Sports

Okanagan Rockets battle Giants in BCMML final rematch

Defenceman Tanner Browne (right) and the Okanagan Rockets will visit Quinn Benjafield and the Vancouver Northwest Giants this weekend in the B.C. Major Midget League championship final. - Douglas Farrow/Contributor
Defenceman Tanner Browne (right) and the Okanagan Rockets will visit Quinn Benjafield and the Vancouver Northwest Giants this weekend in the B.C. Major Midget League championship final.
— image credit: Douglas Farrow/Contributor

Last March, the Vancouver Northwest Giants denied the Okanagan Rockets of the B.C. Major Midget League title.

One year later, the Rockets are getting a second chance.

The Rockets and Giants will face off Friday night in Burnaby in Game 1 of the 2014 BCMML final. Game 2 in the best-of-three goes Saturday night, with a third game, if needed, set for Sunday morning in Burnaby.

In 2013, an intense, hard-fought series in Burnaby went the limit, with the Giants earning a 1-0 victory in the deciding game and the league crown.

Okanagan GM David Michaud isn't the least bit surprised the Rockets and Giants are once again the last teams standing.

"I think it's probably fair to say when the season started, it's a matchup that we and a lot of other people expected to see," said Michaud. "It'd be wrong to say we haven't been looking ahead to this for a long time, because we have. Our goal all along has been to get back to the final and win it this time, and we'd like nothing more than to do it against the team that stole it from us."

The Rockets either led or shared top spot in the BCMML all season and it wasn't until the last weekend that the Giants slipped ahead to claim first place by a single point.

As much as Michaud would have liked to host the series for the sake of local fans and parents, he's comfortable with his team's chances playing on the road.

"I think it will be good for our guys to get out on the road and spend some time with each other," said Michaud. "We've been at home the last three weekends, so I think will be a nice change of pace and scenery. We know we can play with them, so it shouldn't make a big difference where these games are played."

The Rockets took the season series from the Giants 2-1-1. Okanagan won 5-2 and 2-1 in Kelowna, while the team tied 4-4 in Burnaby, followed by a 4-3 Giants win.

Michaud said there isn't much to choose between the sides.

"Last year, we were the underdogs, but this year I think we could call this a dead heat," he said. "We've been neck-and-neck all year and I don't see it being any different this weekend."

The Rockets are led up front by rookie phenom Tyson Jost, who has a strong supporting cast including fellow rookie Jake Kryski, Liam Finlay and Tanner Campbell.

Colton Kerfoot is Vancouver's most dangerous weapon up front, but the key to the Giants' success, according to Michaud, is standout rookie blueliner Dante Fabbro.

"He's the kind of player where his team's success starts and ends with (Fabbro)," Michaud said. "They lean pretty heavily on three guys on their back end, so we think maybe that could be advantageous for us."

All three games of the BCCML final will be available via pay per view at www.playfullscreen.com

Jost player of month…

Rockets' rookie Tyson Jost has been named the BCMML's player of the month for February.

The 16-year-old St. Albert native and Everett Silvertips draft pick scored 15 goals and had 26 points in eight games during the month.

The solid four weeks of play helped pushed Jost to the BCMML scoring title. Jost set club records with 44 goals and 88 points.

 

 

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