‘Cardiac’ Eagles come through in the clutch

Langley shows late-game magic, clinches spot at provincial championships

The Langley midget A3 Eagles have been the cardiac kids as of late.

Competing at the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association final four championships, the Eagles needed some late-game magic to come through with the banner, and the accompanying spot in the B.C. provincial hockey championships.

The final four ran March 2 to 5 in Vancouver.

The Langley squad got things going with a pair of ties in their first two games: 4-4 against Whistler A1 and 6-6 versus Sunshine Coast A1.

And while a pair of ties may seem unremarkable on the surface, what made these results even more impressive was the fact in both contests, the Eagles faced multi-goal deficits in the late going.

Against Whistler, Langley was down 4-1 before rallying wit three goals in the final 10 minutes. And versus Sunshine Coast, they faced a 6-4 deficit with seven minutes to play and struck twice before the final buzzer sounded.

That set up a showdown in the team’s final game, against the host Vancouver A2 squad.

And this time, no late-game magic was needed as Langley doubled up their Vancouver counterparts 6-3 to earn a spot at the provincial championships in Port Alberni (March 17 to 21).

“Provincials were not as easy goal, but a realistic one,” said Eagles coach Ed Baker.

“But after winning a pair of tournaments earlier in the season, we knew it was attainable.”

He was referring to victories at events in Summerland in October and Portland in February against some tough tier 1 and tier 2 competition. The Eagles are a tier 3 team.

The team’s make-up has played a big key in their third-period success.

“The team’s strength would be a combination of speed, size, skill and determination,” Baker said. “Therefore allowing us to wear teams down in the third period.”

The team is also buoyed by having balanced scoring, a physical and mobile defence corps and very solid goaltending.

“What surprised us about this team was the first year (players) — nine of them — making the jump from bantam to midget and competing hard and playing a big part in our success,” Baker added.