The Flames open their regular season with a home game on Sept. 16. (The News files)

The Flames open their regular season with a home game on Sept. 16. (The News files)

Ridge Meadows Flames have been perfect in the pre-season

PJHL announces exanded schedule and playoffs for coming season of Junior B hockey

The Ridge Meadows Flames are perfect so far this pre-season, with three straight wins.

The Maple Ridge Junior B squad beat the Langley Trappers 3-2 on Friday night, and had a 4-2 win over the same squad on Wednesday. Combined with a 9-2 victory over the Port Moody Panthers on Aug. 19, that gives Ridge a 3-0 start.

There are two games left in pre-season action: at Cam Neely Arena on Sept. 9, 7:30 p.m., against the Mission City Outlaws, and the next night in Port Moody against the Panthers.

Then the regular season will begin, with the Outlaws visiting The Cam on Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

This year, the Pacific Junior Hockey League has expanded from 44 games to 48, and teams will play a balanced schedule, where they take on each squad in the league four times.

The regular season will conclude on Feb. 12, with the playoffs beginning the next day, and the projected start of the Stonehouse Cup Finals scheduled to begin March 20. The league championship trophy is named for the late onetime owner of the Flames, Ray Stonehouse.

READ ALSO: Celebrating the life of Maple Ridge junior hockey team owner

The winner of the Stonehouse cup will move on to the Cyclone Taylor Cup which is to be hosted by the Revelstoke Grizzlies of the KIJHL.

PJHL Teams will again play their annual Winter Classic which will be hosted by the Richmond Sockeyes at Minoru Arena Dec. 29 to Jan. 1. It’s an annual showcase event that facilitates scouting the league’s top talents.

The league’s board of governors also approved the expansion of the leagues playoff format. This year’s playoffs will see an additional team from each conference with the opportunity to play in the post season. Teams placing in the top three of each conference will be seeded first through third in their conference playoffs.

Teams finishing fourth and fifth will play a new “Survivor Series” to earn a spot to be seeded in fourth place in their respective conferences. Each Survivor series will be played in a best-of-three format with all other series featuring a best-of-seven. Teams will be re-seeded within their conference after each round with the conference champions meeting in the Stonehouse cup final.

The changes came about after league meetings, and were announced on Aug. 26.

“Overall I feel these were very successful meetings. We have only been able to get together in person as a group a couple of times throughout the last two years and these were the longest most in-depth discussions we have had in a while,” said commissioner Trevor Alto.

“The league is set up to not only take some great steps forward, but we have some very exciting initiatives that we will be announcing in the near future.”

READ ALSO: Pitt Meadows teen joins Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Youth Team


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