Valley West Hawks win ‘barn burner’

Major-midget hockey team earns comeback victory Tuesday over Greater Vancouver Canadians.

Two days after falling victim to a late-game comeback by the opposition, the Valley West Hawks returned the favour and escaped with a win during BC Major Midget League action this week.

On Sunday, the undermanned Hawks – playing without key forwards Justyn Gurney and Aiden Barfoot as well as head coach Jessie Leung – lost 4-3 to the Greater Vancouver Canadians; the defeat was the first regulation-time loss of the season for the defending champion Hawks.

However, on Tuesday evening – with Leung and Barfoot back from being part of Team BC and Gurney back from suspension – Valley West got back into the win column with a 5-4 overtime win that involved multiple comebacks.

“It was a bit of a barn burner,” Leung said.

Greater Vancouver led 2-0 after 20 minutes on goals from Daniel Pearson and Emerson Kostner, and after the teams traded goals in the second period – with Gurney and Jonas Leas scoring for Valley West – the Hawks still trailed 4-2 after two periods of action, before mounting a third-period comeback to send the game to overtime.

“We found every way to shoot ourselves in the foot in the first two periods,” Leung said.

“But we battled and clawed our way back, and started playing better by the end of the second period and into the third.”

Calder Newson and Leas – with his second of the game – scored in the third to knot the game at 4-4, and Tyler Ho, who set of Leas’ tying goal, scored in overtime to give the Hawks the edge.

“It was putting pucks on net and finding the rebounds,” said Leung, when asked how his team mounted the comeback.

“I was definitely happy to see our resiliency, and it was an exciting finish, even if it’s not exactly the way to (draw) it up.”

In Sunday’s tilt, it was the Hawks who coughed up an early lead, as they saw a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes evaporate in the third frame, as the visiting Canadians scored twice late to win 4-3.

“We just looked a little out of sync,” said Leung, who missed the game but said he watched video of it after returning from Team BC duties in Calgary.

“But it’s a pretty dramatic shift for us when we have so many people away.”

Valley West is now second in MML standings – two points back of the Cariboo Cougars – with a record of 7-1-1-1 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss).

The Hawks return to the ice this weekend, with a game Saturday in Sqaumish against the Vancouver NW Giants. On Sunday, the teams travel to the Langley Events Center for a return engagement.

“It’ll be nice to have our full lineup for the first time all year,” Leung said. “We’ve got some normalcy again so hopefully we can get back into a rhythm.”

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