Season ends in the Okanagan
They staved off elimination once, but the Valley West Hawks couldn’t do it a second time.
The BC Major Midget Hockey League team forced a deciding game in their best-of-three series with the Okanagan Rockets, then saw their season come to an end Sunday morning in Kelowna, losing 8-3.
Okanagan also won the first game of the quarterfinal series by a 6-4 score Friday night. The Hawks got their lone win of the weekend Saturday by a 4-1 margin.
The Rockets finished third in the 11-team league for elite 15-17 year-olds, earning home ice advantage against the sixth-place Hawks.
Needing a win to clinch a series win and earn a semifinal date with the Cariboo Cougars next weekend in Prince George, the Hawks came out flat Sunday morning.
They trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes, before trading goals with the home team in the second period. Eric Callegari of Langley put the Hawks on the scoreboard three minutes into the session, but the Rockets struck for two goals in a 60-second span to make it 5-1.
Matt Bradley of Surrey set up Jakob Stukel of Cloverdale midway through the frame, then scored himself two minutes later to cut the difference to 5-3, both goals coming while Valley West was on the powerplay. Okanagan scored late in the second period and added two more in the third.
The Rockets also got off to a fast start in game one Friday night, taking a 3-0 lead before the game was 10 minutes old. Stukel got one back for Valley West, but a late Okanagan goal upped the difference to 4-1 at the first intermission.
Spencer Unger of Surrey scored the second Hawks goal late in the second period, a tally which made the score 5-2 for the Rockets.
It was 6-2 in the third period before Hawks struck for two more goals to end the game. Stukel notched his second, and White Rock’s Matthew Cox found the net with 93 seconds to play. Bradley finished the game with three assists, with Surrey’s Rhett Wilcox earning a pair of helpers.
Valley West trailed again after one period in Saturday’s must-win game, but shut out the Rockets the rest of the way. With the Hawks down 1-0, Unger scored a tying goal midway through the second period.
Surrey’s Cole Plotnikoff got the winner with two minutes left in the period, and Stukel added an insurance goal before the second intermission.
Jake Fletcher of Surrey closed out the scoring in the third period.