By Steve Erickson/Richmond Sockeyes
The productivity of scoring continues to be one of the strong points for the Sockeyes as well as getting a strong performance in net from Calgary’s Thomas Popa.
His season started off playing in the first six regular season games allowing 16 goals while facing 164 shots with a Save % of 0.902 and a goals against average of 2.67. Entering game five of the regular season would be a real test for the squad knowing that in order maintaining their domination meant staying focused and playing a full sixty minutes.
North Van had ideas of their own knowing that they were facing a team that has explosive fire power from all areas of the ice and continues to chase rebounds that might be kicked out. Vernon’s Nick Noren continued to set a record pace opening with his first of three on the night at 1:42 with assists from Lin (5) and Stewart’ 2nd of the early season. The lead was short-lived with the Wolf Pack getting two of their own as Hunter evened the game at one at 3:12 followed by Cruz getting his first of the season on the power play with North Van holding a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. The first saw penalty trouble for Richmond taking five of the seven minor’s assessed while North Van was outshot 18-12 after one.
The second saw Matthew Stewart (first of the season) at 13:47 followed by Justin Grant’s fourth while both teams traded a pair of minors and Richmond outshooting North Van by a 17-7 margin and 35-19 after two. The third saw Teo Lin get his 3rd on the PP at 3:28 with McIntyre and Grant doing all the hard work setting him up while on the PP only to have North Van’s Matthew Carniel make it a 4-3 contest.
With the game on the line discipline would play a key role in the outcome that saw both teams trade three penalties that would see North Van pull Bencsik a couple of times looking for the equalizer in the late stages. With the net empty Lin jumped on a loose puck in front of the penalty box breaking in on the right side sliding one across to Noren who got his 2nd of the game and the insurance goal at 18:38. Give credit to North Van as they never quit pulling Bencsik again only to have Noren get his hat-trick goal at 19:28 giving Richmond their 5th consecutive win maintaining the perfect record.
The third saw Popa face 18 shots while North Van’s Bencsik faced 14 with Richmond outshooting North Van 53 to 33 through 60 minutes.
- 1st Nicholas Noren (3G/0A)
- 2nd Teo Lin (1G/3A)
- 3rd Matthew Carniel (1G/0A0)
Continuing a winning streak isn’t easy for any team but having the motivation to keep the “streak alive” says it all and for the Sockeye’s it’s playing a full sixty and having a no-quit attitude. Playing rival’s White Rock Whalers they knew it wouldn’t be an easy task considering their last meeting was a 5-3 win on home ice outshooting the Whalers by a 44-23 margin in a game that got a later start due to the previous game.
Playing perfect in the first five games grabbing 38 goals while allowing 16 was one key that the coaching staff was focused on entering a key game that more than ever they needed a win to keep even with the Ice Hawks. This game saw Thomas Popa get his fifth start while Keegan Maddocke started in his 5th game for the Whalers who were in need of a win. Alex Kielmann started the scoring off for Richmond getting his 2nd of the season with Lind and Grishin giving the visitors the early lead.
The Whalers are looking to have a repeat of last season that saw Nathan Bran open the scoring at 11:34 followed by one from Max Lyons getting a solo goal at 14:25 taking a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes. Richmond continued to outshoot the opposition 18-10 after one that saw the Whalers Jeevin Bal get his 1st of the season putting them up 3-1 in a contest that had the look of an early win for White Rock. Penalties proved costly allowing Richmond to pull within one at 5:09 with Noren continuing to be the scoring machine getting his 8th on the PP quickly followed up with the tying goal from Mattias Uyedia who got his first of the early season.
Pressure is one aspect that the Sockeyes have been consistent with this season that saw Daniel Zhou get his first of the season finishing the second by a 4-3 lead and outshooting the Whalers by a 36-18 margin. The Whalers continued to find their way to the penalty box giving the Sockeyes another PP that saw Gavin Bains get his 2nd of the season at 11:39 with helpers from Rajun Parman and Willian Huo. Holding a 5-3 lead would be hard pressed for the Sockeyes with Whalers Dylan Heer get his first of the season set up from Jonah Ussher.
The Whalers continued to throw shots at the net from all areas of the ice with many missing the target pulling Maddocks for the extra skater while of the PP with McComb in the “sin-bin” for holding. Pulling Maddocks gave them a two-man advantage saw them give the puck away that allowed Nicholas Noren to get his 9th of the season giving the Sockeyes a 6-4 win keeping their six game winning streak alive.
The true task for the Sockeyes comes as they play their cross-town rival the Delta Ice Hawks in the first “tunnel” series contest September 26th at Delta’s Ladner Leisure Centre with the face-off set for 7:35 pm. The Sockeyes next home game is September 28th against the Port Moody Panthers with a 7 pm start time.
- 1st Nicholas Noren (2G/0A)
- 2nd Rajun Parmar (0G/2A)
- 3rd Jeevin Ball (1G/1A)