The results weren’t enough to get them into the playoff round, but their play over four games at the Mac’s Tournament in Calgary definitely impressed their head coach.
The Valley West Hawks went 1-1-2 (won-lost-tied) at the 25-team tournament, placing third in their group and missing the eight-team playoff round by two points.
Hawks head coach Jessie Leung said the Hawks “deserved a better fate” and could easily have finished atop their group after playing as well as “I’ve ever seen out team perform” over the six-day Major Midget hockey tournament.
“As a team we rose to the challenge and gave ourselves an opportunity to play for first place in our pool on the final day,” Leung said. “It was a great showing for our team against some of the very best teams in midget hockey.”
Their lone loss of the tournament came on the final day of the round robin, a 6-1 loss to the German National U17 team in Dec. 30. Christian Bosa of Langley scored the Valley West goal midway through the first period, which tied the game 1-1. Germany then scored four unanswered goals in the second period.
“It was while we were sniffing for goals that the Germans caught us,” said Leung. “We gave up a handful of odd man rushes midway through the period and that’s all it took for the Germans to take over. We gave them and inch and they took a couple feet.”
The Hawks began play with a 3-3 tie with the Huron Perth Lakers of Ontario on Boxing Day. Malm scored all three goals for Valley West, the third coming with 11 minutes remaining in the game. The Hawks held a 2-0 lead early in the game, but trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Two days later, the Hawks edged the Prince Albert Mintos 3-2, with goals from Wyatt Hicks of Langley, Semiahmoo Minor Hockey’s Ian Ross, and Surrey forward Justin De Vos.
On Dec. 29, the Hawks played the Calgary Royals to a 2-2 tie. Calgary led 2-0 after two periods, before White Rock’s Ben Evanish and Semiahmoo’s Jeffrey Stewart tallied in the third period.
“Jakob Walter and Nic Tallarico were both sensational in net and gave us a chance to win every game,” said Leung. “Big credit goes to our shut down unit of Matt Barberis, Shakeel Ebrahim, Jeffrey Stewart, Trevor Ayre and Daniel Watson. They nullified the best players from the Prince Albert Mintos and the Calgary Royals.”
Valley West is in fifth in the BC Hockey Major Midget League at 13-7-4, three points back of both the Vancouver Giants and Vancouver Chiefs. The Hawks will be on the road next weekend, facing off against the 1-21-2 Thompson Blazers Saturday night in Chase and Sunday morning in Kamloops.