The Ice Hawks celebrate Conner Merriman’s first goal of the night, which tied the game up 1-1, the first of eight unanswered goals scored by Delta on Sunday.
In a must-win game for the Delta Ice Hawks, they came through big time, defeating the Richmond Sockeyes 8-1 in front of a good crowd at the Ladner Leisure Centre on Sunday night.
The win forces a Game 7 on Monday night in Richmond that will decide which team goes to the Tom Shaw Conference finals.
Richmond got the first goal of the game, with Tanner Gushel sending in a shot on Hawks netminder Braedy Euerby and a bad bounce got by him to give the Sockeyes the 1-0 lead. But that was the only tally that Euerby would allow, stopping 31 of 32 shots on the night.
The game was all tied up before the end of the frame though, when Yuji Akimoto took a pass from one Merriman brother, Carson, and took a shot that was tipped by the other Merriman, Conner, for his fifth of the playoffs.
Early in the second, the Hawks came out flying and took advantage of a power play opportunity, again involving both Merriman brothers and Akimoto. Conner went cross-ice to Akimoto, who did a quick back-and-forth with Carson, and Akimoto slapped it home for the 2-1 lead.
Later on, Caden Stephenson made a couple nice moves to make his way out of the Hawks’ zone and carried the puck into the Sockeyes’ end. He dropped it back for Dalton MacGillivray, who found a wide-open Nico Marini on the left side, and he went top shelf over Marcus Cumberworth’s glove to make it 3-1.
The home team added one more before the end of the period. Delta won the faceoff and Conner Merriman passed up to Alec Scouras on the point. Scouras dished over to Carson Hemenway on the other side and after they exchanged another pass each, Hemenway slapped the 4-1 goal home.
Four more goals in the third period sealed the game for Delta, the first of which came from JJ Milne. Conner Merriman won a puck battle in the corner and sent it through the slot to Akimoto. He quickly flipped it back to a streaking Milne, who tapped it into a yawning cage. Jovan Kheleh entered the game in net for Richmond after Delta’s fifth goal.
Just 31 seconds later, Kyle Kalamaras forced a turnover in Richmond’s end and shoveled the puck over to MacGillivray. He and Scouras each had a couple chances to beat Kheleh, who made a couple saves inititally, but Scouras eventually beat Richmond’s backup.
Scouras scored his second of the game in the latter half of the period, picking up a pass at centre ice and getting a shot on net. He then won a couple of puck battles to keep possession and finally got his goal.
The final goal of the night was a short-handed one from Conner Merriman. He and Scouras broke out while on the penalty kill and Merriman got a shot off that tipped in off the top of Kheleh’s glove.