The Alberni Valley Midget Rep Bulldogs captured the Division 1 banner on Saturday, Jan. 21 after a 5-3 win over Juan de Fuca at home.
After being tied 1-1 at the halfway point of their hockey game at Weyerhaeuser Arena, the Bulldogs returned to score three unanswered goals.
Juan de Fuca rallied back in the third period, and a late hooking penalty by Bulldogs team captain Tynan Smyth led to a power-play goal that brought them within one. Smyth made up for his earlier indiscretion by securing an empty-netter with 47 seconds left to go.
Their claim to the Division 1 banner came after Saanich beat Nanaimo later on Saturday, keeping the Bulldogs a point ahead of both teams and giving them the top spot in the division.
“I don’t think we played our best,” admitted head coach Jamie Wasylien. “But we battled back after being down at the halfway point.”
Playoffs for the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association begin at the end of this month.
“I expect nothing but the best,” said Wasylien of the upcoming games. “They’ve played hard all year, and it shows by winning the banner.”
He hopes the team will make it on past the playoffs to the provincial championships.