One opponent stands between Aldergrove Kodiaks and this year’s Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) title, which could be their fourth banner since the team’s 2008 inception.
After conquering two Harold Brittain Conference playoff series, the bears stood on the precipice of taking a third – against the Mission City Outlaws on March 4 in the Aldergrove arena.
And they took it.
The division-clinching game saw the Kodiaks snap a quick lead with goals from the sticks of Dayton Spink and Tyler Cannon in the first period.
By 6:55 in the second period, Mission tied up the game with two consecutive goals.
Just four minutes later, Aldergrove’s Tyler Cannon fought hard to break the stalemate with a power play goal and 3-2 tally.
The bears amassed four more successful shots within the same stanza by DJ Home, Carson Preston, captain Ty Pickering, and Lewis Nikkel.
By 19:10, the Outlaws fought back by launching two more goals – one on a power play – in the third period while Aldergrove players were subdued by penalty calls.
Head coach Chris Price said the game “was a wild one.”
Ultimately, Mission City players couldn’t catch Aldergrove’s one-point lead. The third period saw the Kodiaks slam one last goal at 10:34 by Cannon, pushing up scoreboard figures to 7-5 for the bears.
Price said reaching the league-winning playoffs series is a reflection of the team’s hard work.
Aldergrove will now face the winners of the Tom Shaw Conference PJHL division – the North Vancouver Wolf Pack.
Since regular season’s Dec. 23 game, the Kodiaks have a nine-win record with one regulation loss – better than the Wolf Pack during the same span of time, Price said.
However, the North Vancouver opponent has clocked more wins during the entirety of the regular season – a record of 40 out of 44 games.
Both teams have won eight playoff games with one loss each.
The Kodiaks heavy-bodied athleticism and the Wolf Pack’s refined technical skill will make for “an interesting match-up,” Price said.
He recalled his last season as a Kodiaks player, when the team took the 2009/2010 PJHL league title at an away game in Delta.
“I was 19 then,” he said, just like many of the veteran players who will step into the team’s final match of the playoffs against North Vancouver.
“Anything is possible now,” the coach said. “The Kodiaks worked hard for this.”
The 2020/21 PJHL best-of-seven series final starts Saturday, inside the Harry Jerome Arena, at 7 p.m.