time. They will try to close the series out in Game 6 in Guelph on Sunday.
    Tye Felhaber gave the 67’s a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Guelph exited the opening frame holding a 2-1 edge on goals from Cedric Ralph and Isaac Ratcliffe.
    Early in the second, Alexey Toropchenko scored for the Storm to give the visitors a 3-1 edge. Sasha Chmelevski replied for the 67’s just under three minute later to cut the Storm lead to 3-2.
    Nate Schnarr tallied for the Storm to give the visitors a 4-2 edge heading into the second intermission.
    Felhaber scored his second of the contest in the third for the 67’s to cut the Storm lead to 4-3, but the host side couldn’t find the equalizer.
    Anthony Popovich turned away 28 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Storm. Cedrick turned away 25 shots to take the setback 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.
    The Memorial Cup tournament for the CHL title runs from May 17 to 26 in Halifax, N.S.

Huskies hold 3-2 edge in QMJHL final over Mooseheads

    The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies will try to close out the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Championship series on Saturday to capture their second league title in the last four years.
    The Huskies took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series downing the Halifax Mooseheads 6-3 in Game 5 on Thursday before 3,428 spectators at Arena Iamgold in Rouyn-Noranda. Game 6 of the series is set for Saturday in Halifax.
    Game 5 contained some big momentum swings. The Huskies took a 4-0 lead in the first period, but the Mooseheads cut the gap to 4-2 heading into the first intermission.
    Halifax scored early in the third to trim the Huskies lead to 4-3. The Huskies sealed victory scoring two empty-net goals inside of the final minute of the third period.
    Rafael Harvey-Pinard netted a hat trick for the Huskies, which included the two empty-net goals. Peter Abbandonato, Jakub Lauko and William Cyr scored singles for Rouyn-Noranda.
    Arnaud Durandeau, Raphael Lavoie and Samuel Asselin replied with singles for the Mooseheads.
Samuel Harvey turned away 18 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Huskies, who last won the QMJHL title in 2016. Alexis Gravel turned away 39 of 43 shots to take the setback in goal for the Mooseheads.
    As Halifax is playing host to the Memorial Cup from May 17 to 26, both clubs already have berths locked up in the CHL championship tournament.

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