This year’s version of the Flames celebrated after most games. (Special to The News)

This year’s version of the Flames celebrated after most games. (Special to The News)

Flames swept in second round by Trappers

Team had a great regular season and will come back strong: owner

Ridge Meadows Flames season ended on Monday night, swept by the Langley Trappers in the second round of the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs.

“It was a difficult ending – to sweep one team, and then get swept,” said longtime Junior B club owner Andrew Ilaender.

He noted the two-game suspension of leading goal scorer Ryan Denney was a big blow to the team’s playoff aspirations.

They had swept the Chilliwack Jets in the opening round of the playoffs, but then went out in four straight themselves, after Monday night’s 5-2 loss. Craig Schouten scored both Maple Ridge goals, and ended his season as the Flames top playoff producer with 10 goals and 13 points in eight games.

Ilaender has been an owner of the team since the 2005-06 season, this season in partnership with Adam Heath and Scott Oliver, and says this year was one of the best regular seasons the team has had in his time. They finished tied for third place in the league with a record of 32-10-1-1, had an entertaining team, and a roster that was stocked with talent from the local minor hockey association.

“It’s always nice to go to the rink on a Friday night, and know you’ve got a good chance to win,” he said.

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He said head coach Brent Hughes was outstanding in his first season with the Flames, and the former NHL player and pro coach will probably be even better after his first season at this level.

“He’s a good guy, and a good coach. He expects a lot out of the kids, and that’s okay,” said Ilaender. “I feel like we’re now one of the top teams in the league. We provide a good place for the local kids to play.”

The team will graduate 11 20-year-old players, so there will be a lot of work to do in the offseason to rebuild, said Ilaender.

Ilaender gave props to the Trappers.

“Their goaltender was outstanding. They’re a hard working team, and they’re disciplined,” he said.

He said GM Derek Bedard has also had a great season, and wanted to thank the many volunteers and team staff for the season.

After two seasons of pandemic disruption, the owner said he looks forward to getting more fans back at Cam Neely Arena next season, with minor hockey games between periods, the seventh man going for a skate with the team, and more contests and promotions for the fans that were postponed over COVID-19.

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Junior B Hockeymaple ridgePitt Meadows