After a sweep of a two-game series in Nelson, the Valley West Hawks have climbed atop the BC Hockey Major Midget League standings.
The Hawks defeated the Kootenay Ice 8-0 Saturday evening and 5-4 Sunday morning, improving to a near-perfect 7-0-1 (win-loss-tie) on the season. They are two points up on the Vancouver Chiefs with two games in hand.
“Our execution was pretty good in both games,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung. “I thought we did a good job of pushing the pace and playing to our standard.”
The Hawks exploded for three goals in the last five minutes of the first period on their way to the win Saturday, a game that saw seven players score for the Valley West team.
Ben Evanish led the way with two goals, with Carson Franklin, Luka Burzan, Josh Bruce, Justin De Vos, Ian Ross and Chrsitian Bosa scoring once each. Burzan and Bradley Stonnell each had a pair of assists.
Valley West led 3-0 and 5-0 at the period breaks.
“We got into a little penalty trouble early, and had to kill a full two-minute five-on-three. Full credit to our penalty killers and (goalie Nic) Tallarico,” said Leung. “We really took the momentum from those kills and ran with it.”
Sunday’s game saw the Hawks erase three deficits before earning their sixth consecutive win. Evanish opened the scoring, but the Ice tallied two quick goals in response for a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Burzan tied the game three minutes into the second period, the Ice went up 3-2 late in the period, then Bobby Russell knotted the score just before the second intermission.
Kootenay took their third lead of the game 90 seconds into the third period, but Evanish tied the score just 34 seconds later. Bruce netted the winner with 13 minutes remaining.
“We found a way to win when things weren’t going our way,” said Leung. “I’m happy with how our players responded each time we suffered a setback. It wasn’t pretty but as they say they don’t ask how, just how many.”
The Hawks will play a home-and-home series with the Vancouver Giants next weekend. The Giants are 6-2-0, three points back of Valley West. The two rivals face-off Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Langley Events Centre, then have a rematch at 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning at the North Shore Winter Club.
“This series will feature seven of the leagues 10 top scorers and the top two goalies,” said Leung. “We’re hoping for a big crowd Saturday.”