Border battle ensues as Giants & T-Birds meet to open 2019 #WHLPlayoffs

Brian Liesse


The Vancouver Giants and Seattle Thunderbirds will meet to open the 2019 WHL Playoffs.

With a 2-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets, the Giants secured the top seed in the WHL’s Western Conference, setting up for a cross-border clash with the Seattle Thunderbirds when the 2019 WHL Playoffs begin on Friday, March 22.

The Thunderbirds secured their place in the 2019 WHL Playoffs by locking down the second wild-card position just this week after defeating the Tri-City Americans by a 6-5 margin in overtime on Wednesday, March 14.

The four-game season series between the Giants and Thunderbirds was split down the middle. The Thunderbirds claimed the first two games of the series, taking a 3-1 win back on September 28, 2018 and a 5-1 triumph on October 27, 2018. The Giants can proclaim themselves as winners of two straight against Seattle, having earned a 4-2 victory on November 21, 2018 and, most recently, a 5-1 win on March 12.

Interestingly enough, the road team won every game through the course of the season series.

Veteran forward Davis Koch leads the entire season series in scoring, registering five assists through four games on behalf of the Giants. On the flip side, Matthew Wedman posted four points (3G-1A) in four games to help push Seattle along.

Sophomore goaltender Trent Miner owns the best numbers among Giants goaltenders in the head-to-head, with one win in two appearances, a 1.92 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. His running mate David Tendeck went 1-2-0-0 with a 2.90 GAA and .910 SV% – respectable numbers as well.

In the Seattle crease, former Thunderbirds netminder Liam Hughes was the goaltender of record in three contests (2-1-0-0, 2.03 GAA, .948 SV%) before he was dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Since then, Roddy Ross and Cole Schwebius split the only other outing, with Ross taking the loss as he surrendered five goals over two periods of play before Schwebius came on in relief.

The Giants put a bow on their 2018-19 WHL Regular Season when they visit the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. PT. The Thunderbirds have two games remaining on their slate – a Saturday night home date against the Portland Winterhawks (6:05 p.m. PT) followed by a Sunday afternoon matinee back in Portland (5 p.m. PT).

The Langley Events Centre in Vancouver will play host to Game 1 of the opening round series between the Giants and Thunderbirds, with puck drop set for 7:30 p.m. PT on Friday, March 22. The series will head south of the border for Game 3 on Tuesday, March 26 (7:05 p.m. PT) at the accesso Showare Center in Seattle.

Game Visitor Home Date Time
1 Seattle @ Vancouver Friday, March 22 7:30
2 Seattle @ Vancouver Saturday, March 23 7:00
3 Vancouver @ Seattle Tuesday, March 26 7:05
4 Vancouver @ Seattle Wednesday, March 27 7:05
5 * Seattle @ Vancouver Friday, March 29 7:30
6 * Vancouver @ Seattle Saturday, March 30 6:05
7 * Seattle @ Vancouver Tuesday, April 2 7:00

* = if necessary

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