Aldergrove Kodiaks took down Delta Ice Hawks 4-2 on Jan. 29. By Feb. 1 the team rose to second place after winning plays against Surrey and Mission (Kurt Langmann/Special to the Star)

Aldergrove Kodiaks took down Delta Ice Hawks 4-2 on Jan. 29. By Feb. 1 the team rose to second place after winning plays against Surrey and Mission (Kurt Langmann/Special to the Star)

Aldergrove Kodiaks clinch junior hockey playoff spot

Head coach praises three-player defensive ‘shutdown line’ in wake of recent wins

Within a week’s time the Aldergrove Kodiaks have managed to go from fourth to second place in the Harold Brittain Conference Division of the Pacific Junior Hockey League.

Aldergrove head coach Chris Price credits the rise in rankings to what was once their biggest weakness – the ability to defend the net when they’re down one player due to a penalty, and to score when handed a power play.

“They’ve been doing a lot better,” Price lauded.

Most recently, Aldergrove took down the Mission City Outlaws 4-2 on Saturday (Feb. 1) night.

Notably, Aldergrove player Sydney Lee intercepted the puck from Mission City players and slapped in a howitzer, making the score 3-0.

And rookie Carson Preston took first star with two goals and an assist. Aldergrove’s Justin Ralph took third star with two assists.

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What some fans aren’t always seeing though is what Price calls the “shutdown line” of veteran defenders Dayton Spink and Hayden Vetterl alongside Cobe Dean.

They are players Price uses to counteract the strong offensive line of top teams in the league.

“They are unsung heroes,” the coach told the Aldergrove Star.

The Kodiaks have won eight of the last ten games they have played.

“It’s unreal,” Price added.

And having secured six out of a possible six points with victories over the Delta Ice Hawks, Surrey Knights, and Mission this last week – Aldergrove has secured a spot in the playoffs.

With three games remaining in the regular season, the bears are seeking any advantage they can get heading into playoffs, Price said.

On Wednesday, Feb. 5, the team will take on the Richmond Sockeyes.

On Saturday night, Feb. 8, the team will travel to North Vancouver to play the Wolf Pack.

The bears will wrap up their regular season on Sunday night with a game in Burnaby against the Grandview Steelers.

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