Photo by Chung Chow
It was the game Richmond Sockeyes were looking forward to playing, and the victory coach Steve Robinson awaited.
With timely scoring and a 31-save shutout by rookie goaltender Hardarshan Hoonjan, his first in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, the Sockeyes handed the front-running Delta Ice Hawks just their second loss of the season Tuesday 3-0 at Ladner Leisure Centre.
“I’m happy for the team. We needed a statement win like that after losing a tough overtime game (2-1) to North Vancouver Wolf Pack (Nov. 9 at Minoru Arenas). It should be a good building point for our group,” said Robinson.
Connor Kavanagh scored what turned out to be the winning goal late in the first period. Brett Gelz on the powerplay, and Arjun Badh with under three minutes to play in the second, complete the night’s scoring.
Richmond (third in the Tom Shaw Conference at 11-5-1-2, and two points back of North Vancouver) hosts the Port Moody Panthers (5-13-0-1) this Thursday at the Minoru rink. Face-off is 7 p.m. Richmond is among six of the 11 PJHL teams with 25 points or more. Delta leads the way with 36 points after 20 games, Harold Brittain Conference-leading Abbotsford Pilots have 32 points through 21 games, Ridge Meadows Flames (second in the Brittain division) have 28 points in 21 games, North Vancouver 27 points in 19 games, and Grandview Steelers 25 points after 21 games.
Aldergrove Kodiaks sport the league’s best powerplay percentage, converting 25.3 per cent of their chances. They have scored 20 goals on 79 powerplay opportunities. Richmond is eighth with 17 goals on 105 powerplays, a conversion rate of 16.1 per cent.
Delta has allowed only 11 goals against, a league-best, in 103 shorthanded situations. With 20 goals against in 107 shorthanded situations, Richmond is fifth in that category.
The early league points leader, Richmond captain Tyler Andrews (who was held off the scoresheet in Tuesday’s win at Delta) is now tied for second with 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) after 18 games. Matt Oliver of Aldergrove (19 goals, 15 assists) also has 34 points through 19 games. Baylee Wright of Abbotsford (25 goals, 23 assists) in 20 games.