Sockeyes Media – Steve Erickson
With October coming to a close it was more of a Trick than a Treat for the Sockeyes especially with two games remaining in the month. Playing a complete sixty minutes proves at times to be more of a challenge than consistency but regardless they find themselves sitting in first place overall in the PJHL.
October saw seven games on tap as they won five and dropped a pair with one to the Delta Ice Hawks (4-0) and the other against the Abbotsford Pilots in a 3-2 shootout loss. Offensive firepower clearly doesn’t seem to be an issue considering that they outscored their opposition by a 37- 19 over the eight games as they look to continue their streak moving forward. The last home game of the month saw them host the Port Moody Panthers that saw them pull out an impressive 4-0 win outshooting their opposition by a 45-28 margin. The game itself was a fast paced contest with the Panthers throwing shots from various areas of the ice only to be denied given the fast reflexes of Sockeyes Thomas Popa. Despite the aggressive play of the Panthers it wasn’t until 16:37 of the first when Callum Lind put the home squad on the board with helpers from Captain Matthew Stewart and rookie call-up Ryan Kump.
The second marker came a short 11 seconds later catching the Panthers off guard as former St. George’s Zach Zapanta got his first of the season with William Huo and Eithan Grishin setting it up from the back end. The first saw the Sockeyes take command of the shots holding a 23-9 margin through 20 minutes while the second saw neither team turn on the red light with Richmond holding a 2-0 after 40 minutes. The Panthers had additional chances but continued to have chances but were denied only to have Richmond’s Jonathan Soares getting a “nifty’ set-up pass from Noah Gibbons giving them a 3-0 lead which was again short lived. Goals came in bunches and this contest saw the Sockeyes add their final goal of the contest with Kai McComb set up from Ryan Ashe and Bryce Strandt giving the Sockeyes a 4-0 win maintaining first place in the PJHL.
Final shots were Richmond outshoot the Panthers by a 45-28 margin with both clubs unable to capitalize on any power play opportunity. The Sockeyes wrapped up October with a short jaunt to Abbotsford taking on the Pilots in a contest that would be decided in a shootout affair that came down to the final shooter. Say what you will, every game in the PJHL is entertaining considering that no one can predict the winner based on league standings alone. Richmond’s Teo Lin got a lone goal at 14:28 of the first that saw the Sockeyes outshoot the Pilots 11-8 through 20 minutes. Abbotsford continued to press but were unable to get any past Sockeyes starter Oliver Read who was tested often and early forced to make some stellar saves albeit on only eight shots.
The second saw Sockeyes Jonathan Soares break in after an impressive set-up from both Eithan Grishin and Justin Grant while on the PP taking a 2-0 lead to the room after 40 minutes. Abby started the third with more jump than the first two managing to grab a pair from Connor Jarvis while on the PP at 8:03 that saw them pull within one. They continued to press, pulling their “tender” for the extra attacker that saw them get the tying goal at 19:59 forcing O/T that saw nothing determined in extra time. With pressure on both “tenders” Richmond’s three were unable to turn on the red light while Abby’s last shooter Ashton McDonaugh sealed the win for the Pilots.
Richmond outshoot the Pilots by a narrow 34-29 margin with each club managing one goal while on the power play. As the month comes to a close the Sockeyes hold sole possession of first place returning home to face the expansion Port Coquitlam Trailblazers November 2nd with game time 7 pm.