It was a Tom Shaw Conference showdown at the Ladner Leisure Centre on Tuesday night, as the first-place North Vancouver Wolf Pack visited the fifth-place Delta Ice Hawks at home.
Things got off to a fast start in the action-packed first period with a goal from North Vancouver’s Ryan Stack 40 seconds into the frame to give the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead.
Kevin Parra-Vaughan got the Ice Hawks on the board nearly five minutes later with a shot from the point that made its way through traffic and past Bradley Cooper, tying the game with his third goal of the year.
Halfway through the period, Delta’s All-Star representative Mark Epshtein picked up the puck at centre ice and dodged his way through a couple of Wolf Pack defenders and scored his 21st of the year, going far post and in for a 2-1 Hawks lead.
North Van stormed right back though with a goal from Joshua Peakman 13 seconds later, tying the game up again, this time 2-2, with a shot high-glove side on Hunter Tarves.
The goals continued in the first frame with a power play goal from Lucas Barker. Jacob Fournier passed from below the goal line through the slot to Barker in the left circle, who one-timed it past Tarves for the lead.
Before the end of the period, the Ice Hawks scored a power play goal of their own. Bradley Araki-Young took a shot from the point, which was stopped by Cooper, but Ryan Xu was out front to pick up the rebound and slam it home.
The early goal came again for the Wolf Pack in the second period, scored by Dominic Davis on the rebound from a shot by Noah Malthaner from the point, giving the Wolf Pack the lead again, 4-3.
After a fairly even first period, the middle frame was taken over by the Wolf Pack, firing 19 shots on goal, 18 of which were stopped by Tarves, who fought hard to keep him team in the game, shutting out the Wolf Pack the rest of the period after the early go-ahead goal.
The score remained 4-3 until later in the third period when Delta went on the power play. The home team had the puck down low and Brad Fortin took a shot. The rebound made its way to the opposite side of the net and was picked up by Jordin Kojima who tied the game late, giving his Hawks hope.
Barker’s second power play goal of the night a minute and a half later, though, stole the game and the win for the Wolf Pack, their 24th win in a row.
The Ice Hawks continue their fight to make the playoffs on Saturday, January 25 in Port Moody against the Panthers.