Sockeyes split with Steelers

Rudi Thorsteinson - Don Fennell photo
Rudi Thorsteinson
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

After last Tuesday’s impressive victory over the Delta Ice Hawks at the Ladner Leisure Centre, it appeared the Richmond Sockeyes had regained the form that has seen the team dominate the Pacific Junior Hockey League for the last several seasons.

Their skillset was undeniable and they were playing with great determination.

But last Thursday they suffered a setback losing 4-3 to the Grandview Steelers—giving up three goals in just over two-and-a-half minutes early in the third period. Though the Sockeyes won  3-1 in a rematch between the teams Sunday at Burnaby Winter Club,  there were similar flaws.

“I don’t feel our focus was there through six periods like it had been the previous five games,” said Sockeyes’ coach Aaron Wilbur. “But I guess it’s all part of going through a season.”

Wilbur thought the Sockeyes wasted what was one of their best starts in last Thursday’s game. But he credited the Steelers for pouncing on the first-period bounce they got to take a 1-0 lead.

“At that point we kind of took our foot off the pedal and just werent’ that sharp,” he said. “It was the same thing in Grandview only in the first were weren’t sharp though our third was good.

Continued Wilbur: “We didn’t play our best, to our strengths and system. The score isn’t indicative of how you play sometimes.”

Wilbur also spoke of the importance of consistency, while recently mulling over how to approach the team at practice.

“I was listening to a podcast featuring (Canucks’ general manager Mike) Gillis. He was asked about players on the farm team and he said the only real difference between the AHL and NHL players—minus the superstars—is developing consistency. That probably rings true in many things in life. As a team we’ve talked about being able to be at our best when it counts most, confident we can string together 21 of our best periods and posibly more in a playoff series. You can break it down as much as you want, but at the end of the day you’ve got to play your game. If you do that you don’t have to worry too much about others.”

•Richmond hosts North Vancouver Wolf Pack at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday at Minoru Arenas.

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