Valley West Hawks goalie Josh Dias – who set a franchise record for wins this season – will look to backstop his squad to playoff success when the post-season begins Friday night. (Garrett James photo)

Valley West Hawks goalie Josh Dias – who set a franchise record for wins this season – will look to backstop his squad to playoff success when the post-season begins Friday night. (Garrett James photo)

First-place Hawks prepare for major-midget playoff battle

Valley West to face Vancouver NE Chiefs in first round of BCMML post-season

For the Valley West Hawks, finishing first in the BC Major Midget League regular-season standings wasn’t quite ‘Mission Accomplished’ but it could go a long way toward helping the hockey team reach its end goal – a league championship.

On Saturday on Vancouver Island, the Hawks defeated the North Island Silvertips 5-2 to clinch top spot in the 11-team league, meaning they’ll have home-ice advantage not just in the first round of playoffs, which begin this week, but throughout the entirety of the post-season.

Valley West finished the regular season with a record of 31-6-2-1 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss), which was two points better than the Cariboo Cougars, who finished in second.

The Hawks lost their second game of the weekend, to the Silvertips by an identical 5-2 score, but with top spot locked up, the team chose to rest the majority of their top players. Some – like key forward Nolan Krogfoss – sparingly, in order to help them reach certain individual milestones. Krogfoss managed to reach 100 career points, while leading scorer Justin Sourdif – a top draft pick of the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants – captured the BCMML scoring title, with 71 points in 35 games.

“The result of Sunday’s game wasn’t a big deal to us,” said Hawks head coach Rob Evers.

“It gave us the opportunity to rest guys, and everyone left really happy and really focused.”

As the playoff’s top seed, Valley West will have last line-change in two of three games each series, and should they advance far enough to where they face off against an out-of-town squad like the Prince George-based Cougars or Kelowna-based Okanagan Rockets, the entire series will be played in Surrey, thus saving the Hawks from a long bus trip or two.

“We had some internal team goals this year, like finishing first in the regular season so we’d get home-ice (throughout) the playoffs,” said Evers.

“In the finals – if we make it to the finals – we didn’t want to be travelling. We want to play our games in our own rink.”

In their own rink is exactly where their quest for a second BCMML title in three years will start.

Beginning Friday night at South Surrey Arena, the No. 1-ranked Hawks will square off against the eighth-seeded Vancouver NE Chiefs. Game 2 of the best-of-three series is set for Saturday, 2 p.m. at South Surrey Arena, and Game 3 – if necessary – will go Sunday at the Langley Events Centre.

During the regular season, Valley West had good luck against the Chiefs – who finished 31 points behind the Hawks in the standings. The Hawks won a pair of lopsided games early in the season, added another victory in February, but did lose once, 6-3, on Feb. 25 at Burnaby Eight Rinks.

Though the Hawks were without a handful of regulars due to injury in that loss, Evers said it serves as a good example of how prepared his team must be come Friday night’s opening game.

“(Chiefs head coach) Jamie Jackson has done a really good job with that team – maybe they finished a little lower (in the standings) than they thought they would, but they’re a team that’s got better all year,” Evers said.

“For us, we feel like we can play against anybody, and as long as we’re disciplined and work hard, we should get the result we want, but if our league has proved anything this year, it’s that anyone can beat anyone, so we’re going to be ready to go.”

With the exception of defenceman Kabir Gill – who Evers said is out for the season with an injury – the Hawks are expected to ice an otherwise healthy lineup against the Chiefs, which should come as a welcome change for Evers, who has had to juggle his lineup on-the-fly since mid-December, when a pair of key players, Arshdeep Bains and Hunor Torzsok, left for the junior ranks, and then injuries hit.

“Cam MacDonald was injured twice, Davis Frank injured his hip and missed some time, Nolan Krogfoss took a knee against Fraser Valley and missed a handful of games, and Max Mohagen played injured a fair bit,” Evers explained.

“So we’ve had our fair share of injuries in the second half, but… we’re happy that everyone is going to be back for playoffs and ready to go.”

The coach hopes the adversity his team faced as it kept its focus on first place will pay off in the playoffs.

“For me, it was really good to see who was out, somebody else stepped up and we continued to win games,” he said.

“Now, all 20 guys are focused on winning a championship so they have something to show for their year and how hard they all worked.”

BC Major Midget LeagueValley West Hawks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock RCMP conducted a point-in-time homelessness count on April 16 and 17, 2021. (White Rock RCMP photo)
Majority of White Rock’s homeless more connected to Surrey: RCMP report

Two-day count conducted in April located four unsheltered individuals; officers identify 24 overall

The College of Massage Therapists of B.C. says Van (William) Dinh, a registered massage therapist in Surrey and Langley, has had his licence suspended while an inquiry committee panel investigates allegations of sexual misconduct. (Unsplash photo)
Surrey massage therapist suspended amid sexual misconduct investigation

CMTBC received complaint Van (William) Dinh allegedly exposed ‘sensitive areas of the patient’s body’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford and Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux. (Contributed photos)
BC NDP ‘chose to create a system of chaos’ by holding back COVID-19 data: Cadieux

South Surrey MLAs criticize provincial government after BCCDC documents leak

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Vancouver Giants earned a 6-2 victory over the visiting Kelowna Rockets Friday night, May 7, in Kamloops (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants down Kelowna Rockets 6-2

Two short-handed goals for Langley-based team

<a href="Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning." target="_blank"></a>Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning. (File photo)
Man killed in fatal hit-and-run collision between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Body reported at 6 a.m., police close North Parallel Road, single highway lane as they investigate

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Most Read