Giant battle looms today

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- It might have been too much to bear had the Vancouver Giants lost the opening game of the Memorial Cup in overtime.

Heading into the tournament, the hosts were still stinging from a double-overtime defeat to the Medicine Hat Tigers in Game 7 of the WHL final.

They had also lost the first game of last year's Memorial Cup tournament in overtime before eventually bowing out in the semifinal.

OUT OF MIND

"We weren't worried too much about that going into overtime, we just went out there and played," said Giants forward Milan Lucic, who scored two goals in the 4-3 overtime win over the Plymouth Whalers on Friday.

"We just wanted to stick to our system. We knew they were really good on the transition so we had to limit our turnovers."

Kenndal McArdle eventually scored to give the Giants the win in the opening game.

Today the hosts face the Lewiston Maineiacs (2:30 p.m., MST) in their second game of the tournament. Lewiston defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-1 yesterday in their opener.

"It's going to be a good game," said Maineiacs defenceman Chad Denny. "We saw them play (Friday) and we know how strong they are. They may be a little more physical than Medicine Hat was, but we're just going to go and play our game, use our speed and forecheck hard against them."

WINNER INTO PLAYOFFS

The winner of today's game is guaranteed at least a berth into the semifinal on Friday. Having both won their opening encounters, they'll also be vying for top spot in the round robin and a berth straight into the final.

"This game is another huge game," McArdle said. "They're all big. They keep getting larger from here on in."


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