The Delta Ice Hawks came away with a 4-1 victory against the Surrey Knights on Tuesday night, helping Jordan Dobres come away with his first win in his first game with Delta.
Dobres came in after the first period, taking over for Hunter Tarves, and he nearly came away with a shutout through 40 minutes of action.
On Dobres in his Ice Hawks debut, head coach Steve Robinson said, “He’s a quick kid…he’s got good reactions. I think for a lot of guys in his situation, or any other AP player, sometimes it helps to get some action and realize that it’s just hockey and settle in.”
Neither team found the back of the net in the first period, but the Ice Hawks controlled most of the play, outshooting the Knights 15-3 in the frame. Dobres entered the game for Delta after the first intermission.
The Hawks broke through in the second period with goals from Mark Epshtein and Ryan Xu. Epshtein went in on a 2-on-1 with Brad Fortin, who took the initial shot that was stopped by Naveen Kainth, and Epshtein was there to clean up the rebound.
While on the power play, Ryan Bayley took a shot from the left circle that was tipped right to Xu, who sent it home, putting the Hawks up 2-0 heading to the dressing rooms after 40 minutes.
In the third, Adam Mandau controlled the puck low in the Knights’ zone and found Fortin in the slot. Fortin took a shot and the rebound went back to Mandau and he again tossed the puck to Fortin, who was able to put it away on his second try.
Stephen Chen added a fourth goal for the Ice Hawks on a stretch pass from Bradley Araki-Young, sending Chen on a breakaway. He went bar-down past Kainth, sealing the game for the Ice Hawks.
The Knights would get on the board with less than a minute to go in the final frame, with Malik Dhaliwal scoring his first PJHL goal to break the shutout.
With the win, Delta keeps pace with the Richmond Sockeyes and the Grandview Steelers, who following Tuesday night’s contest, are both just two points up on the Ice Hawks.
Delta will face Richmond on October 24 in the second stage of the Tunnel Series Cup, the first match-up for these two teams in the Island City.
“[Richmond will] be focused and ready,” said Robinson. “They haven’t played since last Thursday when they lost, so they’ll be hungry for sure. I have a couple tough decisions to make, regarding who’s in and who’s out, but at the end of the day, I know the guys get up for those games, so I expect a much more spirited effort.”
Puck drop is 7pm at Minoru Arenas in Richmond.