Monday, May 28, 2007

Giants rule their universe

Sunday’s Memorial Cup provided some fast paced and hard hitting action and a determination from the hosts that once the Cup was in their building it wasn’t going to go anywhere for the next year.

The Vancouver Giants won the venerable trophy of junior hockey supremacy in Canada on Sunday, based on a strong game plan from coach Don Hay, that saw them take the play to the Medicine Hat Tiger through the first two periods of the game.

The Giants were peppering shows at the Tigers goaltender time and time again, bashing the boards and controlling play as though possessed. The Tigers managed to keep themselves within striking range, thanks mainly to Matt Keetley who stood on his head at times to ensure that his team mates at least had a shot at taking the championship back to the Hat.

But this one seemed to be the Giants to lose from the very opening face off; Vancouver was flying from the first shift and by rights probably should have put the game away in the first period.

By the time the Tigers managed to get their feet the Giants were bouncing back with key goals to put the game away with the final score of 3-1 in front of a sold out, standing room only hometown, Pacific Coliseum.

It provided for a dramatic game and finish from two teams that became rather familiar with each other over the last three weeks of the junior hockey year, the Giants lost to the Tigers in the WHL final, only to recover and deliver when the moment for the ultimate Junior championship was at hand.

It’s a major win for one of the top franchises in junior hockey, Ron Toigo’s team that run the Giants, not only provide for top quality entertainment on the ice, they make sure that their players stay focused on life past junior hockey.
For Hay it's his third Memorial Cup as a head coach, his fourth as a coach and a most deserved bit of recognition for one of the best prepared and motiviational coaches in the game.

The Giants are a modern franchise for the CHL, which has had more than its fair share of horror stories in the years gone by. The Giants have provided the template for many of today’s junior franchises to emulate, today they also have the trophy that all aspire to claim at the start of the year.

One deserves each other in this instance.

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