The Ridge Meadows Flames took advantage of an undisciplined Abbotsford Pilots team and handed them a 7-1 beat-down on Friday night at Cam Neely Arena.
The place was packed, as local hockey people came out to honour Noah Trulsen, a Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey alumnus who passed away after a fall while playing in a recreational hockey game earlier this month.
“There were a lot of hockey families there, and that was good to see,” said Flames coach Bayne Ryshak. “It was great to see the community support for the Trulsens.”
The team donated the proceeds from the 50/50 to the Noah Trulsen Hockey Memorial Fund, and donated over $1,300. The fund now stands are more than $16,000.
Logan Hunter and Tetsuya Prior each had two goals and an assist, and Jayden Genberg also enjoyed a three-point night on a goal and two helpers. For Hunter, it was a great return, as he suffered an injury in the first game of the season, and hasn’t played since.
The Flames benefited from 12 power plays, scoring on four, and killed off six penalties of their own in a chippy game.
“I think we have a relatively disciplined team, and we’re fast and skilled – so you’re going to take some penalties against us,” said Ryshak. “It’s always going to be chippy between us and Abbotsford.”
“Our guys are always up for Abbotsford games,” he added, noting the two teams have become rivals through playoff series in each of the past two years.
Jesse Nelson had the Gordie Howe hat trick, with a goal, an assist and a fight. With his team up 7-0 early in the third period, he had a fight with Jared Pitkethly, after taking exception to a hit from the Pilot.
Ethan Kitsch, the rookie out of Maple Ridge, scored the first goal of his junior hockey career. He shot in a puck from centre that lofted in and took a sideways bounce and fooled the Pilot netminder, and was at the bench looking for a change when he learned he had scored. It was lucky but timely, coming early in the second period, to give his team a 3-0 lead.
Paul Tucek won the game’s first star, as he stopped 25 of 26 shots.
The Flames managed to control Baylee Wright, the league’s leading scorer with 29 points in 12 games, but eventually Wright was able to break the shutout late in the game.
“The guys are pretty determined to shut that guy down.”
Prior’s big night moved him into a tie for fifth in league scoring, with six goals and 18 points in 12 games.
As they were last year, the Flames have become a terror on home ice, having gone 5-1 so far in the young season.
They host Richmond on Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Cam Neely Arena.