Game one of the Tom Shaw Conference final went to the Richmond Sockeyes as they defeated their rival Delta Ice Hawks 4-2 at Minoru Arena on Saturday night. Richmond got on the board twice in the second period with power play goals to lead them to the 1-0 series lead.
Delta came off a hard fought seven game series victory over the North Delta Devils the night before. They played at the Kerrisdale arena just 16 hours before this game, and they certainly came into this game with lots of adrenaline. Glenn Ferguson was in net for Delta as he had won all three games he played in the Devils series. Kootenay Alder was getting another start in goal for Richmond and he wouldn't disappoint winning his fifth straight playoff game to give Richmond the 1-0 series lead.
The game started with lots of intense action at both ends of the rink, these two teams of course meeting for the second straight time in the Conference Final. Richmond won last years contest in seven games. The Ice Hawks had the better chances in the first period as they were putting lots of pressure on Richmond inside their own zone. This pressure would eventually lead to the games and series first goal as Spencer Traher found Mitch Pacey in the slot and he fired the puck on goal, the rebound came to Anthony Brito and he whacked the puck on goal and it slipped past Alder for the 1-0 lead. This was Brito's team leading fifth goal of the playoffs. The First period ended with Delta up 1-0 and outshooting Richmond 19-12.
The second period got underway with the Ice Hawks quickly jumping to a number of good chances. The best opportunity on even strength for Richmond came off the stick of Sam Chichak as he nearly tied it but the puck hit the post and stayed out.
The game turned around after the Delta Ice Hawks took a too many men penalty at 4:59 of the second period. The Sockeyes power play which was lethal against North Van in the first round and was the best in the PIJHL in the regular season went to work. The Ice Hawks killed off the first minute of the power play but then a good job by Justin Rai and Ryan Cooper held the puck in as they worked the puck on the half wall. Rai got the puck to Kevan Kilistoff and he sent the puck on goal. Carter Popoff was right on the side of the crease to bang in the rebound past Ferguson to tie the game at one.
The Ice Hawks would again find themselves in trouble, this time as Aaron Merrick took a tripping call. The Sockeyes power play went back to work and Rudi Thorsteinson sent a beautiful top shelf under the bar goal past Ferguson for their first lead of the game. After forty minutes of play Richmond lead 2-1 but were being outshot 30-29.
The final frame got started quickly for Richmond as just 4:38 into the period Sam Chichak swung at the puck and managed to get it under the pads of the Ice Hawks goalie for a 3-1 lead. The Ice Hawks quickly responded though as Spencer Traher had a beautiful deflection as he tipped a Alex Martin shot past Alder to bring the score to one goal.
The rest of the period the Sockeyes played a very defensive, yet very disciplined game as they didn't take a penalty the whole game. Richmond wore out the clock and despite some late pressure by Delta, it would be Jeremy Hamagcuhi putting the game on ice with an empty netter to give Richmond the 4-2 victory.
The Sockeyes power play was 2 for 2 and they didn't give the Ice Hawks any chances on the man advantage, the Hawks scored 9 of their 22 goals against the Devils on the power play.
Kootenay Alder stopped 33 of 35 shots on goal and Glenn Ferguson stopped 33 of 36 shots on goal. the three stars were Rudi Thorsteinson(1), Kootenay Alder(2), and Kyzen Loo(3).
The next game will go tonight at the Harry Jerome arena in North Van as it will be recorded as a Delta home game because they could not get ice times at the Ladner Leisure Centre. Game time is 8:00 and be sure to follow the sockeyes twitter for updates. Game three will be Tuesday at Ladner Leisure Centre and game four will be back at Minoru arena on Thursday at 7:30.