It took seven games, four overtimes, and a Ice Hawks comeback, but the Richmond Sockeyes are you Tom Shaw Finals Champions. They defeated the Delta Ice Hawks by a 3-2 score on Wednesday night to take game seven and win the series 4-3. Eli Wiebe would score the series winning goal in the third period to send the Sockeyes to the PIJHL championship.
The first period had lots of chances for both teams but no goals, it wasn`t until 4:59 of the second period that a puck crossed the red line. Keenan Webb who has been playing great all playoffs long just kept rolling, scoring the game first goal. Rudi Thorsteinson was able to spring Web just past the blue line, Webb came right through the slot and fired a quick shot. He managed to pick up his own rebound and send it past Nick Enegrens pad for a 1-0 lead.
Eli Wiebe who only has one goal this series came up big right afterwards nearly giving Richmond a 2-0 lead, but just couldn`t sneak it underneath Enegren. The puck came back down into the Sockeyes end and Wiebe tripped up Cody Fidgett, Wiebe would receive two minutes for tripping. With the faceoff down in the Sockeyes end the puck was sent right to Konrad Sander who was playing defense on the power play. Snader fired a huge slap shot that was perfectly tipped by Kye Benjaminsen in the net, and past Aaron Oakley. The goal came just five seconds after the power play started and 34 seconds after Richmond took the lead.
Once again though in the last three minutes of the second period Keenan Webb scored his second goal of the game, this time from Brayden Low. Webb cut right in front of the net and Low sent him a tape to tape pass and he fired it past Enegren to send the Sockeyes to the intermission with a 2-1 lead.
This was the third game in a row that Richmond had a one goal lead going into the last twenty minutes, but in game five and six the Ice Hawks tied it with under five minutes to go. Richmond didn`t make the mistake of sitting back on a lead this time though. Patrick Hunter made a nice play bring the puck in on the right boards and just sent a fluttering puck to the net. With the puck laying in the crease Eli Wiebe drove hard as he could and slammed the puck into the net and sent the Sockeyes faithful into frenzy. They finally had a two goal lead in the second period, the only other time they had that was in game four when Siemens scored an empty netter to make it 5-3.
Yiou can never count out the Ice Hawks though, they kept persisting and once again as Kye Benjaminsen cut to the front of the net he tipped it past Oakley and it became a 3-2 game.
With relentless action inside the Sockeyes zone it was time for Aaron Oakley to step his game up and thats just what he did. Oakley made some game and possibly series saving saves in the final couple minutes. None bigger than a huge stop on Konrad Sander firing a hard shot that Oakley got with his glove. Time would tick down and after the Sockeyes chipped the puck out of the blue line the buzzer went and they swarmed Oakley`s net. The Sockeyes won 3-2 and won the series 4-3 as they now head to the MSA Arena for the PIJHL against the Abbotsford Pilots.
All in all this was a fantastic display of hockey from these two teams, just pure excitement from the first puck drop in game one until the last buzzer in game seven. This was showing just what Junior B hockey has to offer and hopefully we will see more of this next round.
Abbotsford Pilots are next on the list for Richmond, because if they want to go to the Cyclone Taylor Cup, the provincial Championships they have to get past the number one team in the Harold Brittain Conference. You know that their spirits are high as well, especially after coming back from being down in their series 3-1 to the Port Moody Black Panthers. Gmae one will go Friday at the MSA Arena in Abbotsford at 7:30.
If you can`t make it out to the game you can watch online at SockeyesTV www.richmondsockeyes.ca
Schedule as follows:
Game 1: Friday 18th 7:30 in Abbotsford (MSA Arena)
Game 2: Saturday 19th 5:45 in Richmond (Minoru Arena)
Game 3: Monday 21st 7:30 in Richmond (Minoru Arena)
Game 4: Tuesday 22nd 7:00 in Abbotsford (Abbotsford Recreation Centre)
Game 5: Thursday 24th 7:30 in Richmond (Minoru Arena)
Game 6: Friday 25th 7:30 in Abbotsford (MSA Arena)
Game 7: Sunday 27th 5:45 in Richmond ( Minoru Arena)