Sports

Sockeyes, Ice Hawks test mettle

Richmond Sockeyes’ goaltender Kootenay Alder gets set as Delta’s Anthony Brito seeks another scoring opportunity during Pacific International Junior Hockey League play Thursday at Minoru Arenas. Brito, the league’s leading scorer with 35 points in 18 games, was held off the scoresheet until 19:42 of the third period when his goal sealed a 3-0 Ice Hawks’ win. Richmond rebounded for a 5-3 win in North Delta on Saturday. - Don Fennell photo
Richmond Sockeyes’ goaltender Kootenay Alder gets set as Delta’s Anthony Brito seeks another scoring opportunity during Pacific International Junior Hockey League play Thursday at Minoru Arenas. Brito, the league’s leading scorer with 35 points in 18 games, was held off the scoresheet until 19:42 of the third period when his goal sealed a 3-0 Ice Hawks’ win. Richmond rebounded for a 5-3 win in North Delta on Saturday.
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

Sometimes the score doesn’t tell the full story, as in the Delta Ice Hawks’ 3-0 win over the Richmond Sockeyes last week.

While the Hawks were fully deserving of their 16th victory of the season, extending their overall lead over the Sockeyes to six points atop the Pacific International Junior Hockey League, the Sockeyes’ effort was equally proficient though they had nothing to show for it.

“I thought it was a real good game, and structurally a bit of a chess match,” said Sockeyes’ bench boss Aaron Wilbur. “I didn’t feel either team gave up a lot of chances and both were good on the special teams.”

But while the loss—any loss—stings, there were also a number of lessons that the Sockeyes can take away from the game, said Wilbur.

“There’s a lot of room for us to grow from a technical aspect and while I think our five-on-five game defensively is getting a lot better, it’ll get even better as individuals learn to tighten up their own games just by understanding how they can contribute more (in a defensive role).”

Less than 48 hours after losing to Delta, the Sockeyes outscored a North Delta Devils’ team 5-3 in its own rink Saturday.

The Sockeyes wasted little time getting going, with Scott Wessa opening the scoring on the power play at 7:27 of the first period. It was one of three power play goals the Sockeyes would net (in nine opportunities), with Jeremy Hamaguchi and Justin White also scoring with the man-advantage. Daniel Tait and Liam Lawson had the other Richmond goals.

And similar to their loss to Delta—only this time in the Sockeyes’ favour—the result was in decided the third period as Lawson scored at 15:13 and White at 19:44 to break a 3-3 deadlock.

Richmond hosts Ridge Meadows Flames Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Minoru Arenas, after which they’ll have a full week between games before playing North Delta in a rematch here Nov. 22.

•Richmond was without Derek Hughes last weekend as the talented forward played two games with the Penticton Vees of the B.C. Hockey League.

It was also a big weekend for alumni, as former Sockeyes’ goaltender Jonah Imoo (now of the Powell River Kings) was selected the top goaltender at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge played in Yarmouth, N.S. Imoo won four of five games for Canada West, his only loss coming in the final game, 7-3, to the U.S. on Sunday.

Richmond’s Troy Stecher, captain of the Penticton Vees, was also selected to the tournament all-star team. He was an assistant captain for Canada West and helped lead the squad to a 3-1 record with victories over the Czech Republic 7-0, Russia 4-3 and Canada East 1-0.

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