Beckett Cross celebrates his first goal of the season with Danylo Bereza, who set him up for the tap-in play to extend the Hawks’ lead to 7-1 on the way to an 8-1 win over the Abbotsford Pilots in their first matchup of the season. Tav Morrison photo
The Delta Ice Hawks remain undefeated on home ice so far this season, adding an 8-1 win against the Abbotsford Pilots to the total on Tuesday night.
Delta’s defence kept the Pilots offence to single-digit shots in each period, and Zach Shaughnessy held Abbotsford off the board except for one shot at the very end of the second period, stopping 24 of 25 total.
Conner Merriman came out flying for the home Hawks, scoring the first two goals of the night back-to-back to jumpstart the Hawks to a 2-0 lead. The first of the two, Merriman was in the right place at the right time, as it came off a tip from a Billy Johal point shot past Abby goalie Joel Riedel.
For the second, Austin Kofler edged out his defender for a puck behind the net and quickly found Merriman in the slot for a quick wrister for Merriman’s fifth of the year and a 2-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the Hawks were on the power play and Brandon Petrie took a shot from the point that was saved by Riedel. The rebound went up and hit Payton Hu in the chest and bounced favourably onto his stick for him to slide it home for his first goal of the season.
Forty seconds later, Aiden McGregor-Bennett checked a Pilot at the Hawks’ blue line and grabbed the puck for a breakaway. He skated in alone and beat Riedel far side past his glove; McGregor-Bennett’s first of the season made it a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Hawks struck again after the halfway mark of the second period, with Petrie sending a long pass up to Mateo Sjoberg for a breakaway. Riedel got enough on Sjoberg’s shot that it stopped on the goal line, but Sjoberg was able to jam it in during the scramble for the puck.
Petrie was again involved in the Hawks’ sixth goal of the night, passing with Danylo Bereza on a Delta power play. He took a shot from the point that was stopped, but the rebound went right to Bereza to the left of the net and he was able to go high-blocker for his second of the year, knocking Reidel out of the game.
Towards the end of the period, Delta got into some penalty trouble, resulting in an Abbotsford 5-on-3. They were able to put a quick passing play together as the clock ticked down, breaking the shutout with less than a second left in the middle frame.
Delta potted two more goals in the third period, starting with Beckett Cross’ first of the year. Declan Warburton sent a stretch pass up to Bereza, who slipped a pass past his defender to Beckett Cross speeding up the middle for a tap-in to make it 7-1.
Just as it looked like the score was final, Colin Jang wanted to get on the scoresheet before the end of the game. Hu brought the puck from the Hawks’ zone into the Pilots’ zone and dished to Jang in the middle. He found mesh with less than three seconds to go, his eighth, to make it 8-1 Hawks final.