Carson Merriman had four goals in the Hawks’ home opener to lead Delta to a big 6-3 over the Port Moody Panthers. Photo by Tav Morrison
The first game at the Ladner Leisure Centre of the 2023-24 season was an exciting one, with the Hawks defeating the Port Moody Panthers 6-3 in the Home Opener.
Assistant captain Carson Merriman led the way for Delta, netting four goals on the night, including the winning goal late in the third period.
Port Moody opened the scoring on a goal from Austin Todd four minutes in; the shot just snuck through the pads of Hawks goalie Zach Shaughnessy and dribbled past the goal line.
Just over a minute later, Merriman evened the score. Dylan Stafford took a shot that was deflected down to Michele Romeo, who wove his way through the Panthers defence until he could make a pass to a wide-open Merriman, who scored far side on Lucas Poratto.
The visitors got their one-goal lead back after a turnover in the Delta zone. Ryan Sam and Dane Paulic went on a short 2-on-1 and Paulic was able to beat Shaughnessy.
But the Ice Hawks tied it up again on another goal from Merriman. Off the faceoff, Romeo forced a turnover and the puck ended up on the stick of Austin Kofler. He was able to sneak a pass to Merriman before being checked, and Merriman took a quick shot to again beat Poratto glove-side.
The Hawks got their first lead of the game late in the second period, with Merriman stealing the puck low in the Panthers’ zone. He dished it out front to Romeo for a one-timer that found the back of the net.
PoMo’s Ty Balchen tied the game back up early on in the third, one-timing a pass from Matthew Kim into the back of the net. But Delta wasn’t done yet.
In the last four minutes of the game, the Ice Hawks scored three times – two goals from Merriman and one by Wyatt Sorken.
Merriman’s hat trick goal was a unique one, with a Noah Frick shot from the point hitting Jack Ferguson in the stomach out front of the net and landing on Merriman’s stick, making for an easy third goal for him on the night.
New Hawk Wyatt Sorken put up his first goal as an Ice Hawk, picking up a rebound from a Romeo shot and deeking around Poratto for an insurance goal, making it 5-3.
With less than a minute to go, Merriman scored his fourth by sending a shot from centre ice into an open net, winning the home opener 6-3.