T-Birds soar to provincial title

Fraser Valley major midget hockey team now hosts Lethbridge with spot at national championships on the line

Just over three months ago, head coach Peter Hay talked about how other teams had used their experiences at a prestigious invitation-only hockey tournament as a springboard to a great second half.

The Fraser Valley Thunderbirds can now add their names to that list.

It has been a season of new program successes for the major midget hockey league team and the latest accomplishment is capturing the BC Major Midget Hockey League championship banner.

“It is a surreal feeling,” Hay said on Monday morning, the day after his team returned from Prince George with a pair of victories against the defending champion Cariboo Cougars.

The Thunderbirds won 5-2 and 4-2 to take the best-of-three series 2-0.

The team has won four straight playoff games — they are 6-1 this post-season — and they host the Lethbridge Midget AAA Hurricanes this weekend in the Pacific Regional Championship. The Hurricanes are the Alberta champions and the victor of this best-of-three series will advance to the Telus Cup, Canada’s national midget championship.

Hay said his team’s lone playoff loss was a major catalyst in the team’s subsequent loss.

“The best thing that happened to us was losing game one of that series because that first game, the (Vancouver Northwest) Giants just came out pounding us,” he said. “That loss taught us what we needed to do to win.

“Everyone bought in and that was the key turning point in the playoffs.”

Against the Cougars — who had beat Fraser Valley three out of four times during the regular season — Matthew Konrad (Abbotsford) led the way with two goals and an assist in the 5-2 win.

Dylan Stoltz (Abbotsford), Jake Mulder (Abbotsford) and Will Dow-Kenny (Abbotsford) had the other goals while Gage Goncalves (Mission) set up three goals.

Jacob Wright (Langley) also had a pair of assists,

Fraser Valley’s special teams were the difference in game two as they struck for three power-play goals in the 4-2 victory. Justin Plett (Abbotsford) scored twice, including the game-winner.

Travis Halladay (Chilliwack) had a goal and an assist, Stoltz scored the other and Mulder added a pair of assists.

Dawson Pelletier (Hope) got the call in goal for both games.

The Thunderbirds had lost in overtime in late December at the prestigious Mac’s Midget Hockey Tournament to the eventual tournament champions.

The takeaway from the tournament was that Hay saw his team take their game to another level.

And that continued in January and February, as Fraser Valley placed third in the league and then won their first-ever playoff series.

Hay said he shared a quote from NHL legend Wayne Gretzky with his team about winning in the playoffs.

The message from the Great One was the team with the most ice bags at the end of the series is the team that can barely hold the Stanley Cup up.

“We all have to sacrifice and we have to put our bodies on the line, and every player has,” he said. “We are full of injuries, we are full of soreness, we have guys playing with bruises and that is really how you win these games.”

Hurricanes stand in T-Birds way

Lethbridge finished atop their division in the Alberta Major Midget Hockey League with a record of 24-5-6.

The ’Canes also outscored their competition 136-75.

And in the playoffs, Lethbridge is 10-2.

“They are fast, young, talented and skilled,” Hay said of his early scouting report. “It is probably going to be a battle of speed and skill (against) our age and strength.”

As of Monday afternoon, the Thunderbirds were still trying to secure a venue for the best-of-three series.



sports@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

RCMP, ERT attending incident at Cheam First Nation

Few details are available about the incident, which saw more than a dozen police cars attend

Chilliwack backs B.C. plastics action plan overall

Council is firing off a letter commenting on the B.C. plan to pare down plastics pollution

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Cultus Lake Golf Course hosts Ugly Pant Classic tournament

Inspired by Michael Cameron, the tournament is raising money to purchase a Paragolfer.

Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame reveals Class of 2019

Longtime Chilliwack Curling Club manager Bruce Renwick is being inducted as a builder.

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

North Van music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read