A statement win.
That's what the Okanagan Rockets are calling their 7-3 upset victory over the first-place Vancouver Northwest Giants on Sunday at the Burnaby Winter Club.
Not only did the unlikely triumph serve notice the Kelowna-based team (12-2-4) is a legitimate contender for a B.C. Major Midget Hockey League title, but showed the previously unbeaten Giants aren't invincible.
"We had a game plan set for the weekend and I'm proud of the way our guys executed it," said Rockets head coach James Eccles. "This isn't an easy place to win (the Rockets hadn't won at the BWC since 2006), so to come in here and get three points is a good stepping stone for our group."
The third-place Rockets, now only four points back of the Giants and two behind the second-place Cariboo Cougars, were led by Josh Blanchard's season-high three goals and two assists against the Vancouver defence that was averaging just two goals-against going into the matchup.
Justin Marreck added his fourth and fifth goals of the season, while Brendan Wagner chipped in with his 16th and Brett Mennear with his 10th.
The Rockets outshot the Giants 43-25 in a game that saw them take a 2-1 lead in the first period and increase it to 6-2 before going into the third. Goaltender Brenden Mills recorded his sixth win of the year.
On Saturday, the Rockets and Giants played to a 2-2 draw, with Blanchard and Spencer Hewson scoring for the Okanagan squad. Mills was sharp again, stopping 19 of 21 shots.
The Rockets are at home this weekend at the CNC when they play host to the Fraser Valley T-Birds at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday.