Sockeyes slap down Kodiaks in championship opener

Aldergrove Kodiaks started out flat in their opening game against the Richmond Sockeyes, and paid for it with an 8-2 loss, Wednesday

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.

But the Sockeyes and their supporters would be wise not to get too confident. The Kodiaks also lost the opening game of their semifinal series against the Abbotsford Pilots 8-1 before reeling off four wins in a row to reach the championship series. The Kodiaks also lost their first game of the playoffs against the Ridge Meadows Flames before coming back to sweep the next four.

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.

The two teams meet again tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. at Minoru Arenas. Game 3 in the best-of-seven playoff final is also scheduled for Minoru Arenas on Sunday. Faceoff is 5:45 p.m.

Game 4 is scheduled to be played in Aldergrove on Tuesday, March 26, 7:15 p.m.

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.