The Valley West Hawks dominated one of the league’s weaker teams last weekend, posting their first two victories of the season to get back to .500.
The Hawks stopped the Thompson Blazers 5-1 and 6-0 in Richmond, two games which were part of the B.C. Hockey Major Midget League Showcase Weekend. Valley West is now at 2-2-0 (won-lost-tied) and in sixth-place in the 11-team league.
“It was a week later than I had hoped, but it was good to notch our first wins of the season,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung. “I credit our team for sticking to our game plan and committing to the team game in both victories. We got contributions from our entire lineup both offensively and defensively. Lots of pressure and pace.”
Luke Gingras of Langley paced the Hawks Saturday, scoring twice and assisting on another. Jeffrey Stewart of Surrey also netted a pair of goals, while Logan Webber tallied once. White Rock defenceman Matt Barberis, who has returned to the team from the training camp of the Vancouver Giants, assisted on three goals.
Sunday morning, Surrey forward Trevor Ayre scored once and assisted on three other goals. Barberis, Gingras, Stewart, Ben Evanish of White Rock and Christian Bosa of Langley also notched a goal teach. Barberis added another two helpers for a six-point weekend.
Of the 11 goals scored over the weekend, four came with the man advantage, a positive sign. While not allowing the Blazers to score on the powerplay, Leung feels the Hawks need to improve while playing a man short.
“Our powerplay was lethal this weekend, which is a good sign after opening weekend,” he said. “We’ll continue to put some work into our penalty kill. We have the basic framework set up, but need a lot of repetition to really round it into form.”
Although the Hawks were designated as the home team for the weekend series with the Blazers, Valley West has still to play on home ice. That won’t happen until Saturday, Oct. 11 when they host the Vancouver Canadians at 3:30 p.m. in the Langley Events Centre.
It’s the first of two games that weekend against the Canadians, with the second back at the Richmond Oval on Oct. 12 at 10 a.m.
The Hawks are idle next weekend, having drawn the bye.
“Having our bye week only three weeks into the season isn’t ideal,” said Leung. “We’ll have two games in hand on most teams throughout the front half of the season so it will feel like we’re playing catchup until the hit the midway point.
“(But) it gives us an opportunity to fine-tune some systems and tactics.”