The Vancouver Giants are heading to the playoffs for the second straight year.
With their win tonight, the Giants secured their spot in the postseason! pic.twitter.com/blKlkWHOsS
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) February 11, 2019
The Giants (37-13-2-1) won their fifth straight game Sunday afternoon, defeating the Prince George Cougars (16-32-4-2) by a score of 4-1. The game marked the last meeting of the season between the two teams and their fourth in eight days. Their 37 wins already matches their total from last season with 15 games still remaining.
Vancouver got off to a bit of a slow start to the game, having taken two penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game, with the Cougars capitalizing at the 9:00 mark of the first. Ethan Browne took a good bounce off the end boards and beat David Tendeck to open the scoring and give the Cougars the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The home team wasted no time evening things up, taking just 42 seconds into the second frame for captain Jared Dmytriw to tie the game off an inadvertent pass from Jadon Joseph. The Cougars were hanging in there for the first 40 minutes, desperately trying to get their first win since January 12, outshooting the Giants 25-20 after two periods.
The third period gave fans the majority of their entertainment, with the Giants exploding for three goals. The scoring started at the 7:06 mark on the power play with Davis Koch taking a Bowen Byram pass and ripping a snapshot from the left wing circle over Taylor Gauthier’s glove. That shot left the people at the Langley Events Centre in awe for what ended up being the game winning goal. Just over four minutes later, Davis Koch caused a turnover on the forecheck before making a no-look feed to Justin Sourdif, who scored on his own rebound for his 15th of the year to continue his great rookie season as a 16-year-old. Tristen Nielsen rounded out the scoring with the WHL’s highlight of the night:
— The WHL (@TheWHL) February 11, 2019
Things got a little ugly for the Giants at the 13:48 mark when Bowen Byram received a five minute major for a check to the head and a game misconduct for his hit on Cougars forward Mitchell Kohner. The hit caused a crowd with Alex Kannok-Leipert and Austin Crossley coming out of it with a scrap. Crossley was given an additional two minutes for instigating and a game misconduct. Byram has no previous suspension history but surely the league will be taking a look at the major.
Vancouver's Bowen Byram handed a 5 minute major and GM for this hit on Prince George's Mitch Kohner. pic.twitter.com/u8RoPpRyBb
— Brandon Rivers (@BriversWHL) February 11, 2019
- The Giants are heading to the playoffs in back to back seasons for the first time since 2011-12.
- They sit just one point behind the Everett Silvertips for top spot in the Western Conference with both teams having 15 games remaining.
- Forward Brayden Watts was injured in the first couple minutes of the game and did not return with what looked to possibly be a shoulder injury after taking the worst of a reverse body check.
- Vancouver is 8-1-0-1 in their last ten and have won 14 of their past 16 games.
- The Giants now have a whopping 20 point lead over second place Victoria in the BC Division.
- The team plays three games in four nights, hosting Spokane (29-17-2-4) on Friday then making the trip up to Kelowna to face the division rival Rockets (23-26-4-1) and then back home on Monday for an afternoon game against Portland (33-16-3-3).