This game certainly did not go the way it was expected to, as the Devils came out absolutely firing and caught the Sockeyes sleeping. The Devils scored three goals in the opening fourteen minutes to take a 3-0, but the Sockeyes weren't down and out. Richmond scored eight of the next nine goals to skate away with a 8-4 game one win.
In a pre-game interview with North Delta Devils head coach Grant Armstrong, he described how he wanted to play in the first period as fast, intense and with lots of pressure. That’s exactly what the Devils did; catching the nervous Sockeyes completely off guard. Three goals in a matter of five minutes and forty-six seconds by Chris Manhas, Julios Ho and former Sockeye Coltyn Hnasen, put Richmond on its heels. At that point there were two power play opportunities that the Sockeyes failed to capitalize on, while the opening two goals by the Devils came on the power play.
Aaron Oakley was in net for the Sockeyes and it appeared as though there were a bit of uneasy nerves filling the line-up. The Sockeyes needed a spark, they needed a goal to get them back in this game before it became a rout. They got what they were looking for as Brayden low tipped in a Jessie Siemens point shot to break Alex Ahnert. The flood gates would open as he let in two more goals, by Jeremy Hamaguchi and Kamesh Goundar to tie the game at three a piece. You could see that the Sockeyes were back in fine form, playing with that intensity that they saw all year.
The fact that the game was tied could have been called a huge success for the Sockeyes, but with just over two seconds left in the first period, Jake Roder gave Richmond the lead. Just 2.7 seconds remained and for the first time in the game Richmond had a lead. Hard to believe after the start to the game that they had.
The second period had the Devils come out strong scoring just 38 seconds into the frame. Christopher Manhas notched his second of the game to tie the score at 4-4. Brayden Low just under two minutes later came streaking towards the net, cut in extremely close to Ahnert and roofed it past him in a tiny opening. This goal proved vital as it quelled any of the Devils confidence. Before the period was done, another goal would be scored, this time by Rudi Thorsteinson on the powerplay, he made a few beautiful moves around the Devils defenders to keep the pressure inside the zone. That sixth goal against would spell the end of Alex Ahnert's night, he stopped 21 of 27 shots and was replaced by Alex Wind.
In the final twenty minutes Aaron Oakley really stepped up his game, making some critical saves, one notably off a tip in front to keep the Sockeyes in the lead. Jessie Siemens and Kamesh Goundar added a goal each to tally the final score to 8-4.
There were three players who just kept finding their way onto the scoreboard at the Sungod Arena. Jeremy Hamaguchi came out with a goal and two assists. Rudi Thorsteinson had a goal and three assists. The player of the game was Brayden Low though, he had two goals, three assists, five points and the game winning goal.
Hopefully Richmond shook out all of its cobwebs after being down by three goals early on. They now wait until this Thursday where they will play at the home confines of the Minoru Arena. Game time is 7:30 PM for game two of this seven game series. You can also watch online on SockeyesTV, www.richmondsockeys.com