Sockeyes Media – Steve Erickson
The last half of November saw the Sockeyes outscore their opposition by a commanding 21-9 margin maintaining their first-place hold in the Tom Shaw Conference with 50 points through 27 games. They continue to be led by their Captain Matthew Stewart who adds 3 goals, 14 assists, 1 power play goal along with 54 penalty minutes through 27 games setting the tone for the rest of the team.
The game against the Steelers on November 16th saw them pepper 37 shots at Kermany while Grandview managed to send 21 against Popa who again continues to put his talent on display. The Sockeyes grabbed two of the three stars with Justin Grant (1G/1A) named the game’s first star while Mattias Uyeda (1G/1A) was named second with his continued stellar strong play in the back end.
This was followed up by a rare Monday night game against the Surrey Knights that saw the Sockeyes hammer 8 goals behind Mason Upton while Oliver Read allowed one that saw the Sockeyes control the shot department by a 48-34 margin. To the surprise of many Surrey jumped out with an early lead at 9:13 only to have the Sockeyes even the game at 10:50 ending the first with a five-goal performance holding a 5-1 lead after 20 minutes.
The second was far more physical with the Knights taking 7 penalties while the Sockeyes were assessed two outshooting Surrey by 37-19 after two. The third continued to be physical forcing the officials to assess 10 penalties with six to Richmond and four to Surrey with the teams trading one goal.
A short three days later they faced the Whalers in a contest that featured speed, skill and top goaltending from both Keegan Maddocke and Thomas Popa. There was no question that the Sockeyes were on a roll and were focused on maintaining first place in their Conference, jumping out with a pair of goals in the first from Callum Lind and Bryce Strandt. The second saw both teams continue to play aggressive skilled play with the Sockeyes assessed three minors in what might be called “off the flow” penalties allowing Quinn Orr to get the Whalers on the scoresheet at 13:19 pulling them within one. Third was a complete reverse that saw the Whalers give up two goals playing shorthanded that saw Jonathan Soares and Matthew Stewart setting up another “W” for the Sockeyes with a 4-1 win. Keegan Maddocks faced 29 while Thomas Popa faced 28 with the Sockeyes narrowly outshooting the Whalers by a 29-28 margin.
This contest saw the Sockeyes collect all three stars with Bryce Strandt (1G/0A) named first star, Justin Grant (0G/3A) named second and Callum Lind (1G/0A) named third. Ironically their next game was on the road against the Chilliwack Jets in a contest that saw them deliver 10 goals allowing 3 with the Sockeyes again outshooting the Jets by a 50-25 dominance in a contest with a variety of penalties assessed. Despite controlling the game any game in the PJHL can be best described as a “turning point” with the outcome being so unpredictable which only adds to the excitement of the league. The last home game of the month saw probably the most exciting game of the season as far as a “nailbiter” between two teams who were hungry for the win. The Wolfpack jumped out to the early lead with Kaj Burgess opening the scoring at 7:42 only to have Joseph Iannocone get the Sockeyes even two minutes later in a period that saw the Sockeyes dominate by an 18-5 margin in the shot department.
The second saw North Van’s JJ Pickell give them the lead at 17:32 in the period that saw Sockeyes Captain Stewart assessed a minor for Checking From Behind which was accompanied by a Game Misconduct. This alone was a huge loss for the Sockeyes in a contest that saw the Wolfpack get another goal at 1:35 of the third holding a 3-1 lead which saw strong defensive play at both ends of the ice. Sockeyes Nicholas Noren collected his 20th of the season bringing the Sockeyes within one at 9:31 with Teo Lin pulling them even at 12:27. The battle was on with Lin getting his second of the contest at 16:00 playing shorthanded while Daniel Zhou put them up 5-3 with 2:43 remaining. One would think that would be enough for the “W” but never say never as the WoofPack got a pair first from Coason Penman at 17:53 followed up by the tying goal sixteen seconds later with JJ Pickell getting his second of the contest. Clearly, no one saw this coming which saw regulation end forcing O/T with an exciting 3 on 3 hockey that saw Michael McIntyre hammer one from the left point on the PP giving the
Sockeyes the win keeping them atop in the standings. Teo Lin was named first star (2G/2A) while JJ Pickell (2G/1A0) was second and Michael McIntyre (1G/3A) was named third star.