The two top-ranked teams from the 2018-19 Western Hockey Regular Season will meet for the right to be called WHL Champions as the Prince Albert Raiders and Vancouver Giants collide in the 2019 Rogers #WHLChampionship Series.
Confirming their spot Friday were the Giants, winning the Western Conference Championship in five games against the Spokane Chiefs. The Raiders secured their spot Sunday by defeating the Edmonton Oil Kings in six games to capture the Eastern Conference Championship.
Meeting just once this year, the Giants won a 3-1 contest on January 24 at the Langley Events Centre. Davis Koch scored a pair of goals while 2019 NHL Draft prospect Trent Miner stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win, also picking up an assist on his team’s first goal of the game. Raiders captain Brayden Pachal had the lone goal for the Raiders.
Manitobans competing for WHL Championship:
|Pos||First Name||Last Name||Hometown||Current Team|
|F||Jakob||Brook||Roblin||Prince Albert Raiders|
|F||Justin||Nachbaur||Cross Lake||Prince Albert Raiders|
|D||Max||Martin||Winnipeg||Prince Albert Raiders|
The series will see highly-anticipated matchups in key facets on the ice. Up front, the Raiders boast a strong forward core with the likes of Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks), Dante Hannoun, as well as 2019 NHL Draft prospects Brett Leason and Aliaksei Protas all leading the team. Countering for the Giants are the likes of Koch, captain Jared Dmytriw, Dawson Holt, and Tristen Nielsen, who have carried the team into its first WHL Championship series berth since 2007.
On the blue line, the Giants have the Canadian Hockey League’s top-ranked prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft in Bowen Byram, ranked second among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Having just turned 20-years-old Saturday, defenceman Dylan Plouffe has also been a consistent presence for the Giants in the 2019 WHL Playoffs. The Raiders will counter with a trio of talents on the blue line. Sergei Sapego is one of six Raiders to reach double-digit points in the 2019 WHL Playoffs. The contributions of captain Pachal and Max Martin have also been well documented throughout the post-season.
In net, we’ll get to see a goaltending matchup between drafted NHL prospects for the second-straight year as Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) and David Tendeck (Arizona Coyotes) will be projected to face each other.
Tendeck and Miner shared the crease during the first two rounds, but Tendeck played every minute of the Western Conference Championship versus Spokane. In 10 games, Tendeck has a 2.14 goals-against average, .921 save percentage while sporting an 8-2 record with one overtime loss. The Raiders will counter with Scott, who has posted a 1.84 GAA, .930 SV%, and three shutouts to go along with a 12-4 record including one overtime loss.
With the 2019 NHL Draft coming to British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, the series will also see some highly-touted draft prospects face each other. As mentioned, Byram is the CHL’s top-ranked prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft, ranked second among North American skaters. The Raiders have a pair of players in the Top 50, with Leason ranked 25th and Protas ranked 44th. Miner of the Giants is also a likely selection in this June’s draft, ranked sixth among North American goaltenders.
The 2019 Rogers #WHLChampionship Series will begin at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert, Sask. with Game 1 on Friday, May 3 (7:00 p.m. MT). Following Game 2 at the same time the next night, the series will shift to British Columbia’s Lower Mainland for the next three games, beginning with Game 3 on Tuesday, May 7 (7:00 p.m. PT).
|Game||Visitor||Home||Day & Date||Time|
|1||Vancouver||@||Prince Albert||Friday, May 3||7:00|
|2||Vancouver||@||Prince Albert||Saturday, May 4||7:00|
|3||Prince Albert||@||Vancouver||Tuesday, May 7||7:00|
|4||Prince Albert||@||Vancouver||Wednesday, May 8||7:00|
|5||Prince Albert||@||Vancouver||Friday, May 10||7:30|
|6||Vancouver||@||Prince Albert||Sunday, May 12||6:00|
|7||Vancouver||@||Prince Albert||Monday, May 13||7:00|