Two goals and two assists from Gage Goncalves helped lead the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds’ to a decisive game three victory on Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Thunderbirds rally, rout Giants to advance to championship series

Fraser Valley major midget hockey league continues to soar to new heights

Trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes and with their season on the line, there was no panic in the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds dressing room.

The Thunderbirds were hosting the Vancouver Northwest Giants in the third and final game of the best-of-three BC Major Midget Hockey League semifinal series on Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

The Giants won game one 4-3 and Fraser Valley took game two by a 5-1 score, setting up the winner-take-all showdown, with the Thunderbirds prevailing 8-2.

A parade to the penalty box in the first period in game three — Fraser Valley was whistled for three minors and one major — helped the Giants jump ahead 2-0.

Fraser Valley head coach Peter Hay said there was no yelling or screaming in the locker room between periods, nor was their a special message from the coaching staff.

“At this stage of the year it is not the coach who owns the room, it is the players who have to own the room,” he explained. “The coach just guides the ship, but the players own it and they are really owning it. It is great to see.”

“They were really concentrated, really motivated,” he added. “They are competitors, they were hungry to win and they were not going to go down easily, that’s for sure.”

While the Giants had four power-play chances and scored once in the first period — compared to the T-Birds’ two opportunities (one of which was for just 21 seconds) — the middle stanza was a different story.

Fraser Valley would receive six power-play opportunities in the frame and took full advantage, scoring four times as part of a six-goal second period.

“Our power play just dominated … and we nailed the game down,” Hay said.

Fraser Valley would add two more goals in the victory.

Justin Plett (Abbotsford), Gage Goncalves (Mission) and Matthew Konrad (Abbotsford) led the way with four points apiece as Plett and Konrad each had a goal and three helpers and Goncalves had two goals, two assists.

Travis Halladay (Chilliwack) also scored twice and set up one other. Jake Mulder (Abbotsford) and Dawson Good rounded out the scoring with a goal apiece.

The win advances the team to the league championship this weekend, a best-of-three series in Prince George against the defending champion Cariboo Cougars.

The Cougars were 30-7-3-0 to finish second in the regular season while the T-Birds were third at 25-13-1-1. The Cougars won three of four head-to-head meetings.

This is the farthest the Thunderbirds have ever advanced in their 13-year history.

All three games are at Prince George’s Kin Arena with games one and two March 30 and 31, both at 7:15 p.m.

If necessary, game three would be April 1 at 10:15 a.m.

The victor of this series will play the Alberta champion with a spot at the Telus Cup — Canada’s midget national championship in Ottawa — on the line.



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Jake Mulder scored once in the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds’ 8-2 victory on Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre in the third and deciding game of the BC Major Midget Hockey League semifinals. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

A goal and three assists from Matthew Konrdad helped Fraser Valley Thunderbirds’ rout the Vancouver Northwest Giants on Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre in the third and deciding game of the BC Major Midget Hockey League semifinals. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Just Posted

Langley takedown linked to murder conspiracy case

Dramatic arrest was part of Taskforce Tourniquet, a multi-agency police gang investigation

Aldergrove community stakeholders react to town centre plans

‘The mall has been an eyesore for many years,’ says Home Hardware owner

WATCH: Langley teen singer a finalist in international competition

Langley’s Sean Thomas, 17, is a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.

Music students to stage protest performances in Langley

Sunday demonstration planned to oppose budget cuts at Kwantlen Polytechynic University

Langley Mustangs runner sets Canadian record

Sarah Inglis celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a standout performance at the Canadian All Comers race

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Two men charged in Lower Mainland grocery store stabbing in 2018

Coquitlam RCMP say the incident is ‘believed to be targeted’

Number of homeless deaths more than doubled in B.C. as opioid crisis set in

New data shows trend between more overdose deaths and the number of people dying in the street

Most Read