Two rookie teams seeking WHL title

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

The Vancouver Giants and Moose Jaw Warriors are Western Hockey League championship rookies.

The same can't be said for Giants' head coach Don Hay.

"My experience in how to deal with that is important for me to pass on to the players," said Hay, coach of Kamloops Blazers' 1994 and 1995 Memorial Cup champs.

"You can't get ahead of yourself. You really have to keep your eyes on what you want to accomplish."

Giants want to accomplish wins tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Pacific Coliseum before visiting Moose Jaw Monday, Tuesday and, if necessary, Thursday. Games six and seven would take place May 13 and 14 in Vancouver.

- How they got here: Western champ Giants (first seed) beat Portland Winterhawks (seventh) and Everett Silvertips (fourth); Eastern champ Warriors (third), beat Calgary Hitmen (second) and Medicine Hat Tigers (first).

- Offense: Warriors' captain Troy Brouwer has eight playoff goals after a 49-goal, 53-assist regular season. Giant Gilbert Brule has 11 goals and seven assists.

Vancouver's Cody Franson is the top playoff blueliner with three goals and a dozen assists.

- Goaltending: Giant Dustin Slade is 12-2 with six shutouts and a stingy 0.98 goals against average. Warrior Joey Perricone is 12-6 with 35 goals ceded.

- Special teams: Giants have scored 18 during 88 power plays; Warriors are 9 for 89. Giants have killed 79 of 82 penalties. Moose Jaw has allowed a dozen goals in 91 penalty kills.

- The prize: Winner represents WHL at the May 19-28 Memorial Cup national championship in Moncton, N.B.


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