The Aldergrove Kodiaks’ mighty defenceman Stefan Gonzales has been an outstanding asset for the junior hockey team all season but he’s also contributing more than his share to the playoffs run.
On Sunday night (March 10) Gonzales netted the game four winning goal over the Abbotsford Pilots in double-overtime to put the Kodiaks up 3-1 in the semi-finals. Assisted by Ryan Veillet and Kenny Prato, Gonzales fired the puck low and it zipped past keeper Aaron Oakley to end the game 4-3 at 3:33 in the second overtime.
It followed Friday’s double-overtime win in which Kodiak Brandon Dolby scored the winner at 7:58 in the second overtime, to end the game at 5-4.
The Pilots had opened the series with an 8-1 bruising of the Kodiaks, March 5, however, the Kodiaks evened it up with a 4-2 win the next night.
The Pilots now face the daunting challenge of having to win all three of the potential remaining games in the series, while the Kodiaks just need one more win.
Gonzales earned the well-deserved game first star on Sunday, while keeper Mark Menicucci received third star. Gonzales also earned third star for his production on Friday night, which included a first period power play goal and an assist on the third period’s tying goal.
Gonzales, of Surrey, was also named the Best Defenceman in the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s year-end awards last week. He scored 13 goals and added 30 assists in 44 games with the Aldergrove Kodiaks, finishing the season as the highest-scoring blue-liner in the league.
In addition, Kodiaks coach Ron Johnson (in photo at left) was named PJHL Coach of the Year, while Pilots goalie Aaron Oakley was named Most Valuable Player. Recipients of individual awards are selected by the member clubs and officers, based on their performance during regular season play.
Game three was even with 43 shots on goal apiece, and the Kodiaks scored on three of seven power plays while the Pilots scored on two of five. Brandon Dolby was the game’s first star for the game clinching goal.
Scorers for Aldergrove were Gonzales (assists Daniel Higgs and Stephen Ryan) in the first, Kenny Prato (assists Ryan Simpson and Adam Callegari) in the second, Ryan Simpson (assists Prato and Schwarz) and Stephen Ryan (assist Gonzales) in the third, and Brandon Dolby (assists Callegari and Prato) in overtime.
The Pilots outshot the Kodiaks 46-39 on Sunday’s game four and scored on three of six power plays while the Kodiaks scored on one of six.
Scorers for Aldergrove were Kodi Schwarz (assists from Prato and Adam Callegari) in the first, Ryan Ziadie (assists from Spencer McHaffie and Prato) in the second, Spencer McHaffie (unassisted) in the third, and Gonzales (assists Veillet and Prato) for the overtime goal.