Tunnel Series begins with a tie

The back-and-forth battle between the Delta Ice Hawks and the Richmond Sockeyes ended in a 4-4 tie at the Ladner Leisure Centre on Tuesday night in the first game of the annual Tunnel Series.

It was a bounce back game for Delta following a loss in North Vancouver last Saturday, and head coach Steve Robinson was happy with his team’s effort against the second-place team in the PJHL.

“I thought the battle level and the energy in the game was good overall,” said head coach Steve Robinson. “There were a couple little breakdowns that we would have liked to have avoided, but they’re a good team and for us to score some goals tonight and be in a competitive, engaged game was a positive for sure.”

Richmond had the only goal in the first period. There was a scuffle for the puck near the benches in the neutral zone, and Craig Schouten came away with it. He beat his defender and shot far side to beat Jordy Engleson, who had 35 saves on the night.

The second period was the polar opposite with 6 goals in the frame; two more for Richmond and four for Delta.

Brad Fortin evened up the game 1-1 on a breakaway shot, stick-handling through his defender’s legs and scoring top-shelf on Jacob Stone.

Schouten recovered the lead for Richmond with his second goal of the night, but again, the Hawks came back to tie it up 2-2 with a power play goal from Bradley Araki-Young from the high slot off the faceoff.

The Hawks took their first lead of the game when Kyle Robinson and Mitch Lavoie entered the Sockeyes’ zone 2-on-1. Robinson dished to Lavoie, who took his time and fired it past Stone, making it 3-2 Delta.

Minutes later, Marcus Pantazis tied the game back up 3-3 and the two teams would trade chances in the remaining minutes of the middle frame.

With under a minute to go in the period, Ryan Xu and Truman Chiu broke out for another successful 2-on-1 for Delta. Xu hung on to the puck and found the back of the net, sending the Hawks to the dressing room with the 4-3 lead after 40 minutes.

The lone goal in the third period was scored by Richmond’s Easton Elmer to tie the game 4-4, sending the game to double overtime. The extra 10 minutes of play, while exciting, didn’t change anything.

Heading into Langley Wednesday night to face the Trappers, Coach Robinson thought that “having scored some goals in general will help the team, it will loosen some of the guys up and give them a little more confidence.”

“Right now, we’re in a race for playoffs, so you’ve got to keep chipping away and piling up points. So, hopefully we come back and build on the good things from tonight’s game and gain some momentum as a team.”

Wednesday’s game is set for 7pm at the George Preston Recreation Centre.