The Aldergrove Kodiaks are in a position to repeat as Harold Brittain Conference regular season champions.
With a 4-3 double overtime win over the host Ridge Meadows Knights on Friday, the Kodiaks improved their record to 19-12-2-5, with six games to go in their schedule.
Winners of four of their past five games, the defending Pacific Junior Hockey League titleholder Kodiaks have accumulated 45 points.
The Aldergrove junior Bs now have a five-point cushion on both the Abbotsford Pilots (19-16-0-2) and Langley Knights (19-18-1-1), who are tied for second in the conference, each with 40 points.
Friday night in Maple Ridge, the Flames, who are stuck in the conference basement with a 13-24-0-2 mark, gave the Kodiaks quite a battle.
Leading 3-2 and having the luxury of a power play in the final minute of regulation, the Kodiaks looked poised to come away with a regulation win.
But Ridge Meadowsâ€™ Boston Colley played the hero for the Flames, tying the game at three goals apiece â€“ and salvaging at least a point for the home team â€“ when he scored a shorthanded marker with 39 seconds to go in third period.
But in double overtime, the Kodiaks snatched away two points with the winner off the stick of Cameron Davitt, who found the net 1:34 into the second extra frame.
Kodiaks associate coach and general manager Rick Harkins said his team didnâ€™t play a great game, but still managed to get the win.
â€œWe had three affiliates in the lineup and we couldnâ€™t get any chemistry going, or flow, but it was the same for both teams,â€ Harkins said Monday. â€œIt was a pretty lackluster game. Today, it looks like it was a great game on paper.â€
The Kodiaks led 2-1 after the first period on a pair of goals from Brandon Dolby including a penalty shot marker 19 seconds into the game.
In a period dominated by guys named Brandon, the Flamesâ€™ Brandon Inwood scored the Flamesâ€™ lone marker of the frame to tie the game at 1-1.
Aldergroveâ€™s Elvis Jansons and Ridge Meadowsâ€™ Danny Wilson exchanged markers in the second period, as the visitors led 3-2 after 40 minutes.
Itâ€™s been a remarkable turnaround for a rookie-laden Kodiaks squad that didnâ€™t record a regulation win in October (included in that span was three overtime losses and a tie) and after the first two months of the season, had limped to a 3-6-2-4 record.
â€œWe are a very young team and because of our success last year, we lost quite a few players,â€ Harkins said. â€œWe had 15 rookies make the big jump from minor hockey, so there was an adjustment period for them. Theyâ€™re talented hockey players and it only took a while for them to adjust to the speed and strength of our league.â€
Among the Kodiaks freshmen are Davitt, their leading scorer with 23 goals and 49 points, and goaltender Griffin Baillie, who has made 23 appearances with an 8-5 record and one shutout.
Heading into the home stretch of the regular season, the Kodiaks are aiming to be healthy and ready for a playoff run.
â€œThe big thing is, is to go into the playoffs healthy, with no suspensions or illnesses,â€ Harkins said.
â€œWe have a depleted lineup as it is. We lost Jordan Funk to the [B.C. Hockey Leagueâ€™s] Surrey Eagles. He was leading the league in rookie scoring at the time.â€
The Kodiaks have had a few days off and will go for their third straight win on Wednesday (Jan. 28) at Aldergrove Arena, where they will host they will host the Grandview Steelers.
Game time is 7:15 p.m.