For the fifth consecutive year, the Greater Vancouver Canadians will meet the Vancouver Northwest Giants in the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League playoffs.
The longtime rivals begin their best-of-three series tonight at the Burnaby Winter Club (BWC). The defending league and Western Canadian champion Giants needed overtime of the third and deciding game to prevail in last year's semi-final tilt. They will be favoured to advance again after compiling a league best 32-2-4 regular season record then sweeping the North Island Silvertips in the quarter-finals.
The fifth seeded Canadians needed an overtime goal from Richmond's Alex Whitwham to trim the fourth seed Vancouver Northeast Chiefs 5-4 in the deciding game of their opening round series. Greater Vancouver took game one 5-2 and the Chiefs responded with a convincing 4-1 game two triumph, setting the stage for last Sunday's thriller at Planet Ice in Coquitlam.
The Canadians erased a 2-0 deficit and took a 4-3 lead into the third when the Chiefs equalized in the early stages of the period.
It stayed that way until Whitwham banged home a rebound at the 1: 55 mark of overtime after a shot from Austin Adamson.
Other goal scorers for Greater Vancouver included Otis Goldman, Andrew Kluckas, Glenn Gawdin and Adamson. Nathan Alalouf got the win in net.
The Giants took all four regular season meetings against the Canadians. The entire series played at the BWC, with game two scheduled for Saturday. If necessary, game three will be played Sunday morning.
The other BCMMHL semi-final series has the Cariboo Cougars hosting the Okanagan Rockets in a battle of respective second and third seeds.