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Ice Hawks Advance

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Following the shock of defeat at the Burnaby Winter Club a short two prior the Ice hawks return to home ice with a game plan that simply say’s – finish the series off.

To the shock of no one the Steelers started Paler-Chow while Delta again went with Naylor and if there was ever a game that tested both “tenders” this was the one.

Delta see’s the return of Crompton, whose explosive talent was truly missed, while the Steelers saw the return of three key players who were out due with a nasty virus.

The game saw a “new official” work the game as the Referee and upon inquiring I was told that he had recently relocated to the mainland from Nanaimo, and while he never had lots of work, his calls were consistent allowing both teams to play exciting hockey with minimal penalties.

Hawks Head Coach mentioned to myself and Greg Bulloch “the boy’s are up for this game and were told to forget the previous game and stay consistent to the game plan.”

Which is exactly what they did, but on the other hand the Steelers played a more fast paced game attempting to get shots directed at Naylor from all areas of the ice.

While both teams had a game plan, it was Delta that played more of a fast paced uptempo game from the opening face-off, wrapping  up the first outshooting the Steelers by a narrow 8-7 margin.

It was interesting to see far more fans in attendance at the game, probably all due to the playing ability of both clubs with the talent level displayed by both teams in all areas of the ice.

The first saw both clubs trade minors with Delta taking the first at 5:36 only to be followed by the Steelers minor eighteen seconds later at 5:54 eliminating any possible PP goal the Steelers had their mind set on.

With the game being so fast-paced it was no real surprise that the first two periods were scoreless that again had Delta leading in the shot department through two outshooting the Steelers by a 21-15 margin.

The third was where the game became somewhat “testy’ with  both clubs playing a far more physical, aggressive style of play.

The infraction that may have started things to turn aggressive was the penalty to Marsh at 1:17 for Head Contact (2 + 10) which took him out of the game for twelve minutes.

This was followed by a heavy check that Cole MacEwen delivered at 4:36 where he was also assessed  two plus ten for Head Contact.

With MacEwen in the box any PP chance Delta had was nullified by a minor to Suprynowicz for an arrant high stick that saw him tag Paler-Chow directly on the mask when reaching for a bouncing puck at the side of the net.

Regardless of the penalties which were far and few between; both clubs continued to play an aggressive, physical, yet disciplined style of play in all areas keeping the game scoreless.

Delta managed to press with strong play from both Deymenjian and Rubin and managed to draw the puck back to Cuthbert on the left side that saw him rip a low shot “glove side” past Paler-Chow getting Delta on the scoreboard, giving them the lead.

If anyone was to score, I guess it was only fitting that the series winning goal be scored by Cam Cuthbert who recorded his 4th goal of the playoffs, giving Deymenjian his 4th assist and Rubin his 6th.

Delta continued to outpace and outshoot the Steelers in each period that gave them a final shot count of 35-23 through three periods.

With the clock counting down, you could feel the electricity in the air and as the final buzzer sounded the crowd went wild and the Ice Hawks joined Naylor in celebration.

As usual the teams go through the tradition hand shake and it was great to see Ice Hawks Coach Darrin Naylor embrace Paler-Chow who was literally in “tears” following the loss.

Naylor mentioned to me following the game “he’s a great goalie that has a great future in the game and he’s young and one day he’ll understand how this helped him grow both as a goalie and an individual.”

In conversation with some players following the game, they said they owed this to the fans who have supported them all season and for the players leaving, it’ll be a moment they will always  remember.

In both series games Jordan Naylor has played all 10 games recording a record of 8-2-0-0, while getting one assist in that time having a GAA of 2.00.

Three Stars:

1st Cam Cuthbert (game winning goal/solid play)

2nd Jordan Naylor (23 shots/exceptional play)

3rd Matteo Paler-Chow (35 shots/exceptional play)

While the Ice Hawks celebrate the victory and relishes sweet success, for the Steelers it’s a rebuild for the Steelers who look to come back next season, bigger and stronger in hopes of not only making the playoffs, but going to the league final series.

Delta’s next opponent for the PJHL Championship starts March 17th in Aldergrove followed by game two on March 18th also in Aldergrove with the puck drop for both games at 7:30 pm

Delta returns home for game three Tuesday March 21st and and game four March 24 with the face-off set for 7:35 pm.

Congratulations to the Delta Ice Hawks on reaching this pinnacle of success advancing to the PJHL Championship series.

If you live in the Delta area be sure to tune in to Delta TV when Greg Bulloch and I bring you the call of the game for all home games.