(ISN) – The Vancouver Giants defeated the Spokane Chiefs 7-5 Friday night at the Pacific Coliseum to take a 1-0 series lead in their best of seven Western Conference Quarterfinal. For head coach Don Hay, it was 102nd career playoff victory, giving him the most post season wins in WHL history.
Austin Fyten made his Vancouver Giants debut and he made an immediate impact scoring with 2.6 seconds remaining in the first period to give the Giants a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes. The 20 year old was picked up off waivers after the trade deadline. He had major knee surgery back in October.
The Giants added to their lead in the 2nd period with goals from Cain Franson and Marek Tvrdon 1:46 apart to go ahead 3-0. Blake Gal got the Chiefs on the board with a shorthanded goal, but on the same power play Jordan Martinook tipped home a Brett Kulak point shot to give the Giants a 4-1 lead. After Spokane cut the lead to 2 goals, Martinook potted his 2nd of the night to put the home side in front 5-2 after 40 minutes of play.
In the third period, the Chiefs scored a power play goal and short handed goal 1:05 apart to cut the lead to 5-4, just 7:37 into the third period. With less then 4 minutes remaining, Franson beat Mac Engel with a wrap around for his second goal of the night to give the Giants a 6-4 lead. However, the Chiefs would not go away scoring with 1:31 left in regulation to once again make it a one goal game. Franson though would add an empty netter for his 1st career WHL hat trick to seal the deal and lead the Giants to a 7-5 victory. Martinook (2g, 2a) and Franson (3g, 1a) each finished with 4 points, while Brendan Gallagher chipped in with 3 assists. Adam Morrison made 19 saves for his 1st career WHL playoff victory as the Giants take a 1-0 series lead. Chiefs leading scorer Brenden Kichton left the game midway through the third period and did not return after taking a puck off the face.
The Giants finished 1-for-4 on the power play, but gave up 2 shorthanded goals, while the Chiefs went 1-for-6 on the man advantage.
Don Hay stands alone as the winningest coach in WHL playoff history with 102 victories. Coming into the night he was tied with former Edmonton Oil Kings/Portland Winterhawks bench boss Ken Hodge for first.
Game 2 is set for Saturday night at the Pacific Coliseum. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm. The pregame show begins at 6:30 pm on AM 650.