Photo Credit Richmond Sockeyes
To the relief of some of the players the trading dead-line has come and gone without having any players moved out to other clubs.
This happens each season and can be a worry for some considering that all teams are looking at making improvements to their teams as they focus on heading into a long playoff run.
This year saw eleven changes to the rosters for various clubs with several changes that simply were unpredictable to many in the hockey world but all necessary to improve their run heading to the finals.
This season saw the Sockeyes stay with their “core roster” of players who have devoted and dedicated their season to playing for the Sockeye faithful fans who continue to support the local team.
Returning after the Christmas break saw the Sockeyes play host to the Port Moody Panthers who acquired the playing rights to Oleksandr Gutsu from the Delta Ice Hawks in exchange for the playing rights to Dawson Toledo.
The Panthers currently sit sixth in the Tom Shaw Conference while the Sockeyes continue to hold the first overall position in both the PJHL as well as the top spot in the Province Junior A Tier 2.
This game saw the Sockeyes start newly acquired Noah Stenvig between the pipes who faced 16 shots turning aside all but three while the Panthers started Lucas Poratto who stopped 33 of the 38 he faced.
This game saw former St. Georges Zach Zapanta open the scoring in the first at 10:30 with Gavin Sangara and Gavin Bains setting the play up from the back end.
The second saw Sockeye forward Bryce Strandt “kick start” the second scoring at 28 second in only to have the Panthers reply with a pair of their own with Daegun Chong and Tristan Lindsay even the game at two.
Richmond’s explosive power play unit “clicked” with Daniel Shou giving them a 3-2 lead at 5:09 after being set-up by Michael McIntyre holding the lead after forty minutes.
The Panthers pressed early and saw Carter Dickson take a stretch pass from Ty Balchen and Sahilpreet Deol pulling the Panthers even at 1:21 of the third.
As much as the Sockeyes pressed they were denied by the stellar play of Lucas Poratto that saw Justin Grant get the game winner and regain the lead at 11:20 only to be followed up by their fifth from Alex Keilmann at 16:57 to pull out the win in a tightly contested contest.
The three stars in this contest saw Justin Grant (1G/0A) named first star while Pantheres Daegun Chong (1G/0A) named second and Daniel Zhou (1G//0A) named third.
This was followed up by a visit facing the White Rock Whalers two nights later in a game that featured fast paced action with neither team letting up until the final buzzer.
Both clubs went with their starters with the Whalers starting Mark Paton while the Sockeyes started their number one Thomas Popa in a battle that featured several key saves at both ends.
Sockeyes Bryce Strandt opened the scoring at 7:59 giving them the early lead that they maintained until 19:20 when Nicholas Noren gave them a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes heading to the dressing room.
The second saw both teams trade a pair with Derek Leroux getting the Whalers on the board 18 seconds in only to relinquish it allowing the Sockeyes to get their third on the power play at 5:28.
The third saw more pressure for the Sockeyes as they were looking at keeping their winning streak alive but allowed Maxwell Kovach to pull the Whalers within one making it a 3-2 contest at 10:23.
Sockeyes Popa was forced to make some spectacular stops in the later stages of the third kicking out three consecutive shots from various angles keeping the Sockeyes in the game managing to pull out an impressive 3-2 win.
The winning streak continues as the Soekeyes have three games this coming week as the Whalers visit the “Fish Tank” for a return match the 18th followed by a tilt with Port Coquitlam the following night.
Saturday has the Sockeyes play their annual Alumni game with the face-off set for 5:15 pm