Sports

Okanagan Rockets sweep Cariboo Cougars to advance to BCMML final

Okanagan Rockets forwardCarter Hikichi (left) and Branden Wagner battle Cariboo
Okanagan Rockets forwardCarter Hikichi (left) and Branden Wagner battle Cariboo's Thane Anderson in BCMML playoff action Saturday in Prince George
— image credit: Alistair McInnis/Contributor

Prior to the start of the season, management and coaches for the Okanagan Rockets had a hunch their team had all the ingredients to win the B.C. Major Midget League title.

After taking down the Cariboo Cougars in the league semifinal, the Rockets are now just two wins away from realizing that goal.

"We started the year feeling like we had a championship caliber team and now we get the chance to play for one," said Rockets GM David Michaud. "Its exciting to have all the work rewarded."

The Rockets will take on the Vancouver Northwest Giants in the BCMML championship series beginning Friday night at Burnaby Winter Club. Game 2 goes Saturday, with a third game, if needed, scheduled for Sunday morning.

The Rockets booked their ticket in the final thanks to a two-game sweep of the hometown Cariboo Cougars over the weekend in Prince George.

Against the league's highest-scoring offense, the Rockets executed a pair of solid defensive efforts into one-goal victories and the team's first trip to the final since 2008.

In the series opener Friday night, the Rockets edged the Cougars 4-3 as Spencer Hewson notched the game winner.

The following afternoon, Hewson played hero again scoring the decisive goal in the first overtime session as the Rockets triumphed 4-3 to finish Cariboo off in two games.

"We knew that we would have to adjust our style and focus on our own end, we were confident that we had the skill to bury our chances when they came to us," said Michaud . "I'm not sure I would have predicted a sweep, but we will certainly take it."

As for the Giants, Michaud said his team will need to be in top form to challenge for the BCMML title.

"Now we will go to work and prepare for a Giants team that is arguably the top midget team in the country," Michaud said. "With four games against them already in the books, we know the challenges they present, but we also feel like we know what it takes to have success against them. Its going to be a great championship series."

 

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