Giants seek redemption in final

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- It took eight games at the Memorial Cup to determine what many in the Canadian Hockey League had already figured.

The Medicine Hat Tigers and Vancouver Giants are the two best major junior hockey teams in the country.

And this afternoon, they'll face each other in the Memorial Cup final.

"Everyone will tell you it didn't matter to us who we played in the final," said Giants captain Brett Festerling. "But anytime you get a chance at redemption you want it. I know myself I wanted another shot at the Tigers in the final and we are fortunate to have that."

Ever since the Tigers defeated the Giants in an epic WHL final, the Giants have been singing redemption songs. They wanted another crack at Medicine Hat, but had to wade through the round-robin portion of the tournament then win the semi-final in order to get it.

"We were just hoping to be in the final," said Giants forward Milan Lucic. "But with us playing the Tigers, it's going to give us a chance to get back at them a little bit."

The two teams met earlier in the round-robin, with the Tigers winning 1-0. In that game, first place and an automatic berth into the final were on the line. This afternoon it's for all the marbles.

"To us, it's fitting that we're playing them one more time," said Giants coach Don Hay.

"Both teams compete very hard. We feel home ice will be good to us, but you have to go out there and execute and play with that emotion and intensity you need to be successful."

This afternoon's encounter is the 11th meeting of the season between the two teams.

They split a pair of regular-season games in Medicine Hat, then faced each other in the WHL final, with the Tigers winning the series in double-overtime of Game 7.

Medicine Hat trailed 3-2 in the series and needed to win the last two games at home to clinch the title.

"You look at the last three games and they've been anyone's games," said Tigers captain Kris Russell.

"It's just been a bounce here and a bounce there. We'll have to play our best game of the tournament to have any success."


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