March 15, 2009 - Western Hockey League (WHL) - Vancouver Giants
VANCOUVER BC - The Vancouver Giants wrapped up their most successful regular season in team history on Saturday night, scoring four times in the first period and cruising to a 6-0 victory over their first round playoff opponents, The Prince George Cougars, at the Rink on Renfrew.
Evander Kane, James Wright, Casey Pierro-Zabotel and James Henry potted first period tallies to put the Giants ahead 4-0 late in the first period. Mikhail Fisenko then added insult ot injury by levelling WHL fighting leader Tyler Halliday with a devastating open ice check. Halliday chased down Fisenko and was about to start a fight against the seldom fighting Fisenko when Giants teammate James Henry stepped in and stuck up for his teammate, fighting Halliday and touching off a line brawl involving four players from each team. six players, including Mike Berube, Brendan Gallagher and Misha Fisenko from the Giants, were tossed from the game as a result of their fights being secondary to the Henry-Halliday tilt.
Garry Nunn would add the lone marker in the second period while Nick Ross would round out the scoring with a power play goal in the final minute to complete the scoring.
Jamie Tucker started his last game of the regular season and the Giants Rookie of the Year candidate scored his sixth shutout of the year, making 23 saves for his 18th victory of the season. In fact, Tucker's 1.51 Goals Against Average and .936 save percentage would rank him first among the league leaders if he had played enough games. Tucker is excited to be going to the playoffs and looks forward to supporting Tyson Sexsmith as Sexsmith gets ready to lead the Giants in net in the post season. "We are all excited to be entering the playoffs," Tucker tells STEVE EWEN from the PROVINCE. "We know that with Tyson's experience in goal, that we have a chance to go a long way in the playoffs."
OFF TO THE PLAYOFFS! The 'Road to Rimouski' begins next week as the 2009 WHL Playoffs begin. Vancouver will face the #8 seed Prince George Cougars in Round One of the KAL TIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE Playoffs, and you can catch all of the WHITE SPOT GIANTS HOCKEY action on AM 650. Brook Ward will host the pregame show at 7 pm, while Dave Sheldon and Jay Janower of GLOBAL TV will supply the call of every minute of the opening game of the 2009 WHL PLAYOFFS!
The Giants were also handing out hardware and prizes on Saturday night, as HONDA FAN APPRECIATION DAY and the GIANTS PLAYER AWARDS also took place. One lucky fan walked away with a 2009 HONDA FIT, while others walked away with great prizes, including a Flat Screen TV, Blu-Ray Disk Player and other fabulous gifts.
Among the Giants award winners were:
Jonathon Blum and Casey Pierro-Zabotel: Team MVP
Jonathon Blum: Top Defenseman
Neil Manning: Scholastic Player of the Year
Jamie Tucker: Top Rookie
Craig Cunningham and Mike Berube: Humanitarian Award Winners
Garry Nunn: Most Improved Player
Jonathon Blum: Most Sportsmanlike Player
Lance Bouma: Most Inspirational Player
Craig Schira, Mike Berube and Casey Pierro Zabotel: Departing 20 year old