The Vancouver Giants have a two-headed monster between the pipes.
A tandem of Trent Miner and David Tendeck has proven to be the team’s most intriguing weapon this postseason as the pair has constantly turned aside the opposition to help the Giants advance to the WHL Final for the first time since the club’s 2007 Memorial Cup championship.
For regular viewers, it’s a continuation from the regular season when Miner and Tendeck shared the netminding duties, a healthy competition that pushed the two tenders to be at the top of their games in order to stay in the crease. The choice of rotating to the hot hand has also proven to be an invaluable option for Giants head coach Michael Dyck.
“You have to go with what’s working,” Dyck told Steve Ewen of the National Post. “I’ve coached teams where you ride one until you can’t ride him anymore, and right now these guys play well when we alternate. We are going to stick with that.”
Both netminders finished the 2018-19 campaign with 24 wins a piece, with both ranking inside the top four league-wide in goals-against average, while Miner also held the same rank in the save percentage column with a resounding .924.
Their share of league accolades followed, with Miner picking up a pair of WHL Goaltender of the Week honours, while Tendeck received weekly recognition of his own after playing every minute of the WHL Western Conference Final.
Overall, both netminders have taken the ice in the postseason, where after each played a trio of appearances in a six-game quarter-final takedown of the rival Seattle Thunderbirds, Tendeck manned the blue paint for seven of the next nine contests against the Victoria Royals and Spokane Chiefs.
Through three rounds of postseason play, Tendeck, an Arizona Coyotes prospect, has stepped up with an impressive .921 save percentage, while the draft-eligible Miner, ranked sixth among North American netminders by Central Scouting ahead of the 2019 NHL draft, has a miniscule 1.92 goals-against average, good for second-best in the WHL playoffs.
In all, the Giants can play with confidence knowing that either of their goaltenders can give them a chance to win, which could come as an advantage in the Ed Chynoweth Cup Final when the team will face off against the first-place Prince Albert Raiders.
Residing in opposite conferences, the Giants and Raiders met up just once during the regular season, a late January contest that ended in a 3-1 Vancouver win. Naturally, goaltending proved to be the difference as Miner stopped 31 shots and was named first star.
Quality performances like that could not only be the ticket to reclaim the crease, but also to guide the Giants back to the CHL championship round.
The Giants advanced to the WHL Final and will compete against the Prince Albert Raiders for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with the winner moving on to the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia. The WHL Final begins Friday in Prince Albert. For complete WHL playoff preview coverage, click here.