UPDATED: Flames open junior B final with 2-1 triple-OT win over Delta

Paul Tucek earns win for Flames, making 87 saves.

Paul Tucek.

Paul Tucek.

Halen Cordoni scored shorthanded in triple overtime as the Ridge Meadows Flames opened the Pacific Junior Hockey League championship final Sunday in Ladner with a 2-1 win over the Delta Ice Hawks.

Cordoni took a pass from Jayden Genberg in the neutral zone, skated up the righthand boards with speed, drove the net and shot top-right corner, beating Delta goalie Jordan Naylor glovehand-side.

The Flames were outshot 88-27 overall in six periods. Paul Tucek earned the win for the Flames, making 87 saves, and was selected the game’s second star.

It was the first time Ridge defeated Delta this season.

Flames head coach Bayne Ryshak called Tucek’s performance “surreal.” He said it was the best he’s ever seen the 20-year-old netminder play, and maybe the best he’s ever seen any goalie play in person.

“When’s he’s focussed and determined, it’s something special to watch.”

Ryshak said Tucek’s play lifted the team, that maybe some of the Flames were a little nervous and flat in the opening game.

Ryshak also credited the team’s leaders for keeping the rest of the group relaxed in the room between overtime periods.

Getting the win, however, should give the team a boost and help guys settle down entering Game 2 on Tuesday, he added.

Andrew Strelezki opened the scoring on Sunday, from Cordoni and Taylor Seganfreddo, giving the Flames a 1-0 lead in the first period, when they were outshot 14-10.

Aiden Hansen-Bukata scored a shorthanded marker seven seconds into the third to tie the game for Delta.

The Flames were outshot 57-11 during regulation time, and officially had just one shot on net during the final two periods.

In overtime, Delta outshot Ridge 31-16.

The Flames advanced to the PJHL championship final for the first time since 1998 after eliminating the Abbotsford Pilots to win the Harold Brittain Conference finals 4-1.

Delta won the best-of-seven Shaw Conference final 4-1.

Delta finished first overall in the regular season with 77 points and allowed just 79 goals all season, 45 fewer than the team with the next least.

Delta also led the league with 237 goals for, for a plus-158 differential.

Series schedule: Game 2 is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Ladner Leisure Centre; Game 3 is Friday, Mar. 23, 8 p.m. at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge; Game 4 is Sunday, March 25, 4:45 p.. at Planet Ice; Game 5, if necessary, is set for Monday, March 26 in Ladner, 7:30 p.m.; Game 6 is set for Wednesday, March 28 in Maple Ridge, 7:30 p.m.; Game 7 is set for Thursday, March 29 in Ladner, 7:30 p.m.

PJHL awards

The PJHL recently handed out its end-of-season awards, and two Flames were honoured.

Ryley Lanthier Ridge Meadows Flames was selected as the league’s Most Improved Player.

And Bayne Ryshak was named Coach of the Year.

Other awards went to: Rookie of the Year – Jonathan Rees, Jr. Delta Ice Hawks; Most Valuable Player – Tyler Andrews, Richmond Sockeyes; Best Defenseman – Davin Padgham, Aldergrove Kodiaks; Most Inspirational Player – Nico Bruno, Grandview Steelers; Sportsmanship Award – Cameron Obcena, Abbotsford Pilots; Scoring Champion – Baylee Wright, Abbotsford Pilots; Best Goaltender – Jordy Engleson, Delta Ice Hawks; Executive of the Year – Eduard Epshtein, Delta Ice Hawks; Trainer of the Year – Wayne Hubbard Delta Ice Hawks; Broadcaster of the Year – Gaetan Harris, Grandview Steelers.