The Valley West Hawks have history within their grasp.
Just past the halfway point of their BCMML season, the Hawks lead the league with an 18-2-1 record after 21 games.
In those 21 games, they have scored 130 goals. If they continue to average more than six goals per game, they could break the goal-scoring record set by the Vancouver NW Giants.
That 2008-09 team led the league in goals with 246 goals in 40 games. It was a roster that featured two NHLers in Colton Sissons and the first overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Right now, the Hawks are on pace for 247 goals.
They’re doing it thanks to a balanced offensive attack, with a truckload of offence from their top two lines specifically.
Arshdeep Bains, Nolan Krogfoss and Max Mohagen have formed some solid chemistry as the season has progressed. Bains leads the league in points by a wide margin, with 57 points in 21 games.
His linemate, Nolan Krogfoss, is second in the league with a league-leading 21 goals and 45 points in 19 games.
During the first weekend of December against the North Island Silvertips, Krogfoss had nine goals over two games.
“Whenever you play a bottom team, you can expect penalty minutes to go up,” said head coach Rob Evers. “It allows us to get a lot of power play time and our first unit can make teams pay.”
Although the league doesn’t track power play statistics, Evers’ first unit, which features five forwards, has been terrorizing the league. It’s helped them become one of the most offensively-fearsome teams in league history.
Part of his top unit features his other offensive duo, featuring 15-year-olds Cameron MacDonald and Justin Sourdif.
MacDonald trails Krogfoss for the team lead in goals, with 20 of his own through 17 games.
“Cam’s biggest strength is his work ethic,” said Evers. He understands that it’s a year-long process, you’re going to have ups and downs throughout the season.” His commitment to off-ice work is incredible and Cam works as hard as he can every game.”
His linemate, Sourdif, also has 30 points in 16 games. Sourdif was rewarded for his strong play late in November when he got a call-up to play with the Vancouver Giants, who drafted him third overall in the WHL Bantam draft earlier this year.
The Vancouver Giants were complimentary about what Sourdif brought to their team, and Evers was also impressed by what he saw out of the promising young centre.
“He centered the fourth line and gave that line a bit more responsibility,” said Evers.
“Justin, in my mind, can contribute every day in the top nine on a WHL team right now. He’s going to be a good player for years to come.”
For now, Sourdif might be part of a BCMML team that could be remembered for years based on their offensive production.
The 2015-16 version of the Hawks, who were crowned league champions, had 210 goals by season’s end.
Hawks making changes
Even though they’re the best team in the BCMML, that doesn’t prevent Evers from making changes to his lineup.
One of the biggest changes he has made was his decision to shift life-long forward Walker Erickson to defence.
Despite his lack of experience as a blueliner, Erickson’s shift to the back end has been largely positive for both himself and the team.
“He’s never played there in his life,” Evers said. “Walker is the quickest I’ve ever seen someone transition from forward to defence.”
“The decisions that he’s making from the back end are unreal. Walker’s ability to think the game is a lot higher on defence.”
Evers shifted Erickson to defence as the hockey, in general, sees a new trend of quicker, more mobile defenders cracking rosters in the NHL.
The Hawks had a plethora of injuries on the blue line to start the season, which also prompted Erickson’s shift to defence.
Erickson is the second-youngest player on the team, and one of six 15-year-olds to suit up for the Hawks this season. Despite his rookie status, he seems to be showing a poise beyond his years on defence.
“He’s able to incorporate a better thought process on defence,” Evers said. “There are not a lot of defencemen that skate and move the puck like him.”