- BC Games
Sockeyes retain place among league's best
While most teams are forced at some point to rebuild, the best—like the Richmond Sockeyes—simply reload.
A seemingly slow start to the 2013-14 Pacific Junior Hockey League season, during which they won just one of their first four games in regulation time, was largely attributed to 11 first-year players on a team that is coming off a Western Canadian championship. But now six weeks into the season, the Sockeyes still have only dropped a single 60-minute game following a pair of impressive victories over the Delta Ice Hawks 4-2 Thursday at Minoru Arenas and 5-2 over the Grandview Steelers Sunday at Burnaby Winter Club.
“We’re getting there,” said Richmond head coach Judd Lambert, whose team is now 5-1-1-2 on the season. “We’ve still got a lot of things to improve on, but wins are always good. We played two good teams that work hard and we did what we had to do (to be victorious).”
Lambert, who returned to the bench after a year’s hiatus, expects the Sockeyes will battle with both the Ice Hawks and Steelers for the Tom Shaw Conference title all season. There’s also a strong likelihood they’ll also face at least one of the teams in the playoffs, he said.
“There’s not big gap between any of at least five teams (including Abbotsford Pillots and Aldergrove Kodiaks which sit one-two in the Harold Brittain Conference standings),” Lambert said.
The Sockeyes lost one of their top scorers this week when Trevor Stack—who had four points in five games playing alongside defence partner Adam Nishi—decided to give up hockey to pursue other interests. But the team hopes it has added to its overall strength with the acquisition of Jackson Waniek from the Aldergrove Kodiaks for future considerations. The 17-year-old instantly becomes one of the team’s top scorers with 12 points in his first nine games. The impending return of rookie Carson Rose, who hopes to play this Thursday when the Sockeyes host Aldergrove (7 p.m. at Minoru Arenas), should also bolster the offence. Rose, 17, had two goals in four games when he was sidelined by a separated shoulder.