Giants take Game 1 of the playoff series with the Chiefs by the score of 4-1 Friday night on home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The two teams are back there again Saturday night. (Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)

VIDEO: Giants draw first blood in Western Conference championships

In Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between Vancouver and Spokane, the G-Men emerged triumphant

In front of the largest home crowd of the season (4,917) Friday night, the Vancouver Giants earned their seventh consecutive victory in the 2019 WHL playoffs.

Friday night at the Langley Events Centre (LEC), the G-Men beat the Spokane Chiefs.

The best way to combat a lethal power play that is scoring on nearly half their man-advantage chances? Don’t give the other team opportunities.

And while the Vancouver Giants didn’t quite play penalty free, they did limit the Chiefs to just two power-play chances in game one of the WHL’s Western Conference Championship best-of-seven series on Friday night at LEC in front of a capacity crowd – the biggest audience in the team’s three seasons at the facility.

And the crowd went home happy as Vancouver prevailed 4-1 to take the early 1-0 series lead.

The Chiefs entered the series connecting on 48 per cent of their chances, but Vancouver only allowed two man-advantage chances (the second of those came with 80 seconds to play and the Giants up by three.

“The whole key for us is walking that line between being physical and playing intense and playing on our toes and not crossing the line and taking stupid penalties,” said Giants coach Michael Dyck.

“There are some penalties that you can’t avoid but I thought we did a good job of not taking and hooking penalties or offensive zone penalties,” he added. “We were physical, but we were smart.”

While Spokane entered the game with the No. 1 ranked power play and second-best penalty kill (85.7 per cent), it was the Giants man-advantage which opened the scoring.

Clicking at an impressive 33.3 per cent success rate (second among the 16 playoff teams), Lukas Svejkovsky opened the scoring at the 6:25 mark, firing a shot through traffic to beat Spokane goaltender Bailey Brkin high and to the blocker side.

Less than two minutes later, the score was 2-0 with Owen Hardy winning a battle for the puck on the forecheck and after Brkin stopped his chance, Dawson Holt found the rebound and scored on the back-hand.

Vancouver made it 3-0 less than a minute into the middle frame. Jared Dmytriw’s pass sprung Holt and Hardy on a two-on-one with Holt sliding the puck across to Hardy and the rugged winger scoring his fourth in the past three games.

Spokane got on the board at 5:30 of the second period as the puck took a weird bounce off the end boards and Adam Beckman took advantage, rifling home a shot into the empty net before Tendeck could get back in goal.

The lone goal of the final frame was an empty-net marker from Bowen Byram.

“Outside of a bad bounce, he was near perfect,” Dyck said of his goaltender.

“He bailed us out a few times when Spokane got the momentum.”

And with stellar goaltending and superior special teams, the other key factor was the Giants shutdown trio of Dmytriw, Holt and Hardy who spent much of the night matched up against the Spokane trio of Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Luke Toporowski and Eli Zummack.

The Chiefs big three entered the game with a combined 11 goals and 25 points through the opening two rounds. But on this night, it was the Giants trio who held their opponents off the scoresheet while registering two goals and four assists and finishing a combined +8.

“They do such a good job on the forecheck. They were physical, they did a good job of playing against Anderson-Dolan who has been the catalyst for that team,” Dyck said of his line.

“We don’t even look at as being a shutdown line. We don’t care who we are against, we just want to go outwork them to the best of our ability,” said Hardy, who was the game’s second star with a goal and two assists.

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

Game two of the series goes Saturday night again at Langley Events Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.

WATCH MORE HIGHLIGHTS

BOX SCORE

1st Period:

VAN – Lukas Svejkovsky (4) got the Giants on the board with a power play marker at 6:25. His shot from the top of the right-wing circle made its way through traffic and past Brkin to put the G-Men on the board. Dylan Plouffe and Tristen Nielsen earned assists.

VAN – Just over two minutes later at 8:37, Dawson Holt (3) padded the Giants lead to 2-0 when he pounced on an Owen Hardy rebound and lifted a backhand shot over Brkin’s stick. Hardy started the play by throwing a hard check on the Spokane defender at the side of the Chiefs goal.

Shots: 11-10 Spokane

2nd Period:

VAN – 57 seconds into the middle frame, Owen Hardy (4) extended his goal-scoring streak to three straight games when he one-timed home a feed from Dawson Holt off the rush. Jared Dmytriw added the second assist to give the Giants a 3-0 cushion.

SPO – The lone goal of the night for Spokane came at 5:30 when they caught a huge break off a dump-in. Ethan McIndoe started the play when he shot the puck into the Giants zone along the right-wing boards. David Tendeck left the net to try and slow the puck down behind the goal, but instead of arriving there, it took an unexpected bounce, deflected off the Giants goal-post and right to Adam Beckman who potted it home for his sixth of the playoffs.

Shots: 12-10 Vancouver

3rd Period:

VAN – Bowen Byram ended all hopes of a Spokane comeback at 18:06 when he placed his fifth of the post-season into the empty net to make it a 4-1 game. Owen Hardy had the lone assist on the goal giving him three points on the night.

Shots: 11-8 Spokane

RECENT COVERAGE: Week’s rest prepares Giants for WHL conference final

.

BY THE NUMBERS

• Final score: Vancouver 4 – Spokane 1

• Final shots: 31-30 Spokane

• David Tendeck: 30/31 saves for Vancouver (6-1)

• Bailey Brkin: 26/29 saves for Spokane (10-3)

• Giants power plays: 1/2

• Chiefs power plays: 0/1

• 3 Stars: 1) David Tendeck (VAN – 30 saves); 2) Owen Hardy (VAN – 1G, 2A); and 3) Jaret Anderson-Dolan (SPO – 2SOG)

• Vancouver Giants have now won seven straight games in the 2019 WHL playoffs.

• Owen Hardy has scored in three consecutive games for the Giants and has four goals and three assists for seven points in that span.

• David Tendeck has surrendered just one goal against in each of his past four starts. He’s now 5-1 in the playoffs with a .923 save percentage and a 1.99 goals-against-average.

• Bowen Byram and Hardy are now tied for the WHL lead in playoff plus-minus with a +12 rating.

WINNING ROUND 1: Giants punch their ticket to Round 2 with playoff win Saturday

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Giants take Game 1 of the playoff series with the Chiefs by the score of 4-1 Friday night on home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The two teams are back there again Saturday night. (Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)

Giants take Game 1 of the playoff series with the Chiefs by the score of 4-1 Friday night on home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The two teams are back there again Saturday night. (Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)

Giants take Game 1 of the playoff series with the Chiefs by the score of 4-1 Friday night on home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The two teams are back there again Saturday night. (Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)

Giants take Game 1 of the playoff series with the Chiefs by the score of 4-1 Friday night on home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The two teams are back there again Saturday night. (Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)

Just Posted

History made in draw 1 of 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championship in Langley

Champion curler Carly Smith is an amputee competing with other able bodied athletes

Critter Care calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Olatoke sets new Spartans record in Edmonton

Langley-based university off to a good start at Golden Bear Open

VIDEO: Newbie Giants helps defeat Victoria 4-1 in Langley Friday

The G-Men play Saturday in Victoria before hosting Kamloops on home ice at LEC on Sunday afternoon

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

VIDEO: Highway 1 left looking like winter war zone with dozens of stranded vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Most Read