It was one of the most entertaining and challenging games of the season but the Aldergrove Kodiaks put up a good fight and finally defeated the Ridge Meadows Flames 4-3 on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Aldergrove Arena.
The Kodiaks maintained their top spot in their division and the Junior B hockey league, with 66 points after 41 games. With only three regular season games left the Kodiaks have clinched a playoff spot, although it remains an open question as to whether they will face the Port Moody Panthers (24 points) or Mission City Outlaws (23), as the two teams are battling for that last spot in the division.
The Abbotsford Pilots (56 points) and Flames (37) have clinched their spots to open the series against each other and Kodiaks head coach Brad Rihela predicts that the Flames will give the Pilots a good run.
The Flames certainly gave the Kodiaks a good run on Wednesday, outshooting the Aldergrove team 28-24 and leading the scoring for most of the first period.
Flames Jordan Gracie opened the scoring at 7:29, before Kodiaks Nolan Dyck, assisted by Nolan Wallinger, evened it up at 10:27.
The Flames again took the lead at 15:33 with Danny Wilson scoring, and Kodiaks Joshua Cronin, assisted by Spencer McHaffie, responded at 17:35 to make it 2-2 at the start of the second period.
Kodiaks Spencer Unger made a brilliant short-handed goal at 4:25, assisted by Joshua Poitras, but Flames Wilson scored his second of the night at 4:48, just as the power play ended, to make it 3-3.
The game finally ended with a power play goal at 11:32 of the third period, by Adam Callegari, assisted by Unger and Stephen Ryan. The Flames pulled their goalie for a man advantage in the dying minute but were unable to score despite the intense pressure they put on Kodiaks keeper Tate Sproxton.
Kodiaks Unger and Sproxton took the well-deserved first and third stars of the night, while Flames Wilson earned second.
Ryan’s point gave him the league-leading 81 points (38 goals, 43 assists) after 41 games while Callegari’s point gives him third place with 65 (25 goals, 40 assists).
The Kodiaks have three games remaining in the regular season, with their last home game Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7:15 p.m. against the Abbotsford Pilots.