The fourth game is always the toughest to win in a playoff series.
That’s the message the Richmond Sockeyes coaching staff will be reminding their players as they head to the Burnaby Winter Club Sunday night with plenty of momentum.
The Sockeyes now lead their best-of-seven Pacific Junior Hockey League quarter-final match-up with the Grandview Steelers 3-2 after a dominating 7-0 victory on Thursday night at Minoru Arenas. Game six goes at 7:15 p.m. and, if necessary, game seven would be played back at Minoru on Monday night (7:30 p.m.)
Richmond fired 41-shots on net in Monday’s game three 5-3 home ice loss to fall behind 2-1 in the series. They trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes in game four Wednesday at BWC when momentum shifted in a big way.
The visitors scored twice in the second period to take the lead for good then added four more in the third for six unanswered in total en route to a 6-3 victory.
The goal barrage continued in game five as Garrett Wicks’ first period tally was followed by five more in the second, including a pair from Andrew Kemp. The Sockeyes have fired 40 or more shots in four of the five games against overworked Steelers’ netminder Cale Dolan.
“I actually thought we had a good first period in game four but played six minutes of it shorthanded and that just killed our momentum. We just need to stay out of the box,” said Sockeyes head coach Brett Reusch. “We can roll over four lines and I think our depth works to our advantage the longer the series go.
“We know (Grandview) will be much better on Sunday. Dolan is a 20-year-old who is capable of winning two games on his own. We have to be ready and stick to our game plan which is dumping pucks deep and forecheck.”
The Sockeyes were also bolstered in game four by the return of Ryan Watson and Gabriel Suessenbacher-Fu to the blueline and veteran Tom Sweeney up front.
Paul Dosanjh, Mattias Hohlweg, Easton Elmer and captain Noah Kelly were also among the goal scorers Thursday. Braedy Euerby made 30 saves for the shutout.