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

Two years jail for Chilliwack man caught with six handguns threaded for silencers

Judge rules guns found by Conservation Officer search were to be distributed for a criminal purpose

Wide variety of art for sale at Art from the Heart show

Student art show runs Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

Murder victim Jagvir Malhi was not involved in gangs, says IHIT

Investigators say Abbotsford man was ‘associated to those involved’ in conflict

Blues group Angel Forrest Trio at Bozzini’s in Chilliwack

Award-winning band from Quebec performs Nov. 28

Chilliwack Curling Club moves into new building

After 54 years next door, the Chilliwack Curling Club takes over a 30,000 square foot facility.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read