Their season came to a quick end Sunday afternoon in Port Coquitlam.
And while they could have achieved more, the Valley West Hawks aren’t going to call it a disappointing campaign after they were eliminated from the BC Hockey Major Midget League playoffs in straight games.
The Vancouver Chiefs swept the Hawks 7-5 and 5-0 to win their best-of-three quarterfinal series. The games were played Saturday and Sunday at the Port Coquitlam Recreation Centre.
“It’s not the ending we were looking for, but it would be a stretch to really call it a disappointment,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung. “The parity across our league is incredible.
“I was very proud to stand behind our players all season long. I wish them all the best as they move on in their careers.”
Valley West spent much of the season challenging for a position near the top of the 13-team provincial league, but sputtered as the regular season wound down. Missing players due to injury and the Canada Winter Games, the Hawks went 0-5-2 (won-lost-tied) over the last seven games of the season and dropped from a battle for third place to sixth in the final standings.
They then drew the Chiefs for the first round of the playoffs, and couldn’t keep up with the league’s hottest team over the past five weeks.
“We came close to a win in game one but couldn’t close the deal,” said Leung. “The Chiefs have been a machine the last month of the regular season. They bent, but did not break and found a way to win.
“It was a tight game, much tighter than the score might suggest.”
Playing without leading scorer James Malm, who was injured while at the Canada Winter Games, the Hawks put forth their best effort against the Chiefs early in game one.
Jeffrey Stewart of Surrey gave Valley West a 1-0 lead after one period, then after the Chiefs went up 2-1 early in the second, Stewart assisted on a goal by White Rock’s Matt Barberis then scored his second of the game for a 3-2 Valley West advantage midway through the game.
The Hawks took a 4-2 lead into the third period with the fourth goal from Trevor Ayre of Semiahmoo Minor Hockey, but then the wheels fell off. Vancouver scored four times in the first 10 minutes of the third period, then when the Hawks pulled to within