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Graduating Players Inspire Sockeyes

As tentative as they might have been to get game one underway the Richmond Sockeyes never took a day off as they patiently waited for the winner of the first round.

They would be facing their rival White Rock Whalers in a best of seven series in hopes of getting redemption from the match-up that saw them eliminated last season being outscored 20-10 in  a five game series by the same Whalers.

As with most leagues playoff dates are dependent on available ice time as their facilities that saw this series start in White Rock.

One might think that the Whalers would have the advantage given that they were playing on home ice and coming off a recent win.

Say what you will but that wasn’t the case given the explosive power that the Sockeyes have displayed all season in addition to their current winning streak which would continue in game one.

One are that no one can question is the dedication and desire of the five graduating players who are moving on in their career and have made a strong impact this season on the Sockeyes future and for that they are truly thanked.

Overall the series should be a “goaltending” battle with the Whalers starting Mark Paton while Richmond would go with Thomas Popa in a game that saw Richmond outshoot the Whalers by a 42-15 margin.

The game started with both teams being tentative while having chances only to be denied until Nicholas Noren opened the scoring at 19:32 of the first giving the team motivation heading into the second.

They continued to play aggressive with the Whalers running into penalty trouble setting up three in the second taking a 4-0 lead to the dressing room after forty minutes

The third saw more aggressive undisciplined play by the Whalers that allowed the Sockeyes to add three goals with each coming while on the power play in a penalty filled third.

The Sockeyes pulled out an impressive 7-0 win outshooting the Whalers by a 42-15 margin managing four goals on eight PP chances.

Thomas Popa grabbed another shutout win while Whalers Mark Paton faced 42 shots stopping seven in a losing cause giving the Sockeyes a 1-0 series lead.

Prior to playing game two the Sockeyes hosted their Annual “Mother’s Night” to show both respect and recognize the support they have given their Son’s in their career. 

Game two in the series was less than 24 hours later on home ice in a game that saw the Whalers get the early lead 1:59 in with the Sockeyes losing Mathew Stewart for a major penalty giving several chances to the visiting team.

The loss was felt through the roster but the team fought hard grabbing three in the first with Justin McKnight getting one on the PP followed by a pair of even strength goals taking a 3-1 lead to the room after twenty minutes.

We could sense the aggressive play developing from the press box forcing the Referee’s to take charge that set up another PP goal from Justin Grant at 11:17 of the middle period taking a 4-1 lead.

The longer any series goes the more aggressive it gets and this was the case in the third that saw the Sockeyes get another PP goal at 13:10 with Jonathan Soares giving them a 5-1 lead that saw Zach Zapanta add the finishing touch with his first of the playoffs at 19:01 for a dominating 2-0 series lead.

Heading back to the Centennial Arena for the Whalers proved successful for only the first two goals with Justin Osborne giving them the early lead to the delight of the crowd which would be short lived.

The Sockeyes got on the board with Rajun Parmar getting his first of three at 7:47 followed by markers from Teo Lin, Gavin Bains and Nicholas Noren finishing the first with a 4-2 lead.

The second saw Whalers Wesley Rowley pull within one followed by Parmar’s second at 12:01 making it 5-3 that would see Callum Lind making it a 6-3 game.

The second finished with Whalers Ethan McEneany pulling his squad within two at 18:38 sending the teams to the room with the Sockeyes sticking to the “game plan” set in place prior to the playoffs.

The third was more wide open than the first that saw Parmar get his third of the game making it a 7-4 contest that saw Noah Gibbons double up the score at 5:17,

The Whalers added a pair with both on the PP which would be all they could manage with Justin McKnight finishing the scoring sending the Whalers back to the drawing board pondering what and how to solve the mystery of the Sockeyes.

The win gives the Sockeyes a commanding 3-0 series lead as they head home to play a pivotal game four.


About Sportswave



Sportswave Productions is located in Delta, BC.
Sportswave promotes/broadcasts Amateur Sports within the Lower Mainland.
He was recognized by Ravi Kahlon, BC’s MLA Minister for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation in September 11, 2017.
In December 2022 he was Awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Pin.
Awarded Rotary Paul Harris Fellow Award for tangible for significant assistant given for the better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.
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