Vancouver Giants’ head coach Michael Dyck answered a few questions from Kamloops This Week ahead of his club’s second-round WHL playoff series against the Kamloops Blazers.
Game 1 is scheduled for Friday, a 7 p.m. start at Sandman Centre.
The No. 8 seed Giants shocked the No. 1 seed Everett Silvertips in Round 1. The No. 2 Blazers swept the No. 8 Spokane Chiefs.
KTW: How much belief is in that dressing room right now?
MD: Obviously, I think there’s a lot of belief. There was belief before we even started the series, so that was a key to getting off on the right foot and, certainly, a big key to our success.
KTW: How do you explain such a stark turnaround?
MD: The regular season wasn’t what we wanted, but you get a new lease on life when you start the playoffs. It’s really just turning the page and getting a new opportunity and we took advantage of it.
KTW: The record against Kamloops in the regular season wasn’t great. Is there still a mental hurdle to jump over with that?
MD: I don’t think so. We’re just focused on our preparation right now and getting ready for the first period on Friday night.
KTW: What do you think are some of the keys to beating the Blazers?
MD: I’m not sure we’re going to put a whole lot of focus on them as much as we are on how we want to play. Just focusing on playing hard and playing the right way.
KTW: How do you plan to shut down Logan Stankoven and Luke Toporowski?
MD: We’ve just got to be aware when they’re on the ice. We know them well. Logan Stankoven is an elite player and he’s certainly a driver on that team. We’ve got to be really good when they’re out there.
KTW: What are some of the traits of a Shaun Clouston team?
MD: Kamloops is a very good transition team. They’re as good as any in the league as far as playing a 200-foot game. I don’t think that’s going to change in the playoffs.
KTW: I think in June of 2018 you might have been the Blazers’ first choice to come and coach here in Kamloops. You ended up in Vancouver. Is there truth to that and what was the decision-making process?
MD: Well, there is truth to that and, obviously, I was really, really contemplating considering the opportunity to work for Tom Gaglardi and with Matt Bardsley. I’ve got a ton of respect for both of those guys and the Blazers’ organization. But I had some history with Ron Toigo and the Vancouver Giants. I worked with them previously in the early 2000s, with Don Hay and Dean Evason. And my daughter lived here. My daughter moved from Lethbridge to Vancouver to go to school. For us, that was a big draw, to be back together with her again