Austin Kofler (centre), who scored Delta’s second goal of the night, celebrates the Ice Hawks’ 5-2 with with goaltenders Merik Erickson (left) and Zach Shaughnessy (right).
In a battle between two of the top teams in the PJHL so far this season, the Delta Ice Hawks came out on top over the Chilliwack Jets, defeating the leaders of the Harold Brittain Conference 5-2 at the Ladner Leisure Centre on Tuesday night.
The Ice Hawks scored in all types of ways, ranging from a power play goal to an empty-netter, to take home a big two points. Merik Erickson backstopped the Hawks in a quieter night on his end, stopping 17 of 19.
It was a quick first period, with no goals and just two penalties called in the period, both against the Ice Hawks. Shots were 9-6 after the first 20 minutes.
It did not remain scoreless for long, though, as the two teams scored 33 seconds apart early in the second period.
The Ice Hawks broke through first – Tye Hemenway sent a long stretch pass up to Alex Lucchesi at the Jets’ blue line. He entered the zone with Henry Smith, who took the pass and made a great move to try and beat Dylan Rempel. Rempel made the initial save, but Smith was there to slide home the rebound.
Chilliwack evened the score when Blake Bryce intercepted the puck in Delta’s zone. He passed over to Zack Feaver, who gave it back to Bryce for a tic-tac-toe play, beating Merik Erickson and tying the game.
Later in the frame, Delta was pressuring on the power play and the puck ended up on the stick of Yuji Akimoto in the left corner. He centered a pass to Austin Kofler, who was able to settle it and backhand it into the net. His first PJHL goal put the Hawks up 2-1 heading into the third.
There was another pair of goals less than a minute apart, one per team, in the third period. Again, Delta struck first, with Alex Lucchesi capitalizing on a short-handed breakaway chance, beating Rempel low-blocker side to make it a 3-1 lead.
During that same penalty, Chilliwack’s Bryce leapt in the air to keep the puck in the Delta zone, settling and passing to Feaver. Feaver backhanded a pass through the slot right to Damian Metastasio for a one-timer to close the lead back to one goal.
A couple of late goals for Delta sealed the win for the home team, though, as Alex Lucchesi added an empty-netter from behind the centre line for his third of the season to make it 4-2.
With Rempel back in the net, the Hawks kept circling and Conner Merriman found Logan Joslin across the ice. Joslin walked in and fired one off the crossbar and down into the net with just 21 seconds left in the game, putting the Hawks up 5-2.