Vancouver Giants netminder Brett Mirwald has been named the WHL goaltender of the week – and this isn’t the first time.
In fact, it’s the third time the 20-year-old has snagged the honour this season.
This past weekend, Mirwald went 2-0-0-0 in back-to-back showdowns against Seattle and Wenatchee, putting up a 1.50 goals-against average and .955 save percentage, as Vancouver continues to claw its way up the WHL standings.
The Giants are currently on an eight-game point streak, with a 7-0-1 record during that stretch, and currently sit in sixth place in the western conference, seven points back of Victoria for fifth with two games in hand.
Mirwald, the second-year Giants netminder, held the Seattle Thunderbirds to a single goal in a 3-1 victory on Friday. Mirwald earned first star by turning aside 35 of 36 shots in Kent. It marked the third straight game where he made 35 or more saves.
After allowing two goals in the first period against the Wenatchee Wild the following night, Mirwald slammed the door as the Giants scored seven unanswered to take the win.
In that game, Mirwald stopped 28 of 30, including what was called “a remarkable pad save” on Briley Wood as the Wild alternate captain attempted to tie the game with a powerplay blast from below the faceoff dot.
With the 7-2 decision, Vancouver remains a perfect 6-0-0-0 on home ice at the Langley Events Centre (LEC) in 2024.
The Saskatoon, Sask. product is in the midst of an incredible campaign, with a 21-17-2-0 record, 3.17 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
He has faced the most shots of any WHL goaltender this season (1,448), made the most saves (1,321) and played the second-most minutes (2,404).
His 21 wins rank fifth and his .912 save percentage ranks seventh in the WHL.
Mirwald is 8-1-1 in his last 10 games and has started 10 of Vancouver’s last 12 contests.
SATURDAY: Giants erase early 2-0 deficit to crush Wild 7-2
The trio of Kyren Gronick, Connor Levis, and Cameron Schmidt combined for eight points in a 7-2 come-from-behind win over the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night at home in the LEC.
The Giants are now winners of four straight and are 7-0-1 in their last eight contests.
Vancouver is also back to .500 for the first time since early October, with an overall record now of 24-24-3-0. Wenatchee falls to 27-21-4-0 this season.
Head coach Manny Viveiros noted after the game that the Giants did get off to a slow start.
“Our game plan was to get on them right away and put them under pressure, but they weren’t having anything to do with that. They actually flipped the script on us and came after us pretty hard and we caught ourselves in that first period standing still a little bit too much and they were coming after us hard and we had a hard time handling a bit of their speed,” the coach elaborated.
“I thought once we got our feet going again… we were much better,” Viveiros said.
“The way they competed and stuck with it, I was very happy with that. This weekend was a really good weekend here. One thing I liked is – that’s a positive for us – is we’ve still got room to improve. That’s the best thing. If we can dial it in a bit more, we can get better and better here. That’s the exciting part of it with this young group.”
During the last month plus, since Christmas, the coach credited the team with “really come together, they’ve really bonded.”
Helping secure Saturday’s victory were Connor Levis (16th, 17th) and Kyren Gronick (6th, 7th) , who each had a pair of goals in the win, while Ty Halaburda (16th), Matthew Edwards (2nd), and Jaden Lipinski (15th) also scored in the win.
Goaltender Mirwald made 28 saves on 30 shots for his 21st win of the season. He is now 10-2-1 in his last 13 games.
FRIDAY: Giants push point streak to 7, with 3-1 win over Thunderbirds
Mirwald stonewalled the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday night, stopping 35 of 36 shots thrown his way to help the Vancouver Giants to a 3-1 win at the accesso ShoWare Center.
The win was the third in a row for the Giants and gave the club points in seven consecutive games (6-0-1), while improving the team’s record in 2024 to 10-3-1.
Vancouver is now 3-0 against Seattle this season, with Mirwald having allowed just three goals on 93 shots, noted associate coach Adam Maglio.
“I didn’t think we had our A game tonight, but I certainly think we’re finding our B game and that’s something good teams do, right?” Maglio said.
“Maybe we didn’t have our legs tonight, early on especially… I thought in the third that was our best period. I just thought early on we were a little but sleepy. But we had our B-game tonight, found a way to win, [Mirwald] was outstanding,” he said.
“Overall… there were some positives for sure.” Maglio concluded.
The Giants have a three-game week on the horizon, as they’ll travel to the Island to battle the Victoria Royals on Wednesday, Feb. 14, before a home-and-home with the western conference-leading Portland Winterhawks on Friday and Saturday. The home game on Friday in CMHA Night, with puck drop set for 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.
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