Giants reel in Whalers in OT

Vancouver Giants Kenndal McArdle celebrates his game winning goal as the Giants beat the Plymouth...

Vancouver Giants Kenndal McArdle celebrates his game winning goal as the Giants beat the Plymouth Whalers 4-3 in overtime during Memorial Cup hockey in Vancouver Friday May 18, 2007.(CP PHOTO/Chuck Stoody) CANADA

Bob Mackin

, Last Updated: 1:19 AM ET

VANCOUVER: Kenndal McArdle scored at 5:06 of sudden death overtime to give the host Vancouver Giants a 4-3 win over the Plymouth Whalers Friday night to open the MasterCard Memorial Cup.

McArdle, who missed a chance to end the game on a previous shift, converted a pass from J.D. Watt seconds after a line change to spoil the Ontario Hockey League champions’ Memorial Cup debut.

"I went to the bench and refocused and I was lucky to get another opportunity," McArdle said.

Giants, playing their first game since losing the WHL finals in double overtime last Monday to the Medicine Hat Tigers, opened scoring at 5:41 of the first period on a tip-in by Spencer Machacek. It took until 7:26 of the second for Daniel Ryder to tee the puck for fellow Whaler James Neal. It was the first of three Plymouth power play goals. Giant Milan Lucic had the first of his pair just 51 seconds later with help from Michal Repik.

Video replay confirmed Neal’s second marker after a goalmouth scramble at 10:25 of the middle period. Repik assisted Lucic again to beat Whalers’ goaltender Michal Neuvirth at 13:14.

Giants lost the lead yet again 3:32 later when Ryan McGinnis pulled Plymouth even again.

"Guys are down, but it’s such a short tournament you’ve gotta bounce back quick," Neal said. "We’ll be ready for the next one."

The 13,428 at the Pacific Coliseum was a record for Memorial Cup round-robin attendance.

WHL champion Tigers face Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Lewiston MAINEiacs on Saturday (1 p.m. PDT, Rogers Sportsnet/CKNW).

The 89th Memorial Cup, major junior hockey’s final four tournament, climaxes with May 27’s final.


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