Flames swept from playoffs, bring back young team

The Ridge Meadows Flames were swept by the Aldergrove Kodiaks in their second-round Pacific Junior Hockey League series.

Paul Tucek makes a save.

The Ridge Meadows Flames were swept by the Aldergrove Kodiaks in their second-round Pacific Junior Hockey League playoff series, falling 7-2 in game four on Tuesday.

The Flames trailed just 2-1 after the first period, on a power play goal by Haden Cordoni, assisted by Ryan Wellborn and Ryan Crosby-Jones

But Aldergrove outscored them 3-1 in the second and added two more goals in the third.

Flame Ryley Lanthier scored on the power play, from Crosby-Jones and Mathieu Melanson, in the second.

In net, Jack Stradiotti stopped 14 of 19 shots. Paul Tucek replaced him and stopped 20 of 22 shots.

Coach Bayne Ryshak said it was one of the most physical and chippy series he has seen as a player or coach in junior B hockey, but he still thinks his team is better for having been through it.

“It was fun, it was a good learning experience for our guys, and it shows them what they need to do to win,” he said.

“They’re even hungrier now, which is good to see.”

The Kodiaks were a much more veteran and playoff proven team, and that was the difference, said the coach. They swept the junior B playoffs series by scores of 4-1, 6-3 and 4-2.

Ryshak said his team has just one 20-year-old who is not eligible to return next season, and he expects to return a strong core of players again for another campaign.

He was head coach for about 75 per cent of last year, and his first full year behind the bench taught him a lot about what it takes to win in junior hockey.

“I thought it was a learning year for me too,” he said.

“You’ve got to have buy-in, the right makeup of guys, and you need some experience.”

He expects there will be parity in the league, with a reloaded Aldergrove team, a youngish Abbotsford Pilots squad maturing next year and the Mission City Outlaws keen to get back in contention.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas.”

The Flames advanced to the second round by eliminating the Abbotsford Pilots. It was Ridge’s firstplayoff series win since 2010.

The Flames did not defeat Aldergrove once this past season.