It may still be September but don’t tell that to the Richmond Sockeyes and North Vancouver Wolf Pack come Thursday night.
The last two unbeaten teams in the Pacific Junior Hockey League will collide at Minoru Arenas (7 p.m.) and both have looked dominant in doing so.
The Sockeyes ran their record to 6-0-0 by scoring five unanswered goals in the third period Friday night in an 8-3 road win over the Ridge Meadows Flames. The result came 24 hours after a 5-1 victory at Minoru against the Grandview Steelers.
The defending champion Wolf Pack now sit 7-0-0 after crushing the Flames 14-2 on Saturday in North Vancouver.
What’s scary is Ridge Meadows (4-3-0) still owns the third best record in the PJHL despite surrendering 22 goals in two nights. The Sockeyes and Wolf Pack just seemed to be that much better than everyone else with the four head-to-head battles likely going a long way to determine top spot in the league.
Richmond has impressive depth up front and that firepower has been evident since opening night.
Head coach Brent Reusch has rookie Garrett Wicks playing with veterans Marcus Pantazis and Michael Araki-Young. The trio looked terrific last week, combining for 12 points in the two wins.
Araki-Young led the way against the Flames with five points, including a hat trick. Wicks had three assists and Pantazis added a goal and a helper. Two of Araki-Young’s goals came in a two-minute span early in the third period, breaking a 3-3 deadlock.
Jack McMillan, Ryleigh Anderson and Noah Kelly also scored in the period. Craig Schouten rounded out the scoring with Jacob Stone making 31 saves in his second straight start.
Nick Wilson had a goal and two assists to lead the way against Grandview. McMillan, Wicks, Anderson and rookie Mattias Hohlweg also scored. Stone made 30 saves.
The Sockeyes are averaging over six goals per game and have eight players with a point or more per contest. The Wolf Pack come to town averaging over seven goals thanks to Saturday’s explosion against Ridge Meadows.