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Richmond Sockeyes eliminate PJHL champs, head to provincials

The Sockeyes face the Ridge Meadows Flames Monday at 7 p .m. at Minoru Arena.
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The Sockeyes are moving onto the PHJL finals on Monday after beating Delta, the league champions.

The Tunnel Series as it’s known saw the Richmond Sockeyes eliminate last season’s defending PJHL champions, the Delta Ice Hawks, in game five of the best of seven series, advancing to face the Ridge Meadows Flames in the PJHL finals.

The semifinal series was a tale of two stories that saw both clubs score on both their power plays in addition to capitalizing on short-handed goals.

Game five saw Delta start Zach Shaughnessy in net while the Sockeyes started Noah Stenvig who came into the series in game one and played the remainder of the series helping the Sockeyes to advance to the final series.

Despite the tentative start with neither team scoring in the first period, it was Sockeyes’ Mattias Uyeda who opened the scoring at 11:36 in the second period, followed by their second goal at 16:04 that saw Nicholas Noren get a short-handed marker.

Delta responded as “D-man” Tye Hemenway sent a stretch pass to rookie call-up Jack Sears who dished it over to Brandon Petrie who notched a motivation goal with the first coming to an end.

The Sockeyes ended the second period with a comfortable 2-1 lead

Richmond outshot Delta by a 16-10 margin and 30-19 after 40 minutes that saw Delta return in hopes of returning to Ladner for one extra chance to keep the series alive.

There was no doubt that the pressure was on both teams but more so Delta in a must-win period but Richmond had other thoughts of letting that happen.

I continue to mention that penalties play an important role and taking an untimely penalty can change the outcome of the series. When it comes to the final 20 minutes, it’s fair to say there is more pressure on the officials.

Delta found themselves on the receiving end of a minor penalty giving the Sockeyes a chance to get another marker on the board that saw Mattias Uyeda get his second of the game and giving the Sockeyes a 3-1 lead.

Delta continued to press, pulling Shaughnessy twice in the dying minutes that saw Paton Hu set up by Carson Merriman and Ryden Mathieson bringing the final score to 3-2.

When this series started it was understood that it wasn’t going to be a sweep by either team given the overall season record for both clubs but mostly Richmond for their consecutive winning streak.

Game stars saw Sockeyes Mattias Uyeda, Nicholas Noren named first and second star respectively with Ice Hawks Payton Hu named third star in a contest that could have easily have others selected.

Thanks to the Delta Ice Hawks for playing an entertaining series but mostly to the Sockeyes faithful who continue to support them each and every week.

The next best-of-seven series starts with the first two games at Minoru Arena on Monday. March 18 and Thursday, March 21. Both games start at 7 p.m.

- Steve Erickson handles media relations for the Richmond Sockeyes

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