Tigers claw past Giants

Robert Mackin Jr.

, Last Updated: 6:03 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Medicine Hat Tigers are going to Sunday's MasterCard Memorial Cup final after edging host Vancouver Giants 1-0 in Wednesday's round-robin climax.

The Western Hockey League champions are aiming for their third Memorial Cup after winning major junior hockey's final four in 1987 and 1988.

"It's a huge step, instead of playing Thursday or Friday," said Tigers' goaltender Matt Keetley, who stopped 29 shots for the shutout. "There could be some guys banged up on our team that need some rest."

Tiger Derek Dorsett had the lone goal on a power play at 17:26 of the second period with help from Kris Russell and David Schlemko. Dorsett beat Vancouver goaltender Tyson Sexsmith just 21 seconds after Giant Lance Bouma was penalized for roughing when he boarded Russell after the whistle.

"One bad penalty that ends up in a goal," said Giant J.D. Watt. "They were the better team."

Dorsett, a Columbus Blue Jackets' prospect, was booed by the 14,091 Pacific Coliseum fans that remembered he bit the hand of Giant Kenndal McArdle in the WHL finals. The infraction cost him a one-game suspension. The Tigers eventually beat 2006 WHL champion Vancouver in double-overtime of May 14's deciding seventh game in Medicine Hat.

"Every boo on the road is a cheer to me," Dorsett said. "I feed off that."

The closest Vancouver came to beating Keetley was with 1:35 remaining in the second, but video replay showed Brent Regner's shot never crossed the line.

"It's been the same problem for us all year, not outworking the other team's goalie," Watt said. "Friday night - Sunday, if we get there -- that's what we'll need to focus on."

Ontario Hockey League champion Plymouth Whalers and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League winner Lewiston MAINEiacs meet in Thursday's tiebreaker (7:30 p.m. PDT/10:30 p.m. EDT, Sportsnet). The winner faces Vancouver


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