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Richmond Sockeyes dominate Wolf Pack in heated contest

Sockeyes face the Langley Trappers this Thursday at 7 p.m.

Given the current winning streak of the Richmond Sockeyes, there is no question the pressure is on with many wondering when it will end.

If you ask any of the players, they’re not wanting this streak to end so taking on their rivals from North Vancouver Wolf Pack would be a challenge.

Richmond started Noah Stenvig between the pipes while the Wolf Pack had faith in Evan Paul who would be challenged from various angles throughout the contest.

Richmond struck first, opening the scoring at 6:34 with Daniel Zhou set up from William Huo and Nick Noren. The lead, however was short-lived when Matthew Carniel tied the game at 8:02 on the power play.

The rules of the game at times makes it difficult for players to avoid penalties, but discipline plays a key role in any game for all players.

Former PoCo Milin Aujla, now with North Van, gave the Sockeyes a late power play that allowed William Huo to give the Sockeyes the lead at 19:30 heading to the dressing room after 20 minutes with each team assessed two penalties.

The second period saw North Van give up three power-play goals with Matthew Stewart opening the scoring at 5:16, Justin Grant getting a late goal at 18:12 and Daniel Zhou giving the Sockeyes a commanding 5-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Penalties meted out generously by refs

Given the score and the tempo, the game turned into somewhat of a “chippy” contest that saw North Van assessed five penalties while the Sockeyes were assessed three with indications that this might continue into the third.

The streak to the penalty box continued starting at 2:58 which kept the officials busy from the opening face-off until the final buzzer.

Despite the talent level of the players, sometimes emotions can and do get the better of the players at any level of the game and this contest was no different.

Regardless of the parade down main street to the penalty box, Daniel Zhou got his third goal of the game at 14:42 with helpers from William Huo and Mattias Uyeda.

Given the rough play, the game soon became heated at 13:56 that unfortunately saw North Van’s “tender” Evan Paul forced to leave the game following an altercation with various penalties assessed by Referee Zachary Mahaffy.

Paul was replaced by Bryden Burrows who finished the remaining 6:04 of the game in a game that saw the Sockeyes outscore, outwork and outplay North Van in all areas of the ice.

Despite the rough play in the game at times, it clearly took away from the talent level of the players in a league that helps them advance to the next level of their career.

The final score of the game was 6-1 for the Richmond Sockeyes.

Richmond grabbed the three stars in the contest. Daniel Zhou, with three goals, was named first star, Matthew Stewart, with one goal, was named second star and Justin Grant, with one goal and one assist, was named third star.

The Sockeyes have their first game of February on Thursday against the Langley Trappers at 7 p.m.

- Steve Erickson handles media relations for the Richmond Sockeyes

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** Editor’s note: An incident occurred at the Sockeyes/Wolf Pack game whereby a North Vancouver player was seriously injured.