VANCOUVER (CP) - Milan Lucic and Michal Repik both scored a goal and added two assists as the Vancouver Giants advanced to the WHL championship with a 5-1 victory over the Prince George Cougars on Friday night.
The Giants now have a chance to repeat as WHL champions after taking the best-of-seven Western Conference championship series 4-1.
Since Vancouver has already qualified for the Memorial Cup tournament as the host team, the Eastern Conference champion Medicine Hat Tigers gain automatic entry to the national major junior hockey championships as the WHL's representative.
The Giants became the first team to qualify for back-to-back WHL finals since the Kamloops Blazers won consecutive titles in
1994-95 and 1993-94. Vancouver bench boss Don Hay was also the head coach of those Kamloops clubs.
Kenndal McArdle, Wacey Rabbit, James Wright, and Michal Repik also scored for Vancouver before a crowd of 6,912 at the Pacific Coliseum.
Greg Gardner replied for the Cougars.
The Giants outshot Prince George 46-10 and went 2-for-7 on the power play while the Cougars were scoreless on four power-play chances.
The Giants never looked back after scoring two goals in the game's first four minutes. McArdle opened the scoring on a power-play only 3:18 into the first period as he backhanded Spencer Machacek's rebound past Prince George goaltender Scott Bowles.
Rabbit doubled Vancouver's advantage with what proved to be the winning goal just 33 seconds later as he deked Bowles after taking a pass from Milan Lucic.
Wright increased Vancouver's lead to 3-0 on another power play at 11:26 of the first period as he deflected in a Tim Kraus shot for his first ever WHL playoff goal.
The Giants outshot the Cougars 17-3 in the opening 20 minutes while going 2-for-2 on power plays.
Repik gave the Giants a 4-0 lead at 19:12 of the second period as he one-timed a drop pass from Rabbit while Lucic served as a distraction in front of the net. Lucic tallied at 6:01 of the third as he one-timed a pass from Repik.
Gardner spoiled Vancouver goaltender Tyson Sexsmith's shutout bid to close the scoring at 7:33 of the final frame.
The Giants improved their 2006-07 post-season record to 12-3.
Rabbit was named as the series' most valuable player as he led all scorers with six goals and two assists.