It’s late in the third period at the Langley Events Centre and the Valley West Hawks have a 6-2 lead over the visiting Vancouver NE Chiefs.
Even with a four-goal lead, goalie Josh Dias is playing like the game is in the dying minutes of overtime.
On one third-period shift, the Chiefs work the puck into the offensive zone. After making a nice centering pass, a Chiefs player fires into what looks like an open net.
It was an open net – until Dias lunged across his crease to make a diving glove save.
“He’s been doing that for us all year,” said head coach Rob Evers. “He’s not getting enough love for the season he’s had.”
After the game, Dias was humble when asked about that stellar save.
“There was a rebound, and I just stuck my glove out and I was able to grab it.
“Just like Luongo,” Dias said with a grin.
If that’s a fair comparison for Dias, he could be in for a long career. While that’s a long ways down the road for the 16-year-old netminder, he’s done his best to solidify the crease for the league-leading 15-2 Hawks.
“I’m feeling good out there,” said Dias. “I’m glad we’ve gotten off to a good start.”
A good start might be a bit of an understatement for the Hawks.
“We’re a good team and we’ve been good for a while,” Dias said. “We’re all friends and we have good chemistry, so we’re having fun out there.”
The Hawks lead the league with 105 goals for, 24 more than the second highest scoring team. You could argue the team’s offensive firepower may be overshadowing the Dias’ strong performance.
His play in net has improved as the season progresses. Dias has allowed five goals in his last three games, and he registered a shutout during an 8-0 win against the South Island Royals in his last start.
After that shutout win, Dias is 10-1-1 and has a 2.21 save percentage. Both totals are second overall in the league.
“I’m just out there stopping pucks,” said Dias casually.
Who does he model his game after? He looks up to one of the best in the game today.
“I like to model my game after Carey Price,” he said. “He’s a very smooth goalie, very technical and athletic. That’s two things you need in the game today.”
The next step after the BCMML for Dias would be to play for the Surrey Eagles. The Semiahmoo Minor Hockey product is currently affiliated with the organization.
For now, the Earl Marriott Secondary student has a chance to be part of something special for the Hawks, as they vie for their second championship in three seasons.
“I expect us to win a championship,” said Dias. “We’re good enough to beat any team in the league.”