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Giants knocked out of playoffs, wrap season

Despite loss to Silvertips Sunday, G-Men netminder Brett Mirwald being commended for great season

The 2023-24 season has officially wrapped up for the Vancouver Giants.

The Western Hockey League (WHL) team based in Langley is out of contention, after falling to the Silvertips 5-0 in Everett Sunday afternoon, in Game 5 of the opening round playoff series.

Once again, the Silvertips out shot Vancouver by a significant number – close to double shots on goal (49-25). But despite the lauded efforts of Giants netminder Brett Mirwald to keep the puck at bay, this weekend’s loss proved the deciding game.

The G-Men lost the series 4-1, and the Giants season is now over.

Everett’s goals were made by Parker Berge, Ben Hemmerling, Cade Zaplitny, Dominik Rymon, and Julius Miettinen.

Berge scored the only goal of the first period, firing a quick wrist shot from the point on the power play that changed direction on its way through to break the ice.

Just 1:10 into the second period, Everett doubled their lead on another power play goal, this time when Hemmerling put home his own rebound to make it 2-0.

With under four minutes remaining in the middle frame, Zaplitny tipped a point shot from Niko Tsakumis to extend the home side’s lead to 3-0.

After 40 minutes, the Silvertips were out-shooting Vancouver 37-16.

Rymon and Miettinen each scored a goal early in the third period four minutes apart to make it 5-0, which stood up as the final score.

While the Silvertips goalie Tyler Palmer managed to stop all 25 shots on goal Sunday, and earned the third star of the game title, Vancouver Giants are still commending their netminder for his efforts in this and other games throughout the season.

In this game, Mirwald stopped 44 of 49 shots on goal, meaning he finished the five-game series with 220 saves on 238 shots, for a .924 save percentage, and an average of 44 saves per game.

But it wasn’t just his playoff performance earning the 6-foot-1 netminder praise.

Western Hockey League announced last Thursday morning that the Vancouver Giants athlete was named the WHL B.C. division goaltender of the year and a finalist for the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy – presented annually to the WHL’s top goaltender.

All individual WHL division award winners will be eligible for the 2024 WHL awards, which will be announced from Tuesday, April 30, through Thursday, May 9.

Mirwald had an unforgettable season, according to the WHL.

He was named the WHL goaltender of the week five times and finished the season ranked first in the entire WHL in saves (1,723) and first in minutes played (3,190).

READ MORE: Once again, Vancouver Giants’ Brett Mirwald is named WHL goaltender of the week

He was tied for third in wins (29) and tied for third in save percentage (.913).

According to Giants management, he was the biggest reason the Giants were able to secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference, logging a record of 29-22-3-0 in 55 appearances.

According to SportLogiq, the Saskatoon, Sask. product was first in the WHL in goals saved above expected (37.3) in the regular season, well above the second-ranked Harrison Meneghin.

Internally, Mirwald was named the Giants MVP at the annual year-end awards, and was far and away the winner of the three stars of the year award, finishing 2023-24 with nine first star selections, five second star selections, and six third star selections.

The 20-year-old recorded 30 or more saves in a game 33 separate times this season and had 40 or more saves on 10 different occasions.

Mirwald played in his 100th career regular season game to finish off the year on March 23 against Kelowna. In 81 career games with the G-Men, Mirwald’s .912 SV% is the third-best in franchise history amongst goalies who have played at least 50 games.

Mirwald was selected by Moose Jaw in the seventh round, 154th overall, in the 2018 WHL prospects draft before being acquired by Vancouver prior to the 2021-22 season – in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2026.

Former Giants netminder Jesper Vikman, who is currently with the Henderson Silver Knights, was named the WHL B.C. division goaltender of the year last season.

The other nominees for the 2023-24 WHL goaltender of the year are:

Central division – Harrison Meneghin (South Surrey), Lethbridge Hurricanes

East division – Jackson Unger (Calgary, Alta.), Moose Jaw Warriors

U.S. division – Jan Spunar (Olomouc, Czechia), Portland Winterhawks.

RECENT: Giants count on win Sunday night in Everett to stay in series


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