Devils win one, lose one, creep closer to playoff spot
Another week, another two points closer to the playoffs for the North Delta Devils.
The Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) team split two games last week, staying ahead of the North Vancouver Wolf Pack and Grandview Steelers in the Tom Shaw Conference standings. The Devils are 17-15-3-11 (won-loss-overtime loss-tied) through 36 games this season.
After an 8-4 win over the Ridge Meadows Flames Friday night in Maple Ridge and a 3-1 loss to the league-leading Richmond Sockeyes Saturday at home in the Sungod Arena, North Delta is four points up on the Wolf Pack and six ahead of Grandview with eight games to play.
The Devils would have to fall behind both teams to miss the playoffs.
After a convincing win on the road Friday, the Devils fell short at home Saturday to the Sockeyes.
Outshot 48-29, the Devils got their only goal on the power play in the second period from Nicholas Lee, which made the score 2-1. Tyler Read was busy in the North Delta goal, making 45 saves.
In Maple Ridge Friday, the Devils were outshot 19-14 over the first 40 minutes, but still managed to take a 3-1 lead into the third period. Powerplay goals from Matthew Painchaud and Ben Vikich gave North Delta a 2-0 lead in the first period, then Max Fiedler made it 3-0 midway through the second.
The Flames pulled to within one with a goal in the last minute of the second period, and just 81 seconds into the third.
But five North Delta goals in the final 20 minutes put the game well out of reach. Vikich and Fielder each netted their second goal of the game, and Josh Smith, Landen Matechuk and Blake Gorrill added to the total.
Fiedler and Painchaud each collected three assists. Tyler Read earned his seventh victory in goal, making 25 saves on 27 shots.
The Devils will face-off against the same two teams again next week, visiting the Sockeyes in Richmond on Thursday night, before hosting the Flames Saturday at 6:45 p.m. at the Sungod Arena.
BLUE LINES: Defenceman Tanner Lenting was the lone Devils to be selected to the PJHL All-Star Game, played last night (Monday) in Burnaby. He was to suit up for the Shaw Conference team.
The Delta Ice Hawks placed seven players on the team, followed by the Sockeyes with six. Grandview had four players chose, while the Wolf Pack had three.