Langley takes second, advances to provincial championships
While no team or coach likes to lose, one particular defeat may have come at just the right time for the Langley bantam A3 Eagles hockey club.
The team was playing its second game at the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association final four championships, which were held March 1-3 by the North Shore Winter Club.
They won their opener, 6-3 over Coquitlam, but Langley, the top seed, dropped a 1-0 decision to the third-seed Port Moody squad.
"This was a shock to us as the number one seed," admitted Eagles coach Bob Woykin.
"(But the loss) provided spark for us and the kids came out with probably the best game of the season."
Woykin was referring to a 5-1 victory over the second seed North Shore Winter Club. And the victory was huge, as it allowed Langley to finish second in the final four championships — which was won by Port Moody — since two teams would be qualifying for the B.C. provincial championships.
The 10-team tournament runs March 17-21 in Dawson Creek.
Provincials has been the team's goal all season long.
"Our early season goal was that if we made the provincials, we would do our best to represent Langley well," Woykin said.
"But now, after being the number one seed in the lower mainland in our flight, we have the goal of winning the provincials."
The team has only lost three games since November.
"Our strength is our speed and our puck movement and our commitment to defence," he said.
"The players work so hard as a team defensively and that makes it easy to transition to offence."
The loss to Port Moody was the team's first only defeat, having beaten Vancouver in a one-game elimination and then taking down Chilliwack in a four-point series to qualify for the final four championships.
"This team has been successful because they have been driven to excel when they play stronger competition and that has helped them win the regular season banner, playing against A2 teams," Woykin said.