The series to sip from the Ed Chynoweth Cup as champions of the WHL switches to Langley, B.C. as the Vancouver Giants are now the host team for Games three through five.
Let’s take a quick look at what happened in Game 1 and 2.
Game 1 saw the Vancouver Giants score early and often, outlasting the also high-powered offense of the Prince Albert Raiders. Four different Giants had goals, Dawson Holt supplied two of them, including the eventual game winning goal. Bowen Byram assisted on four of the five goals scored by the Giants.
For the Raiders, they also had four different goal scorers including Jeremy Masella‘s first of the playoffs. Ian Scott was not his characteristically great netminder in this game, allowing five goals on 26 shots.
The second game result certainly showed that Scott does not take two nights off in-a-row. He backstopped the team to a 4-0 victory and earned the split heading to Langley. The defense for the Raiders was also formidable, allowing just 15 shots on net through 60 minutes.
Four different players scored again for the Raiders, Noah Gregor, Dante Hannoun, Brett Leason and Sergei Sapego all lit the lamp behind David Tendeck.
Now it is on to Game 3, with the host Giants looking to get themselves back on the winning side of the track. The team has lost only once on home ice in the playoffs way back in the first round against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Thus far, the Giants have also turned prior losses into wins the very next game.
On the other side of the ice, the Raiders are 5-3 on the road, with losses coming in Edmonton and Saskatoon. They were much better on the road in the regular season going 26-6-0-2.
Both teams rely on a balanced attack, good defense and solid goaltending. Vancouver will need to find a way to spark the offense again like they did in Game 1 to have the home town fans cheering early and often.
Prince Albert on the other hand needs to limit the Giants attack in the early stages and try to keep the crowd at the Langley Events Centre out of it. Silencing the loud crowd will be key as they will now play the next three games in Langley. If necessary the series will switch back to Prince Albert for games six and seven.
Both team’s defense need to continue to limit the chances the other team creates. Keeping sticks in lanes, making tight crisp passes and finishing checks will be keys for both the Raiders and Giants in tonight’s contest.