Photo by Don Fennell
One of the great rivalries in local sport is back on tap Thursday in Richmond.
Delta Ice Hawks, currently the top team in the Pacific Junior Hockey League having won 22 of 24 games this season, faces the red-hotRichmond Sockeyes (15-5-1-2 and winners of five in a row, and six of their last seven) at Minoru Arenas. Game time is 7 p.m.
Even without the impressive numbers, this showdown would have been highly anticipated with the two communities on opposite ends of the George Massey Tunnel.
Richmond handed Delta only its second setback of the year Nov. 14 at Ladner Leisure Centre, blanking the Ice Hawks 3-0 as rookie goaltender Hardarshan Hoonjan stood tall with 31 saves. Siockeyes’ coach Steve Robinson called it a “statement” win.
Coming off an impressive 4-1 win over the Ridge Meadows Flames (18-8-1-0) last Thursday at the Minoru rink, the Sockeyes hope to continue their steady play. They’re slated to visit Harold Brittain Conference-leading Abbotsford Pilots (17-6-1-3) Friday night.
Despite their run of success of late, Richmond is surprisingly fourth in the Tom Shaw Conference as the teams above them continue to win as well. Grandview Steelers are second with 36 points and North Vancouver Wolf Pack third with 35 points, two better than the Sockeyes. However, Richmond has played a league-low 23 games, leaving them with three games in hand on North Vancouver and four games in hand on Grandview.
NOTES: Richmond has made a flurry of transactions over the last two weeks. On Nov. 20, the Sockeyes acquired the playing rights of Jason Mailhiot from the Castlegar Rebels of the Kootenay league for future considerations. On Nov. 26, the club transferred the playing rights of Austin Cook to Aldergrove Kodiaks for futures, and the following day traded Brendan Marfleet to Aldergrove also for futures. On Nov. 30, Richmond traded Seamus Collins to Chase Heat of the Kootenay league for futures.