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PREVIEW: Vancouver Giants vs. Spokane Chiefs (Game #1)

Chris Relke

Tonight, the Langley Events Centre is set to host its largest hockey crowd of the season when the Vancouver Giants and Spokane Chiefs take the ice for Game #1 of the WHL’s Western Conference Championship Series. The Giants have won six consecutive playoff games and are hoping to use home ice to their advantage as they run into a Spokane Chiefs foe who has made short work of both the Portland Winterhawks and the Everett Silvertips on their way to this series. Both teams are healthy and both teams will be amped to get things going tonight in the Lower Mainland.

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 SPOKANE CHIEFS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Dan Lambert

Record: 8-2

Road Record: 4-0

Last Game: A 2-1 victory in Everett last Saturday night to clinch their second-round series win.

Goals For/Goals Against: 36 GF/25 GA (+11)

Power Play: 12/25 – 48% (1st in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 24/28 – 85.7% (2nd in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Riley Woods (10GP – 6G – 5A – 11PTS), Jarret Anderson-Dolan (10G – 3G – 7A – 10PTS), Adam Beckman (10GP – 5G – 4A – 9PTS)

BAIL’ING THEM OUT:

It has been quite a post-season so far for 1999-born goaltender Bailey Brkin. He’s played every second of hockey so far for the Spokane Chiefs and has posted an 8-2 record with a 2.36 goals-against-average, and an .931 save percentage. He was 4-1 against Everett with a staggering .942 save percentage. For his efforts he was named the second star of the Round #2. During the regular season he was 1-1 against the Giants posting a .915 save percentage and a 3.03 goals-against-average.

 MR. SMITH GOES TO VANCOUVER:

The Vancouver Giants are about to get a steady dose of Ty Smith. Smith hails from Lloydminster, AB and was the first overall selection in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft. So far in 10 playoff games in 2019, Smith has registered one goal and seven assists for eight points. During the regular season, Smith finished with seven goals and 62 assists for 69 points which ranked him fourth in league scoring among blueliners. For his efforts, Smith was named Western Conference defenceman of the year and will find out on May 1st whether he’ll receive WHL Defenceman of the Year honours. Smith was selected 17th overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2018 NHL Draft making him the first WHL player selected to the NHL that season. In four regular season games against the Giants in 2018-19 Smith posted four assists for four points. He represented Team Canada during the 2018-19 World Juniors in Vancouver.

SPOKANE NOTES:

  • Luc Smith led all Chiefs with seven points against the Giants during the regular season. He had six goals and one assist against them.Two of those games were played as a member of the Kamloops Blazers. Smith has 20 points in 18 games against the Giants dating back to the 2016-17 season.
  • Defenceman Noah King played in 26 games last season in the playoffs with the Swift Current Broncos.
  • 11 different skaters have scored a goal and 17 different Chiefs have secured at least one point so far in the playoffs.
  • Luke Toporowski and Adam Beckman both cracked NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings. Beckman was 34th and Toporowski was 100th.

 

 

VANCOUVER GIANTS

 OVERVIEW:

Head Coach: Michael Dyck

Record: 8-2

Home Record: 5-1

Road Record: 3-1

Last Game: A 6-1 victory in Victoria on Thursday, April 11th to clinch the series in four games.

Goals For/Goals Against: 41 GF/22 GA (+19)

Power Play: 11/33 – 33.3% (2nd in WHL)

Penalty Kill: 28/37 – 75.7% (11th in WHL)

Leading Scorers: Davis Koch (10GP – 2G – 12A – 14PTS), Bowen Byram (10GP – 4G – 9A – 13PTS), Tristen Nielsen (10GP – 3G – 7A – 10PTS)

CAPTAIN CLUTCH:

Vancouver Giants captain Jared Dmytriw is playing arguably the best hockey of his entire WHL career. The 1998-born forward from Craven, SK is coming off a series where he scored three times and added three assists for six points in the Giants 4-0 series sweep of the Victoria Royals. Dating back to Game 6 of Round 1 against Seattle, Dmytriw has notched four goals and three assists for seven points over the course of his past five games, all of which have been Giants victories. Through 10 playoff games, the Vancouver Giants captain has struck for four goals and five assists for nine points and is a +7 rating with 10 penalty minutes. During the regular season, Dmytriw led all Giants in scoring against the Spokane Chiefs with two goals and three assists for five points through four games. Dmytriw and his linemates Owen Hardy and Dawson Holt all featured prominently in the previous series and will once again look to do the same as they go up against the high-flying Chiefs.

BYRAM, MINER MAKE THE LIST:

Coming in at #2 for North American skaters on the NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings List was Giants d-man Bowen Byram. The Cranbrook product finished second in team scoring with 26 goals and 71 points in 67 games.  Byram led the entire WHL in overtime goals with six. Also cracking the list was Giants goalie, Trent Miner who was ranked at #6 among North American goaltenders. Miner had the WHL’s third best goals-against-average (1.98) and the league’s third best save percentage (.924). He earned three shutouts this season and posted an overall record of 23-5-1-1. Byram leads all WHL defencemen in playoff scoring with 13 points while Trent Miner is 4-1 in the post-season with a .915 save percentage and a 1.98 goals-against-average.

GIANTS NOTES:

  • The Giants power play has scored in all but one of their games so far in the playoffs.
  • Davis Koch brings a five-game point streak into this series. During that streak he’s got one goal and six assists for seven points. He leads all Giants with a +11 rating.
  • Dallas Hines has three goals in the playoffs – Two have been game-winners, the other was the insurance-marker of Game 4 in Round 2.
  • The Giants have outshot their opponent in eight of their first 10 games in the playoffs by an average of 36.7 to 22.5.
  • When the Giants score first in the playoffs they are 7-1.
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