The Ridge Meadows Flames got a pair of wins this week, including a big victory Friday over the tough Grandview Steelers – one of the top teams in the Pacific Junior Hockey League.
The Flames scored twice in each of the first two periods for a big lead, then got another goal early in the third gave for a 5-0 lead.
“That was a good effort against Grandview,” said head coach Bayne Ryshak. “We can’t be satisfied, but we’re starting turn things in the right direction.”
Rookie goaltender Elliott Marshall got the win, with 30 saves on 32 shots in the contest, and was chosen first star of the game. That honour went with a shutout the night before, and he has two in his last three games.
He was a period away from getting three straight shutouts, when Grandview scored a lucky goal – on an odd-man rush, a pass deflected off a Flames defenceman’s skate, said Ryshak.
Defenceman Emmett Garrett had three assists in the game, Jayden Genberg and Eric Bourhill each had a goal and an assist, and other scorers were Tetsuya Prior, Talon Duff and Trevor Townsend.
The Steelers are second in the PJHL, and came into the game with a record of 13-4-2-2. The win was also impressive because it was the second half of back-to-back games, as they had played Thursday in Surrey, beating the Knights 6-0. In that game, Marshall was perfect on 32 shots.
That was the second shutout of his junior career.
The scorching hot Garrett had a goal and two assists Thursday, and the six-point week has him leading all Flames blueliners with three goals and 17 points in 21 games. That’s good for fourth highest among PJHL defencemen. His coach said he is making plays all over the ice.
“It’s confidence, and he’s a great athlete,” said Ryshak. “He’s determined to get better, he’s got a lot of belief in himself, and he’s been our best defenceman all year.”
Bourhill had three assists, Townsend scored twice, Prior had a goal and an assist, and Duff and Jarod McKay also scored.
• The Flames made a trade with the Mission City Outlaws, with products of Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey going each way. The Flames have parted with 17-year-old defenceman Ethan Kitsch, who has 15 points in 49 games over two seasons.
Coming back is 19-year-old defenceman Nicholas Thomson, who has played 107 games in the league and put up eight goals and 29 points.
“It’s his third year in the league. He’s a strong kid, skates well and moves the puck really well,” said Ryshak, who said he has watched Thomson a lot the last two seasons. “We’re excited to get him.”
He said it was a tough trade to make for both teams. Mission gets a gritty player who can play defence or forward, and started in the league as a 16-year-old.
• The Flames have a tough week ahead, as they travel to Minoru Arnea to take on the Richmond Sockeyes (14-6-1-2) on Thursday, then take on the Aldergrove Kodiaks (9-9-0-2) on Friday night in their home game at Cam Neely Arena.
“You can never take the Sockeyes lightly, because they are always, perennially, one of the top teams in our league.”
He noted that in their last meeting the Flames had them tied 3-3 after two periods, and then Richmond scored five in the third. So The Flames will be looking for a better effort.
Aldergrove is one of the league’s hottest teams, and has won seven of their last 10. Game time is 7:30 p.m.