They dominated the Kootenay Ice for 110 of 120 minutes last weekend, which was enough for the Valley West Hawks to win both ends of a BC Hockey Major Midget League double header.
The Hawks ripped the Ice 9-0 Saturday afternoon at the Langley Events Centre, then hung on for a 7-5 victory Sunday morning. They improved to 16-5-1 (win-loss-tie) and moved past the idle Vancouver Giants into first place in the 11-team provincial league for elite 15-17 year-olds.
“Yesterday went real good, we had a good game start to finish from everyone in the lineup,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung after Sunday’s game. “Today, we started off pretty good. Then, in the third period we got a little bit complacent again.”
Valley West led 3-1 and 5-1 at the period breaks Sunday, yet allowed the Ice to get back into the game over the final 20 minutes. Kootenay scored just 28 seconds into the third period, but Luka Burzan netted his second of the game to restore the Hawks’ four-goal lead at 6-2. But the Ice responded with another two scores, and were within striking distance at 6-4 with 12 minutes to play. Justyn Gurney tallied for the Hawks with seven minutes to play, and Kootenay again answered 65 second later. there was no scoring over the final six minutes of play.
“It’s something we’ve talked about all year. It’s part of the challenge in our league particularly,” said Leung. “The kids are 15-17 years-old, and you play the same teams twice in a row. It’s easy to become complacent.
“At the same token, if everything is all tickety-boo at the midway point of the season, you’ve peaked at the wrong time.”
Josh Bruce, Christian Bosa, Colten Gerlib and James Malm also scored for the Hawks. Gerlib, Gurney, Michael Farren and Ian Ross each had a pair of assists.
The Hawks scored four powerplay goals against an indisciplined Kootenay team Saturday. The Ice took 34 minutes in penalties compared to just 12 for Valley West, and were shorthanded 10 times.
Burzan and Ben Evanish each scored three times. Oliver Alcock with two, Bradley Stonnell and Bosa were the other goal scorers. Collecting two assists each were Stonnell, Alcock, Carson Franklin, Evanish and Bosa.
The Hawks will play twice against the seventh-place Vancouver Canadians next weekend, playing at home Friday night in Langley
at 7 p.m. and again Saturday evening at the Richmond Oval at 5 p.m.
Malm returns to Hawks
Valley West, already one of the highest-scoring teams in the Major Midget League, got some extra offensive help when James Malm rejoined the team.
Malm began the season with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, but was dropped from their active roster 10 days ago.
The Langley native was second in league scoring last season, netting 20 goals and 66 points for the Hawks, one point off the league scoring lead despite missing nine games.
“The work ethic has always been there,” said Leung. “Talent aside, he’s been one of my favorite players to coach. He comes to work.”
Malm joins a Valley West team which averages 4.7 goals a game, behind only the 4.9 average of the MML’s Vancouver Giants. The Hawks already boast Evanish (24 goals, 13 assists, 37 points), Burzan (9-24-33) and Ilijah Colina (5-24-29) among the top seven scorers in the league.