The best rivalry in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League picked up where it left off in years past as the Richmond Sockeyes and Delta Ice Hawks battled to a 4-4 overtime tie to open up the 2013-14 regular season on Tuesday night.
Last spring, the cross-river rivals went seven games in the Tom Shaw Conference finals. Richmond not only won the series but went on to capture the league, provincial and Western Canadian championships. This time, there were plenty of new faces in both line-ups as the clubs have lost plenty of talent to graduation and promotion. However, there was at least one familiar name that made a significant impact.
The difference between a Sockeyes victory and settling for a single point was Alex Anhert. The veteran Ice Hawks goaltender showed why he was the league's top goaltender last season with an outstanding performance as Richmond outshot the hosts 54-26 on the night.
The Sockeyes still seemed poised to come away with a win after opening up a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes on goals by Dominic Centis, John Wesley and local product Jacob Wozney. However, Delta answered with unassisted second period goals from Brent Chreptyk and captain Marc Letourneau, before pulling even when Michael Olson-Eyre converted a rebound at the 8:40 mark of the third period.
Anhert's brilliant night looked to be spoiled when rookie Carson Rose wired a shot past him with just 2:24 remaining. However, Delta sent the game into overtime when Benjamin Blake beat Richmond goalie Kootenay Alder 1:09 later. The 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 overtime periods couldn't produce a winner.
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