Ilijah Colina of the Valley West Hawks scored four goals in two playoff games last weekend.

Hawks eliminate Canadians in two games

Major Midget team advances to semifinal round of playoffs

Their first-round playoff series wasn’t much of a test for the Valley West Hawks.

The BC Hockey Major Midget League team hammered the Vancouver Canadians 8-1 and 9-2, sweeping their best-of-three series and moving on to the final four next weekend.

“Our best players were our best players and we had contributions throughout the lineup,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung, explaining the one-sided result.

Valley West took a while to hit their stride in Saturday’s win at the Sungod Arena in North Delta. But Bobby Russell and Oliver Alcock scored in the opening period to give the home team a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, and the Hawks dominated the final two periods.

“Our opening shift was dominant. We generated three grade-A scoring chances right off puck drop,” said Leung. “But we couldn’t maintain the intensity and had to turn to (goalie Nic) Tallarico to hold down the fort while we sorted ourselves out.”

Justyn Gurney and Ben Evanish added to the Hawks goal total in the second period, which ended with Valley West up 4-1. The Hawks got goals from Ilijah Colina, Evanish, Nichael Farren and Luka Burzan in the third period. Burzan also had three assists.

“We were relentless down the stretch,” said Leung. “They (Canadians) were able to skate with us for two periods before it came crashing down for them.”

Sunday’s win was never in doubt. Valley West struck for two goals in the first three minutes of play, and led 3-1 after one period before burying the Canadians with six goals in the second.

“We had another great start, relentless from puck drop,” said Leung.

Colina had a hat trick for the Hawks, with James Malm adding two goals and three assists. Russell, Gurney, Burzan and Josh Bruce completed the scoring. Burzan collected another three assists, with Evanish and Mitch Savage earning two each.

Valley West will host the fourth-place Okanagan Rockets in the semifinal round.The Hawks won three of four games against Okanagan, outscoring their opponent 20-11.

“The Rockets are a different team than when we saw them last. It looks like for the first time all season they’ll field their full lineup,” said Leung. “They’ve got a few offensive weapons up front, a good defence and one of the best goalies in our league. It’s going to be a good series”

The Hawks will host the first game of the best-of-three semifinal Friday at 8 p.m. in the Surrey Sports and Leisure Centre. The second game is at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night in the South Surrey Arena, with a third game (if necessary) Sunday at 3 p.m., also in South Surrey.

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