Their battle for home ice in the BC Hockey Major Midget League (MML) will likely go down to the last weekend of the season.
The Valley West Hawks took to the ice last weekend looking for a pair of wins to climb into third place in the 13-team league. But after two losses to the Vancouver Chiefs, the team of elite 15-17 year-olds finds itself in sixth position, but still just two points away from fourth position.
“It was a tough weekend,” said Hawks head coach Jessie Leung. “For only the third time all season, we lost both games (on the same weekend), this one to one of the hottest teams in the league.”
The Hawks were drubbed 11-5 Saturday evening in Coquitlam, then fell 7-2 in the rematch Sunday at the Langley Events Centre.
Their record fell to 18-12-6 (won-lost-tied), and with 42 points, they are one back of the Vancouver Canadians and two back of the fourth-place Okanagan Rockets. The Chiefs are now five points clear of the Hawks in third place, with four games remaining on the schedule.
The top four teams in the MML will host a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
“Saturday was a game we were chasing the whole way,” said Leung. “The teams combined for 82 penalty minutes and we lost the special teams battle. The Chiefs played really well. They never let up.”
Surrey’s Jeffrey Stewart and Semiahmoo Minor Hockey’s Trevor Ayre each had a goal and two assists in the loss in Coquitlam. Ben Evanish, Daniel Watson and Logan Webber, all from Semiahmoo, netted a goal each.
The Chiefs led 3-2 after one period and 7-4 after two.
On Sunday afternoon, Valley West got off to a better start but still came up short. Langley’s Christian Bosa banged home his own rebound just 26 seconds into the game for an early Hawks lead.
Just four seconds later, the score was tied after the Chiefs converted a breakaway opportunity.
Ayre put Valley West up 2-1 after 20 minutes, with James Malm of Langley earning his second assist of the game. The Chiefs tallied two unanswered goals in the second period to take a 3-2 lead into the final frame, where they added four more goals to their total.
“Sunday was a game that got away from us,” said Leung. “You need to seize the moment at key times in the game. We weren’t able to do it Sunday and the Chiefs did.”
Valley West will play their final two home games of the season at the Langley Sportsplex next weekend, hosting the 17-16-3 South Island Royals at 12:45 p.m. Saturday and 9:15 a.m. Sunday.
They close out the season with two games on Vancouver Island against the North Island Silvertips a week later.
The Hawks will be without coach Leung and leading scorer Malm for the final four games, as the two will join Team BC at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George.