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

Veteran defensive back returns to Valley Husker house

From the Huskers to the Saskatchewan Huskies and back, Danny Mills returns to the BCFC

One in custody after dramatic Abbotsford vehicle theft ends with rollover in Chilliwack

Prolific offender Michael Joseph Hasell facing numerous charges

Chilliwack hammer thrower finishes second at nationals

Rowan Hamilton’s throw was less than a metre behind the winner at the meet in Ottawa.

City crews rip out landscaping at Chilliwack park over-run with drug use

Homeless man says revamping the park will only put vulnerable people at further risk of overdose

UFV Cascades baseball team holding Falls fundraiser

The Canadian Colleges Baseball Conference team hits the golf course to raise money.

Stolen sunshade puts damper on Lower Mainland woman’s pet-relief effort

Broken umbrella taken from White Rock lawn ‘within 10 minutes’

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Teen killed by train remembered for his love

Friends and family share stories of young Crescent Beach train victim

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read