Playoff series on the road
The Hawks stopped the South Island Royals 5-2 and 8-3 in a pair of games last weekend at the Langley Events Centre, but the fifth-place Vancouver Canadians also won twice and remained three points up on Valley West after 40 games.
The Hawks will now advance to face the Okanagan Rockets in the quarterfinal round of the provincial playoffs, after posting a 19-15-6 (won-lost-tied) record. The Rockets finished in third place at 26-8-6.
All games in the best-of-three series will be played in Kelowna, where the Okanagan team has a record of 14-2-4. The first game is tomorrow (Friday), with the second set for Saturday. A deciding game, if necessary, will be played Sunday morning.
Okanagan won three of four head-to-head meetings with the Hawks this season. The two rivals split a two-game series in Langley Oct. 13-14, with the Rockets winning the first game 7-6 before losing the second 3-1. The Rockets swept the games in Kelowna Dec. 15-16 by scores of 7-0 and 7-3.
The Hawks had little with South Island in the two games last week.
On Saturday, they led 2-0 and 3-1 at the period breaks. Surrey forwards Jake Fletcher and Rhett Wilcox tallied in the first period, and Matt Bradley of Surrey made it 3-0 with a power play goal in the second period.
The Royals got their first goal before the second intermission, but the Hawks responded with goals from Cloverdale’s Parker Wotherspoon and Josh Pollock of Langley 19 seconds apart early in the third period.
Wilcox also had a pair of assists in the game to finish with three points. Eric Callegari of Langley also had a pair of helpers.
In the rematch Sunday morning, South Island scored the game’s first goal but were down 3-1 after 20 minutes with Surrey skaters Wilcox, Mitch Newsome and Darien Craighead netting the goals for the Hawks.
Jakob Stukel of Cloverdale scored twice Pollock added one to up the difference to 6-1 after two periods.
After the Royals started the session off with a pair of goals in a two-minute span, White Rock’s Matthew Cox and Addison Bazian of Kamloops added goals for the Hawks in the third period to complete the scoring.
Craighead and Cox collected four assists each.
Luke Stripp of Surrey was in goal for both games.
BLUE LINES: Wilcox finished as the team’s top scorer with 21 goals and 31 assists for 52 points in 40 regular season games. His goal total was second on the team behind Jakob Stukel’s 30.