The Okanagan Rockets open up the BCMML semi finals on Friday night when they take on their long-time rival, the Valley West Hawks.
The Rockets are coming off of an exhilarating 1st round playoff sweep of the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds. Okanagan came out with a 5-2 win on Friday night at Prospera Place, scoring three goals in the 3rd period to push them to a 1-0 series lead. Game #2 was again another huge third period where the Rockets scored twice, including a goal from Lucas Cullen with 1:43 remaining to secure a 3-2 win and a birth into the BCMML semi finals.
The Hawks were also the beneficiaries of a 1st round sweep over the Greater Vancouver Canadians. Each of the games were complete blowouts with Game #1 going from Sungod Arena in Delta and the Hawks earning an 8-1 victory and a 1-0 series lead. Valley West capped off their 1st round sweep with a dominating 9-0 win on Sunday in New Westminster to pick up the sweep.
The Rockets held a 1-3-0 record against the Hawks in four meetings in the 2015/16 regular season with a split and a sweep factoring into the season series. The Rockets would win the opening game between the two teams in early November with a 6-4 victory before Valley West would complete a split by earning a 7-2 decision to round out the weekend in Kelowna. The Hawks would sweep the Rockets in early February on the lower mainland with 4-1 and 5-2 victories.
The Rockets had their veterans step up last weekend with Zach Erhardt potting three goals and Lucas Cullen coming through with a two goal, two assist series, not to mention the series-clinching goal in Game #2’s victory. Chase Stevenson also lead the Rockets charge offensively with two goals and an assist. Okanagan, while scoring 8 goals over the two games, defending their goal very well, allowing just 39 shots over the 120 minutes of hockey played.
The Hawks rolled their way through the Canadians, outscoring GVC 17-3 over the two game sweep. Ilijah Colina led the way offensively for the Hawks over the two games with four goals and three assists for seven points while Luka Burzan compiled two goals and five assists for seven points as well. BCMML leading goal scorer in the regular season, Ben Evanish, picked up two goals and four assists for six points and rounded out the high-flying Hawks offensive weekend.
This will mark the 3rd playoff series between the Rockets and Hawks in each teams history, with the Rockets winning both by a two games to one decision. Okanagan beat Valley West in the quarterfinals in 2013 before winning in the semi finals in 2014 en route to a Telus Cup National Bronze Medal. This series marks the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons that the Rockets and Hawks have met up in the postseason.
The Rockets and Hawks will play Game #2 of this best-of-three semi final series Saturday night from the South Surrey Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 pm with the action streaming live on www.playfullscreen.com.