The Richmond Sockeyes will open the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs against the Grandview Steelers in a best-of-seven quarter-final series.
Game one goes Thursday (7 p.m.) at Minoru Arenas before the teams head to the Burnaby Winter Club next Sunday (7:15 p.m.) for game two. Game three is slated for Feb. 18 (7:30 p.m.) at Minoru.
The No. 3 seed Sockeyes (30-10-2-1) finished 17 points better than the No. 6 seed Steelers (22-19-2-0) in the final standings and the teams split the four game regular season series (2-2).
Richmond has been engaged for the better part of two months in a three-team battle with North Vancouver and Delta for first overall honours.
The teams combined for a 26-8-0 record since Jan. 1 that included Richmond going 9-3 during that stretch.
Look for the Steelers to lean on their defensive play to contend with Richmond. Grandview ranked fourth in the league in goals against — trailing only behind the three frontrunners. Offensively, they are last among the eight PJHL playoff teams.
The Sockeyes will enter the post-season on a four-game win streak, including a 5-0 triumph over the Langley Trappers on Thursday night. Jeremy Kelleway picked up his league-leading seventh shutout of the season and the 20-year-old is a favourite to earn the league’ top goaltender award.
Jacob Kermedschieff, Marcus Pantazis, Isaac Alvarado and Noah Kelly with a pair took care of the scoring.