As far as road trips go, last weekend’s trip to Prince George couldn’t have gone much better for the Valley West Hawks.
The BC Major Midget League hockey club – made up of players from Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Cloverdale – won both games against the host Cariboo Cougars, 3-2 and 6-4, to boost their BCMML record to 8-2, good enough for top spot in the 12-team league.
In the first game, played Saturday evening at Prince George’s CN Centre, the Cougars got on the board first thanks to a goal from Thomas Webster, and the score stayed stuck at 1-0 until the second, when the home side doubled it to 2-0 on a goal from Bryan Allbee.
The two-goal cushion didn’t last long, however – Valley West forward Justin Wilde got the visitors on the board just over one minute later.
The goal gave the Hawks momentum, and three minutes later Jesse Lansdell, from Langley, tied the game, finishing off a play that was started by White Rock’s Paul Smith and Langley’s Luke Gingras.
With the game knotted at 2-2, Matt Bradley scored the winning goal, with three minutes left in the third period. Cloverdale’s Jordan Funk and Surrey’s Mitch Newsome picked up assists on the play.
Game 2 Sunday was a wild, back-and-forth affair, with both teams trading goals. As they did Saturday, Cariboo again took an early lead in the rematch on a goal from Allbee just two minutes into the contest.
White Rock’s Davis Koch answered right back for Valley West, however, but the Cougars retook the lead later in the first period after a power-play goal, again off the stick of Allbee.
Before the first intermission, the two clubs again traded goals – Isiaha Berra scored a shorthanded marker for the Cougars and Gingras scored for the Hawks, who tied the game early in the second after a Jamieson Ree goal.
Following the pattern set earlier in the game, the Cougars replied quickly with a go-ahead goal from Jesse Roach, but less than 60 seconds later, the game was tied again, after Eric Callegari scored an unassisted goal for the Fraser Valley squad.
Later in the final period, White Rock’s Devante Stephens scored on the power play – with assists from Landell and Newsome – to give the Hawks their first lead of the game.
Then, with just over a minute left in the game, Wilde scored his second of the weekend to secure the win for the Hawks.
The first-place Hawks will face a tough test this weekend, when they play a two-game doubleheader against the BCMML defending champion Vancouver Northwest Giants, who sit third in the league with a 6-1-1 record.
Game 1 goes Saturday (10:15 a.m.) at the Langley Events Centre, with the second game Sunday in Burnaby.