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Saturday, May 11, 2019

WHL FINAL: GIANTS AVOID ELIMINATION

PHOTO: Doug Westcott/Vancouver Giants
LANGLEY, B.C. - The Vancouver Giants may have kept their season alive Friday night, but coach Michael Dyck says now they're simply looking forward to their next shift.

The Giants have persevered all season, Dyck said after the squad posted a crucial 4-3 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders, extending their bid for the Western Hockey League championship.

"They've stuck with it, they believe in what we're doing and they believe most importantly in each other and themselves,'' he said. "And when you do that, typically good things happen for you.''

The Raiders still hold a 3-2 lead in the WHL final as the series heads back to Saskatchewan for Game 6 on Sunday.

"We would have liked to have finished it tonight. We didn't. So we go home now,'' Raiders coach Marc Habscheid said. "You don't want to dissect too much. I think we pretty much know what didn't happen tonight.''

Prince Albert outshot Vancouver 40-30 throughout the game, and pressed hard in the final frame but ultimately couldn't close the gap after the Giants put up three goals in a row in the second period.

"In the first two periods we were just OK. In the third you kind of saw there, that was the real Raiders there,'' Habscheid said.

The Giants are sure to face a tough crowd when they head to Saskatchewan this weekend, but have already proven their ability to win in Prince Albert. Vancouver took Game 1 of the series, while the Raiders captured wins in Game 2, 3 and 4.

Heading home isn't exactly a consolation prize, Habscheid said.

"If somebody would have told me at the beginning of the year that we had two games at home to win the league title, we probably would have taken it,'' he said.

The winner of the WHL final will go on to play in the Canadian Hockey League's Memorial Cup tournament in Halifax later this month.

(Canadian Press)

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