The Richmond Sockeyes’ season is off and running, with week one wrapping the way preseason ended, with a pair of wins.
A convincing score of 8-2 over the visiting expansion Poco Trailblazers for the home opener at Minoru Arena was followed by a 5-2 win on the road over the North Van Wolfpack.
There is no question that the ‘new look” Sockeyes are focused on putting a winning product on the ice for the fans in Richmond to be not only proud of, but also supportive of for all home games.
The home opener had many wondering what the Trailblazers would bring as the PJHL’s newest expansion club and from all indications, while they may have not got the start they wanted in this game, they’ll get better as the season progresses.
It was ironic that Robbie Toor put a damper on the home opener, giving the visitors the early lead 2:40 in, only to have returning Sockeye Justin Grant even the game at one just a minute or so later.
Clearly the Sockeyes’ focus this season is to not only get the early lead but pepper the opposition tender and in this contest the Sockeyes outshot Poco by a 12-7 margin after 20 minutes.
There is no question that whatever was said between periods had the squad focused as they came out with more gusto than games last season, turning on the red light seven times, forcing Poco to change tenders 11:50 into the second.
All goalies will tell you that it’s not a good thing to get scored on with the first shot on goal and in this case it was Sean Van Bergen who replaced Wimur Mikhashin, only to have the first shot slip past him.
In fairness to Bergen there were five in front of him but, regardless, it took only 29 seconds for Richmond’s Bryce Strandt to get his first of the season, giving the Sockeye’s 5-1 lead.
The second ended as they held an 8-1 lead while hammering 38 shots on goal through 40 minutes that saw a letdown 21 seconds in the final frame when Poco’s Linden Stoerbo rounded out the scoring for the visitors.
Final shots in the contest saw Richmond outshoot Poco by a 64-27 tally, managing six minors while the visitors were tagged with four all of which were minor penalties.
Game star in the home opener was returning Callum Lind who finished with one goal and a pair of assists.
Next up saw the team travel to North Van taking on the Wolfpack and they continued where they left off, getting the early lead 5:23 in as Tanner Milne followed by Grant’s second on the PP, while Soares got his first as they took a 3-0 lead to the room after 20 minutes.
The second period saw the teams trade goals, as they did the third, with the Sockeyes finishing with a 5-2 win.
Richmond got stellar goaltending from returning Sockeye Thomas Popa who faced 28 shots, while North Van used both tenders. Sadly, there were no game stars listed in the official stats.
Top Scores for Richmond
# 4 Mattias Uyeda 5 Assists
#22 Eithan Grishin 4 Assists
#16 Justin Grant 2 Goals 1 Assist
310 Callum Lind 1 Goal 2 Assists
#18 Noah Gibbons 1 Goal 2 Assists
Next home game is this Thursday, Sept. 14 against the Grandview Steelers with a 7 p.m. face off at Minoru Arena. More information at https://www.richmondsockeyes.com/