The Northwest Giants ended the B.C. Major Midget hockey league regular season with their best finish in years.
The Giants took three of a possible four points from the Okanagan Rockets in their final regular season series last weekend, beating the host third-place club 5-2 on Sunday after a 3-3 draw a day earlier.
The result left the Burnaby-based Giants with an overall first-place record of 34-2-4.
The Giants, with graduated stars Jordan Weal and Joey LaLeggia, posted their best-ever season in 2007/08 with a 36-2-2 record.
But records mean little in the post season, said Giants head coach Clint Thornton.
The 2008 Giants were upset by Cariboo in the semifinal playoffs, and it's Thornton's job to make sure that does not happen.
"Our new season starts now. The challenge now is to stay the course," Thornton said. "We have to remember we have a tar-get on our back and these teams are practising a system to beat us."
The Giants earned the draw with Okanagan thanks to two-point outings from the line of Jarid Lukosevicius, Jansen Harkins and Anthony Conti.
The visitors put forth a better team effort the following night.
Gavin Gould led the Giants with a pair of goals, including the eventual game-winner.
Lukosevicius had a four-point night, including his team-leading 31st goal of the year. Brandon Del Grosso also registered three assists.
Rookie Bo Didur chalked up his 22nd win of the year in goal.
"We have to bear down, this is about playoff preparation," Thornton added.
The Giants will have a week off while the regular season schedule is completed this weekend.
The Burnaby Winter Club-based team will then take on the eighth-place club in the opening round of playoffs the following week.