The Aldergrove Kodiaks are in tough after losing the first three of the Pacific Junior Hockey League championship finals to the Richmond Sockeyes.
The Kodiaks have to win all four of the remaining games in order to win, while the Sockeyes only need one more win to clinch the series.
The Kodiaks have managed to narrow the game scores in their favour after the March 20 rout on home ice that saw the Kodiaks lose 8-2. The Kodiaks lost 4-2 March 24 at Richmond’s minor Arena and lost 5-0 March 21 at the same venue.
The fourth game is Tuesday, March 26 at Aldergrove Arena (after The Star’s press deadline, see website for update after the game).
The Sockeyes dominated the March 21 game, scoring one goal in each of the first two periods and following it with three more in the third. Keeper Mark Menicucci was pulled at 50:31 after stopping 35 of 39 shots and backup Cole McInnes stopped two of three shots.
Sockeyes keeper Kootenay Alder was game first star for stopping all of the Kodiaks’ 29 shots.
The Kodiaks were in better form on March 24, although the Sockeyes were up 4-0 halfway through the second period. Kodiak Spencer Mchaffie finally got the team on the scoreboard at 18:53 of the second, assisted by his brother Scott and defender Stefan Gonzales.
Kodiak Adam Callegari scored the only goal of the third period at 1:03, assisted by Kenny Prato and Gonzales. Keeper McInnes stopped 28 of 32 shots and the Kodiaks were unable to score in the final minute with a man advantage after McInnes was pulled. The Kodiaks had 25 shots on goal that night, to the Sockeyes’ 32.
Sockeyes slap down Kodiaks in championship opener
The Aldergrove Kodiaks started out flat in their opening game against the Richmond Sockeyes, and paid for it with an 8-2 loss Wednesday at the Kodiaks home ice.
The Sockeyes were up 2-0 at the start of the second period and scored another before Kodiak defenceman Stefan Gonzales snapped in his team’s first goal, unassisted, as 12:29.
However, the Sockeyes then scored another three to put them up 6-1 at the start of the third. The Kodiaks rallied in the third and matched the Sockeyes for shots on goal, but only Kodiak Scott McHaffie was able to find the back of the Sockeyes’ net, assisted by his brother Spencer at 7:18. The Sockeyes finished the scoring with another pair for the first round win.
The Sockeyes totaled 54 shots on goal to the Kodiaks’ 42, and scored on three of six power plays, while the Kodiaks netted zero on five.
If needed, remaining dates will be Thursday, March 28, 8:45 p.m., Aldergrove Kodiaks at Richmond Sockeyes, Richmond Arena; Friday, March 29, 7:15 p.m., Richmond Sockeyes at Aldergrove Kodiaks, Aldergrove Community Arena; and Sunday, March 31 5:45 p.m., Aldergrove Kodiaks at Richmond Sockeyes, Richmond Arena.
The PJHL playoff champion will advance to the Cyclone Taylor Cup April 11-14 on Vancouver Island, competing against the host Comox Valley Glacier Kings and the champions of the Vancouver Island and Kootenay junior hockey leagues.
(Harry Hunt photo above): Richmond Sockeyes’ Eban Norman #3 and Aldergrove Kodiaks’ Stefan Gonzales #77 in game one of the PJHL Finals, March 20 at Aldergrove Arena. Gonzales scored an unassisted goal that night but the Sockeyes won the game 8-2. Gonzales also contributed to two goals scored on March 24.