It’s early to judge, but Valley West Hawks should have some lethal offensive players up front this season.
That was evident over the weekend as the Hawks scored 10 goals in two games against Cariboo Cougars. The Hawks were victorious during two road games against the Cougars last weekend, winning 5-2 and 5-3.
Newcomer Cameron MacDonald factored in on seven of those 10 goals for the Hawks. The 15-year-old had three goals and four assists in those two games, despite taking two cross-checks to the head.
“(The Cougars) like to play a physical brand of hockey, said head coach Rob Evers. “Because of that, we spent a lot of time on special teams.”
Evers mentioned that the Hawks spent three hours over the last two weeks working on the power play in practice. It paid off as the Hawks had seven power play goals in two games.
The special teams play made up for the lack of experience on defence. After Brayden Wick was injured in the Hawks first game against the Cougars, Evers was forced to use a couple forwards on the back end.
Even with the hurdles, the Hawks managed to earn four points against the league’s best team from a season ago.
Despite all the newcomers, Evers is confident that his team can be among the best in the BCMML.
“Our goal is to challenge for first place,” said Evers, “and our ultimate goal is to get back to winning a league championship.”
After winning their first league championship during the 2015-16 season, the Hawks finished seventh out of 11 teams in 2016-17. Evers then spent a good chunk of his offseason recruiting players, and he’s pleased with the makeup of the team heading into the season.
“We’ve got a really well-rounded team. Our forward group should challenge to be the best in the league.”
The Hawks could hope that the offensive outburst from linemates MacDonald and Justin Sourdif is a sign of things to come. The BCMML rookies have a spotlight on them after they were both selected in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft.
Sourdif was selected third overall by Vancouver Giants, after posting 66 points in 29 games for Delta Bantam Prep of the CSSBHL. MacDonald was selected in the fifth round (96th overall) by Brandon Wheat Kings. Hawks defenceman Brayden Clark was also selected in the WHL 2017 Bantam Draft by Prince Albert Raiders, going 47th overall in the third round. Clark missed the Hawks’ first two games due to injury.
MacDonald and Sourdif will be two of the players to watch for the Hawks this season, and they’ve already flashed their offensive skills early on. With a combined 12 points in two games, the pair could be an offensive dynamo for the Hawks.
The two forwards, along with Clark, are on the shortlist to join Team B.C. at the upcoming Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup. The tournament will feature the best U16 hockey players from across Western Canada.