Photo by Chung Chow
Richmond Sockeyes will have almost a month to reflect before resuming their hockey season.
They can use the time between now and the start of the Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament (the provincial Junior B championship which they’ll host April 13 to 15), to rest up, but also to strategize.
Despite a solid regular season in which they compiled the second-best record (33-8-1-2) in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, the Sockeyes ran into another juggernaut in the Delta Ice Hawks in the Tom Shaw Conference playoffs. The Ice Hawks, tops in the regular season with a jaw-dropping 37-4-0-3 record during the regular season, were worthy winners of the semifinal series in which they defeated Richmond four games to one.
A pair of Richmondites put the Ice Hawks over the top in the series-clinching 2-1 win in Game 5 Sunday at the Ladner Leisure Centre. Captain Gary Dhaliwal opened the scoring for Delta 1:29 into the first period, while Daniel Rubin netted the winning goal with just over four minutes to play in the opening frame. Jordan Funk cut the margin to 2-1, scoring the Sockeyes’ lone goal midway through the second period.
Delta, playoff champions a year ago, will face the Ridge Meadows Flames in the 2018 championship series. First-place finishers in the Harold Brittain Conference during the regular season, the Flames ousted the Abbotsford Pilots in five games in their semifinal playoff series.