Photo by Chung Chow
Wait til next year is a common cry in the sports vernacular, but there’s plenty of reason for the Richmond Sockeyes to truly believe.
A team featuring 10 first-year players came within an eyelash of upsetting the favoured Grandview Steelers in the opening round of the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs. Richmond dropped a 3-2 decision to Grandview in the deciding game of the best-of-seven series Sunday at Burnaby Winter Club.
The Sockeyes outshot the Steelers 41-26 in the game but were foiled by Grandview goalie and the game’s first star Matteo Paler-Chow.
“It was one of the better seven-game series we’ve seen in this era,” said Richmond club president Doug Paterson. “In the final game, for whatever reason, we had a slow start in the first 10 minutes (and an early 2-0 deficit) then I think we outplayed them the rest of the game. But when you dig a hole like that and come up against that kind of goaltending it’s tough sledding. If we had gotten any breaks (throughout the series) I think we would have won, but that’s hockey. The guys can hold their heads high.”
Grandview never trailed in the series but also never held more than a one-game lead. The home teams won all their games, with Grandview taking the opener 3-1 at Burnaby and Richmond rebounding to win Game 2 the following night by a 7-1 score at Minoru Arenas. Grandview won Game 3 by a 3-2 count but the Sockeyes again tied the series by winning the fourth game 5-4 in triple overtime. Grandview took a three-games-to-two lead by winning the fifth game 3-2 in overtime but the Sockeyes again evened the series with a 3-2 OT win of their own Feb. 23.