Faced with a character test, the Okanagan Rockets delivered the goods in the opening round of BCMML playoffs against the Valley West Hawks.
In the deciding game of the best-of-three set Sunday at Royal LePage Place, the Rockets came out firing from the opening whistle en route to a convincing 8-3 victory.
Cortlan Procter, 17, who set the tone with a goal just 89 seconds into the game, scored four times for the Rockets.
Liam Finley, Josh Blanchard, Cory Santoro and Brett Mennear also scored for Okanagan, which led 3-0 and 6-3 by periods.
Okanagan won the series opener 6-4 over Valley West on Friday, before the Hawks made things interesting with a 4-1 victory Saturday in Game 2.
It was the first BCMML series win for a Rockets team since 2006.
Rockets GM David Michaud said his club came to play on Sunday.
“There’s no doubt we felt a little sorry for ourselves for a few minutes after losing on Saturday, but the guys were quick to turn the page and showed up ready to play (Sunday),” said Michaud. “To be honest, I think the pressure was on (the Hawks) because winning two in a row in the situation they were in is really tough. We knew if we played our style and our game, we’d have success.
“Winning this series is great, “added Michaud, “but there wasn’t a lot of celebrating when it was over. Right from the start of the season we’ve had bigger goals.”
The Rockets next challenge will come in Prince George this weekend where they’ll battle the Cariboo Cougars in the BCMML’s semifinal round. Games 1 and 2 are Friday and Saturday, with a third game, if necessary, set for Sunday.
The Cougars won three of four regular season meetings between the teams.