They had to put in a little extra effort, but it paid off early Sunday morning (March 24).
The Cariboo Cougars will play for the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League (BCMML) championship for the fifth year in a row after defeating the Vancouver North East Chiefs in their best-of-three semi-final series, 2-1.
The team is looking for a second title in the last three years, as well as redemption after losing in consecutive games in the 2017-18 final on home ice to the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds, whom they’ll have to face once again.
Less than 14 hours later, Booker Daniel stole the show by completing a hat-trick, one goal in each period of regulation time, lifting Cariboo to a 4-2 victory and a ticket to the BCMML finals.
Devin Chapman was top notch despite the Sunday morning start at the Kin Centre, backstopping the Cats with 30 saves on 32 shots.
The 18-year-old has won all three starts in the 2018-19 playoffs.
Cariboo placed second in the standings this year, which means they won’t play any more home games.
Number one-ranked Fraser Valley swept their semi-final series against Okanagan, so the T-birds will get to host the best-of-three BCMML Finals this weekend in Abbotsford.
Game times at MSA Arena will be Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (3 p.m.), and Sunday if necessary (10:30 a.m.).
If they win the series, the Cougars will move on to the Pacific Regional Championships against the winner of Alberta's Major Midget League.