Devils keeping pace in race for playoff position

Joshua Smith (21) of the North Delta Devils steps around a Delta Ice Hawks opponent. Smith scored once in each of two games last week. - FILE PHOTO / THE LEADER
Joshua Smith (21) of the North Delta Devils steps around a Delta Ice Hawks opponent. Smith scored once in each of two games last week.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO / THE LEADER

Playing .500 on home ice to start the New Year has kept the North Delta Devils ahead of two rivals in the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Tom Shaw Conference.

The Devils doubled the Port Moody Panthers 4-2 Thursday night, but fell 4-1 to the Delta Ice Hawks on Saturday. Both games were played at the Sungod Arena.

North Delta remains in third place in the Shaw Conference with a 16-14-3-1 (won-loss-overtime loss-tied) record, four points up on both the North Vancouver Wolf Pack and the Grandview Steelers.

North Delta raced to a 3-0 lead after just five minutes of play, then hung on for the win over the Panthers. Joshua Smith tallied first after two minutes of play, and Max Fiedler added the second Devils goal 18 seconds later. Landen Matechuk made it 3-0 five minutes into the game, and the goal would prove to be the winner.

The Panthers had cut the gap to 3-2 early in the second period, but Tanner Lenting scored while the Devils had a man advantage midway through the second period to close out the scoring.

Special teams play was even. Although the Devils did score once in three power play opportunities, they also allowed one shorthanded goal. The Panthers did not go on the power play all night.

Tyler Read was in the Devils goal, making 26 saves on 28 shots. North Delta had 34 shots on the Port Moody goal.

The Ice Hawks dominated play Saturday, but didn’t pull away from the home team until the last half of the game. Delta outshot the Devils 29-14 over first 40 minutes, but led 1-0 after one period and 3-0 after two.

Smith scored the lone Devils goal, finding the net with just eight minutes to play.

Read was in goal again for North Delta, making 39 saves.

The Devils are in Maple Ridge Friday night for a clash with the Ridge Meadows Flames, then are at home at 6:45 p.m. Saturday night in the Sungod Arena for a home game with the Richmond Sockeyes.

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