The Ridge Meadows Flames took on the top team in the Pacific Junior Hockey League on Friday night, and were only able to hang with the North Vancouver Wolf Pack for a period.
The Flames trailed 2-1 after an evenly contested first period, but surrendered a 5-2 loss to the Pack.
Flames coach/GM Jamie Fiset said his team did not lack for confidence as they entered the contest.
“We had been playing well, and we lost to them earlier in the year 2-1 in a close game,” said Fiset. “We can skate with them.”
After the first period the chances on net were close, and one turnover was the difference in the period.
“I liked our first period,” said Fiset. “But we never really found our game after that.”
The Wolf Pack scored twice in the second period, and outshot Ridge 17-3 in the frame. They also limited the Flames to just five more shots in the third period, and outshot them 38-16 in the game.
The victory was North Van’s 13th in a row and lifts them into first place in the Tom Shaw Conference standings, two points up on Richmond with a game in hand. They have gone 17-1-0-2 in 20 games. The Flames have now gone 7-10, and sit in fourth place in the tight Harold Brittain Conference standings.
“They play a very good transition game,” noted Fiset. “If you skate up and down with them and trade chances, they’ll wear you down, or catch you on a bad change. And they’re excellent shooters.”
The Wolf Pack are a very veteran team, and their top six scorers are all 20-year-olds.
“They’re the best team in the league right now,” conceded Fiset.
Fiset was happy with his team’s special teams play, as the penalty killers were perfect on three attempts, and the power play play went two-for-four. Generally, he said, that’s a formula for winning a game.
Leading that power play on the night were the Flames’ own 20-year olds, as Grant Rostvig scored twice. His linemates are 20-year-old Danny Wilson and 18-year-old Jordan Rendle.
“That line has looked very good on the power play,” said Fiset.
Kurt Klimek made 33 saves in the loss.
On Wednesday the Flames are in Aldergrove to take on the Kodiaks in a key divisional game. Friday night they host the Delta Ice Hawks, at 7:30 p.m. at Planet Ice.