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.



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Jared Dmytriw. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Just Posted

OUR VIEW: Build bridges over Surrey election divides

Surrey voters have set the course for at least the next four years. It is what it is

MINTY: Friends shine in ‘Beer for Breakfast’ at Surrey Little Theatre

Elsewhere, Peninsula Productions prepares a reading of ‘Mary’s Wedding’ on Surrey stage

Surrey RCMP searching for missing teen

Kishan Gopal, 15, was last seen at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 17, in the 1900-block of King George Boulevard

Delta police called to alleged gunman incident at Delta Rise

Police searched the building for the suspect, but couldn’t find him

Surrey RCMP say teenager stabbed after ‘dispute’

Police say suspect and other youth fled the scene before officers arrived, near 147th Street and 83rd Avenue

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Metro Vancouver parking fees could rise to help pay for transit

Province tables bill that would generate an extra $10 million each year

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

Most Read