Eagles soar to championship
Halfway through the season, the Langley Eagles were a middle of the pack team.
But ever since the playoffs began, the team has been on fire, culminating with victory at the B.C. bantam tier 4 minor hockey championships in Windermere Valley last week (March 16 to 19).
"The kids just came together so well," said Eagles coach Kevin LaPointe.
"The way they played together, they peaked at the right time."
The Eagles won five straight playoff games to qualify for provincials, and then against the best teams of each region, they won five of six, with the lone blemish a tie during the round robin stage.
In the championship final, Langley fell behind 1-0 just a couple of minutes in against Kamloops. But the team regrouped and tied the score at one in the second period.
"It was a back-and-forth battle the whole way," LaPointe said.
"(But) we managed to pop two in the final four minutes to seal the deal."
He was referring to a five-minute penalty Kamloops took with the score tied at one and four minutes to play.
"We thought we had a heck of a chance to get to this point, to play in provincials," LaPointe said.
"This was our goal right from the outset."
In the team's round robin games, they opened with a 7-3 win over Alberni Valley on March 16 and then edged Kelowna 4-3 the next day. Day three began by doubling up Kamloops 6-3 in the day's first game and then playing Windermere Valley to a 3-3 tie.
The Eagles wrapped up their spot in the championship final with a 9-3 win over Fraser Lake on March 19 before playing Kamloops later that evening.
LaPointe said the goaltending was spectacular all tournament, and that the team did not let early adversity affect them.
"A couple of the games, we would let the other team get into the game with the early goal, but we always came back," he said.
"No one had any doubt that we could do it."
"It would just seem that once we got one goal, we would just roll along nice and smoothly."