Vancouver Giants vs Prince George, WHL action at Langley Events Centre Jan. 1 Giants’ Jared Dmytriw Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Giants add experience for playoff push

Trio of new Vancouver players have 59 games of post-season experience compared to 17 among rest of the roster

With the playoffs seeming more and more likely with each passing game, the Vancouver Giants have added some much-needed post-season experience to their roster.

The Giants were involved in four transactions this week ahead of the Western Hockey League trade deadline on Jan. 10, with two of the moves bolstering the team for the immediate future.

Defenceman Brennan Riddle from Lethbridge and forward Davis Koch from Edmonton joined the team with Vancouver shipping out forwards Brad Morrison and Brendan Semchuk and back-up goaltender Todd Scott. Draft picks were also involved.

Koch’s offence (18 goals, 39 points) replaces Morrison’s 11 goals and 35 points, while Semchuk had eight goals and 19 points in 39 games but had not played since last month after leaving the team.

Combine those moves with the acquisition of forward Jared Dmytriw back in November, and the three new Giants have a combined 59 games of post-season experience. By comparison, the only other four Vancouver players on the roster who have played in the WHL playoffs have a combined 17 games under their belts.

And while they may not be able to sustain their current level of success — they are 14-2-2-0 since late November, an .833 winning percentage — the Giants seem destined for the WHL playoffs for the first time in four seasons.

The Giants sit at 24-14-4-2 after wrapping up a 4-0-1-0 road trip with a 5-1 win and a 4-3 overtime loss earlier this week with both games against the Prince George Cougars. Vancouver’s 54 points have them one back of the Kelowna Rockets for the B.C. Division lead.

With 28 games remaining in the regular season, the Giants have a 15-point cushion for a playoff spot and Vancouver is on pace for 88 points, so barring an epic collapse, the team should experience some spring hockey.

Koch has played in 11 playoff games and Riddle has suited up in 20, reaching the Eastern Conference finals last year.

Dmytriw has the most post-season experience of the trio, having reached the post-season in all three of his WHL seasons and playing in a combined 26 games.

“The games tighten up, they get a lot heavier,” Dmytriw described earlier this month, prior to the team heading out on their five-game road trip. “A good testament to that was our game in Everett (on Dec. 29).

“Right off the puck drop, guys were hitting the ice. Games get tough and you have to step up.”

Dmytriw was acquired from Red Deer, but he spent his first three seasons in the league with the Victoria Royals.

“We have liked him for a while,” said Vancouver coach Jason McKee, adding he felt the versatile winger was under the radar during his time as a Royal.

“He knows what he is doing in all three zones and his brain goes the same speed as his feet.”

McKee also raved about Dmytriw’s versatility and the intangibles he brings.

“He was a perfect fit for what we needed,” the coach said. “He knows how to win hockey games and for the second half of the year, those are the guys you are really going to lean on.”

New back-up goaltender, prospect defenceman

With David Tendeck’s game taking a big leap and establishing himself as the team’s clear-cut No. 1 goaltender, that made Scott expendable. To replace the back-up goalie, Vancouver called up Trent Miner, a first round pick (20th) overall in the 2016 WHL bantam draft.

In 30 games this season with the Brandon Wheat Kings midget AAA team, Miner is 17-3-0-0 with a .941 save percentage and a 1.64 goals against average.

Vancouver also acquired the rights to Joel Sexsmith, the ninth overall selection in the 2017 bantam draft.

The Swift Current Broncos receive the Giants first round pick in the 2018 draft. Sexsmith remains unsigned.

The Giants also traded away Austin King-Cunningham to Tri-City for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

Cholowski on the move

Langley’s Dennis Cholowski will finish his WHL season with the Portland Winterhawks after Prince George shipped out their captain. Cholowski was the centrepiece of the trade which fetched the Cougars two players, a first, two seconds, a third and a conditional sixth round draft pick.



[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Jared Dmytriw. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

Students from 5 Abbotsford schools deliver treats to first responders

Kids thank paramedics, ER staff and firefighters for their service

Abbotsford hockey talent named to Team BC

Local products Chiasson and Sward heading to Canada Winter Games

Cannabis derivative, tobacco and Krazy Glue seized at Abbotsford prison

Items discovered at Pacific Institution have combined jail value of $10,500

Abbotsford house prices down 5 to 10% over last four months

Fewer sales, more houses on market as local home prices start to dip

Abbotsford dietitian releases book about ‘feeding the brain’

Rika Mansingh addresses mind-body connection

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Vancouver Whitecaps lose Kei Kamara, protect 11 players from expansion draft

The club added two goalies, a winger and a midfielder during Major League Soccer’s half-day trade window

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read