Seventh heaven or season over for Giants?

Winner-take-all game to see whether Vancouver or Victoria advances to WHL semifinals

Game seven, the playoffs.

This is what every young hockey player dreams of.

And that is what faces the Vancouver Giants and the Victoria Royals when the puck drops tonight (Tuesday, April 3) at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

The Giants, making their first foray into the WHL playoffs in four seasons, had ample opportunity to end the series — and advance to the second round for the first since 2010 — on Monday afternoon in game six, but were thwarted by goaltender Griffen Outhouse’s 40-save performance.

The Royals were outshot 43-20 but prevailed 4-3 in overtime thanks in large part to captain Matthew Phillips, as the Calgary Flames draft pick scored twice and set up Dante Hannoun and Noah Gregor for the other two goals.

The Giants were led by their captain, Edmonton Oilers draft pick Tyler Benson, who scored twice on six shots while Ty Ronning, property of the New York Rangers, had the other Giants goal and led all players with nine shots on goal.

But all of that is out the window now as it comes down to one game to see which of the two B.C. Division rivals will host the Tri-City Americans in the WHL semifinals.

Vancouver entered the series with just 76 games of playoff experience while Victoria countered with a combined 336 games.

And when it comes to game seven experience, two Giants have experience — defenceman Brennan Riddle played in two deciding games last year, winning both— while forward Jared Dmytriw was on the losing end of a game seven in 2016.

Dmytriw was with the Royals, in fact, alongside seven current members of the Victoria squad — Phillips, Hannoun, Chaz Reddekopp, Ralph Jarratt, Scott Walford, Tyler Soy and Outhouse, who was the team’s back-up goaltender.

The Royals lost that game 3-2 in overtime to Kelowna.

Jared Freadrich, Lane Zablocki and Jeff de Wit also have game seven experience from before they joined the Royals.

Through the first six games of this series, the road team has won four times and game six marked both the first overtime game of the series, and the first time the team which scored first did not win.

Five-on-five, the Giants have outscored Victoria 20-14 but when it comes to special teams, the Royals hold a distinct edge, scoring seven power-play goals in 29 chances compared to Vancouver’s 2-for-18, which puts them dead last among all 16 playoff teams in power play percentage.

Vancouver has the more well-rounded offence with a dozen players finding the back of the net, while seven have multiple goals in the series.

Benson, Milos Roman and defenceman Bowen Byram have three goals apiece.

Victoria’s offence has been top heavy with four players — Phillips, Hannoun, Gregor and Soy — accounting for 64 per cent of the team’s goals. Soy only played game four before he was injured again.

Phillips (four goals, 13 points), Hannoun (three goals, 10 points) and Gregor (four goals, nine points) have done the majority of Victoria’s heavy-lifting at that end of the ice.

In goal, Outhouse stole game six and for the series, has an .897 save percentage. Dean McNabb played the final 2:50 of game four, stopping three of four shots.

At the other end of the ice, David Tendeck and Trent Miner have combined for an .885 save percentage.

Miner was sensational in game one, stopping 40 of 41 pucks, while Tendeck was great in game three with a 35-save performance.

But eliminate those two games from the equation, and the Vancouver netminders have a .821 save percentage.



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Police dog helps apprehend ‘prolific’ property crime offender near Surrey, Langley border

Douglas Holmes, 47, has been charged with break and enter of a business on the Langley Bypass

VIDEO: Crooks use truck, sledgehammer to break into Langley stores

Thieves have hit two Brookswood stores in commercial burglaries in the last month.

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

B.C. Sports Hall of Fame to give Giants owner Ron Toigo W.A.C. Bennett Award

Head of Langley-based team has been involved with junior hockey since the 1990s

Church invites all faiths to a labyrinth walk

The labyrinth at St. Dunstan’s church is inviting everyone to an interfaith gathering on Nov. 18.

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

5 to start your day

A choice on light rail versus SkyTrain for Surrey, a Chilliwack teacher suspended for touching a colleague’s buttocks and more

Most Read