Vancouver Giants are one step closer to the Western Hockey League finals.
They were enjoying the sweet taste of victory Thursday night, after winning the fourth-straight game in their best-of-seven western conference semifinal series against the Victoria Royals.
In Game 4 of this series, they downed Victoria 6-1 – almost shutting the Royals out in that game, and in fact shutting them out in the semifinal/Round 2 series.
Captain Jared Dmytriw led the Giants with a goal and two assists while Bowen Byram, Lukas Svejkovsky, Owen Hardy and Dallas Hines also registered goals.
Goaltender David Tendeck stopped 17 of the 18 shots fired his way in the Giants net.
D-Jay Jerome had the lone goal for the Royals, while Griffen Outhouse stopped 27 shots for Victoria in his final WHL game.
Ahead of Thursday’s game, head coach Michael Dyck said he didn’t want his team getting “too comfortable.”
“I like the word confidence more than comfortable. I think if we get comfortable, we get sloppy,” he said.
Heading into the game, Dyck said “nothing changes” with how they’re going to play.
“The way we’ve prepared and executed all 2019 long… we’ve gotta play fast, we’ve gotta play heavy, and we’ve gotta play smart,” he said.
With the series sweep under their belt, the G-Men now advance to the conference finals – where they will take on either Spokane or Everett – that’s still to be determined. But with a three-game advantage for Spokane, it’s looking their newest contenders will be the Chiefs.
In the WHL’s Eastern Conference, the Edmonton Oil Kings have already advanced to that conference final, where they will square offf against either the Saskatoon Blades or Prince Albert Raiders.
The two conference championship will then play for the WHL title.
While the ‘who’ component of this equation is still up in the air, the when and where are already know.
The Giants will be playing Game 1 of the final series next Friday, April 19 – more than a week from now – on home ice at the Langley Events Centre. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Then, Game 2 of the final series will also be in Langley at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 20.
VAN – Lukas (3) got the Giants offense started at 10:04 when he deflected a Seth Bafaro point shot past Griffen Outhouse. Davis Koch also assisted on the play.
VAN – Bowen Byram (4) then got in on the act at 16:19 when he ripped a shot under the arm of Griffen Outhouse and home from the right-wing circle. Brayden Watts and Justin Sourdif earned assists on the eventual game-winning goal.
VAN – 18 seconds later Dallas Hines extended the Giants lead to 3-0 when he potted his third goal of the playoffs. Jadon Joseph and Milos Roman drew the assists.
Shots: 15-7 Vancouver
VAN – Owen Hardy (3) extended Vancouver’s lead to 4-0 at 9:39 off the rush when he re-directed home a Jared Dmytriw feed from the left-wing. Dawson Holt notched the second assist.
VIC – D-Jay Jerome recorded the lone goal of the game for Victoria at 11:58. His second goal of the series came courtesy of Logan Doust and Jameson Murray.
Shots: 13-7 Vancouver
VAN – Brayden Watts made it 5-0 Vancouver at 8:03 when his shot from the high-slot had just enough zip on it to cross the goal line. Jared Dmytriw recorded the lone assist on the play to notch his second point on the night.
VAN – Jared Dmytriw capped off a terrific series with a goal at 12:47 on a power play. His fourth goal of the playoffs was assisted by both Tristen Nielsen and Lukas Svejkovsky.
Shots: 5-4 Vancouver
BY THE NUMBERS
• Final score: Vancouver 6 – Victoria 1
• Final shots: 33-18 Vancouver
• David Tendeck: 17/18 saves for Vancouver (4-1)
• Griffen Outhouse: 27/33 saves for Victoria (4-6)
• Vancouver: 1/1 on the power play
• Victoria: 0/1 on the power play
• Vancouver Giants have advanced to the Western Conference finals for the fifth time in their 18-year history.
• This year visit to the finals will mark the first time since 2010.
• The Giants are 2-2 over the course of their four previous visits to the Conference final.
• Dmytriw finished Round 2 with three goals and three assists for six points in four games against his former team. He was also a +6 and finished the series with 16 shots on goal.
• Byram finished Round 2 with a goal and four assists for five points. He sits second in WHL playoff scoring with 13 points.
• Koch, a Giants forward, continues to lead the playoffs in outright scoring with 14 points (2G, 12A) through 10 games.
• The Giants will either face the Spokane Chiefs or Everett Silvertips in the Western Conference final. The Spokane Chiefs currently lead the Silvertips 3-0 in that series. Game 4 goes tomorrow night from Spokane, Wash.
• Thursday’s game marked the final WHL game for Victoria Royals over-agers Ralph Jarratt and Griffen Outhouse. Victoria’s third over-ager Kody McDonald did not play due to a suspension.
• 3 Stars: Bowen Byram, Lukas Svelkovsky, Jared Dmytriw
— The WHL (@TheWHL) April 12, 2019