Ridge Meadows Flames host a tough opponent with an identical record to them – but a contrasting style of play – on Friday night.
Both the Maple Ridge Junior B squad and the White Rock Whalers have records of 10-7-0-1. But the Flames have been filling the net, while the Whalers win with defence.
The Whalers were an expansion team a year ago, but have already turned into a bona fide contender in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, said Flames coach Bayne Ryshak.
“They have a good coach over there (Jason Rogers), they’re well structured, and they play their system to a T,” Ryshak elaborated.
They play great defence, allowing just 57 goals compared to 83 by the Flames.
But the Flames are one of the highest-scoring teams in the league with 80, while the Whalers have about a goal-a-game less at 59.
It’s an area Ryshak wants to shore up.
“I would like to win games a little tighter, and not give up so many goals,” he said.
“It’s something the boys are aware of.”
That said, a few bad September games made the Flames defence look a lot leakier than it is, he added.
Richmond tagged them for 17 goals in two games that month, and North Van for 14 in one game.
And, he added, the offence his team brings can make up for defensive shortcomings.
“I can’t complain about the amount of offence we have this year,” he said, adding the talent runs deep into his forward lines.
Ridge leads the Harold Brittain Conference with their 10-7-0-1 record, while that same mark has the Whalers fifth in the Tom Shaw Conference.
“When you play that other conference you have to bring your A game,” said Ryshak. “It’s a murderer’s row.”
The last time these two teams met, the Whalers won 5-2.
The Flames lost to the Delta Ice Hawks last Friday night, then beat the Outlaws on Saturday in Mission.
The Flames lost 6-3 to the Ice Hawks as Delta scored three in the third period, on two power plays and an empty netter.
Eric Bourhill had three assists for the Flames, Jarod McKay scored twice and Nicholas Amsler also had a goal. Tetsuya Prior had a pair of assists.
Ridge goaltender Chad Cromar was the player of the game with 30 saves on 32 shots against Mission. His coach said the first-year Flame limited the opposition to one chance with his rebound control.
“I thought he looked really good,” said Ryshak. “He’s a huge goalie, but he moves really well for a big guy.”
Jayden Genberg and Bourhill each scored twice, and team captain Trevor Townsend had a goal. Amsler, Ryan Denney and Matthew Tyszka each had a pair of assists.
Game time is 7:30 pm.