Following a winless weekend against the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, the Valley West Hawks have now gone four games without a win.
The BC Hockey Major Midget League team played to a 3-3 draw with the Thunderbirds Saturday in Abbotsford, then dropped a 4-2 decision in a rematch Sunday at the Langley Events Centre.
But perhaps the biggest loss of the young season came midway through last week, when the team was informed Luke Gingras would be staying in Saskatoon to play for the Western Hockey League’s Blades.
“It happens, players get called up all the time,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung on the loss of his team captain and leading scorer. “It’s a great opportunity for him.
“The timing is unfortunate, he was one of the best players in our league.”
Gingras was called up to the Blades for two games late last month. After playing in his first pair of Major Junior games, the Langley resident learned his short stint in Saskatoon had become permanent.
The Hawks went into last weekend’s series with the Thunderbirds missing their top-line centre who had scored eight goals and added 12 assists in eight games.
But for close to 55 minutes, they appeared to be on the verge of winning their first game without him. Leading 3-1, the Hawks surrendered a pair of goals in a 90-second span, the second of which tied the game 3-3 with four minutes to play.
“Saturday was a tough one, I think we deserved a better fate,” said Leung. “Fraser Valley capitalized on the few chances we gave them and they managed to tie the game late.”
James Malm of Langley, Tyson Talhan of Surrey and Cloverdale’s Daniel Chifan tallied for Valley West. White Rock defenceman Matt Barberis added two assists.
Sunday in Langley, Malm and Langley’s Christian Bosa tallied for the home side, each goal pulling the Hawks even with Fraser Valley.
The Thunderbirds netted a pair of unanswered goals in the third period for the win.
The Hawks played Sunday’s game without Jeffrey Stewart, their leading goal scorer with 10 in 11 games played. The Semiahmoo minor hockey product was injured in Saturday’s contest.
“Our team is in a bit of a funk. Players are gripping their sticks a little tighter and over analyzing what they’re doing,” said Leung. “We’re needing to re-define ourselves in light of Gingras’ recall to Saskatoon.”
The Hawks, who have slipped to seventh place in the 11-team league at 6-5-1 (won-lost-tied) travel to Kelowna to play the third-place Okanagan Rockets next weekend.