North Vancouver players end up on the ice in an attempt to save the Kodiaks’ first successful shot on net by Hayden Vetterl on Wolf Pack goalie Bradley Cooper, with 0:34 left in the first period on Wednesday. (Sarah Grochowski photo)

Kodiaks fall 5-2 to reigning conference champs

‘We only started practicing this week’: said coach Rick Harkins

The Kodiaks lost their first game of the season, their home opener to reigning champs of the Harold Brittain Conference division last Wednesday night.

Aldergrove’s Pacific Junior Hockey League team fell 5-2, in favour of the North Vancouver Wolf Pack – last season’s division champions.

The 7:15 p.m. face-off at Aldergrove Credit Union Community Centre (ACUCC) had the bears holding their own until near the end of the first period where the Wolf Pack’s Alex Suprynowicz utilized a puck-bounce off of Aldergrove’s Paulvir Dosanjh to break a 0-0 stalemate.

The Kodiaks were quick to push forward and match up the score by 0:34, when Hayden Vetterl turned a puck rebound into a quick score on goalie Bradley Cooper.

The second period of the match saw North Vancouver score three more goals on a power play, and a shorthanded goal as well.

Aldergrove was shut out further by a final goal during third period by the Wolf Pack which rounded out the scoring.

Aldergrove’s Dylan Black was faced with 31 shots on net over the course of the game, and Cooper of the Wolfpack faced 21.

The bears’ Paulvir Dosanjh wound a top-shelf shot, scoring against North Vancouver during third period, but the Kodiaks were ultimately unsuccessful at evening the score.

The game ended 5-2 for the Wolf Pack.

Aldergrove suffered from the loss of experienced defenseman Ty Pickering, due to a three-game suspension carried over from last season.

He is the second high-profile gangster to be murdered in just over a month in a similarly brazen attack. Hells Angel Suminder “Allie” Grewal was shot to death on Aug. 2 in a Starbucks drive-thru in south Surrey at about 9:30 a.m.

READ MORE: Aldergrove loses in playoff battle against Delta

General Manager and coach Rick Harkins said the team is “rusty,” due to in part to players not having access to ice for weekly training over the summer months.

“We only started practicing this week,” Harkins told the Aldergrove Star on game night.

Their new home at ACUCC switches to a ball hockey rink over the summer months. The Kodiaks have managed to rent ice once per week or month at the Langley Sportsplex.

It is not a lot compared to the training schedules of other leading teams, Harkins admitted.

The bears were back on home ice on Sept. 1, just two full days before the new season’s first match against North Vancouver.

In the coming days, the Kodiaks train four times a week and Harkins is confident the team will pick up speed.

Their next match is Wednesday Sep. 11 inside the ACUCC at 7:15 p.m. against the Mission City Outlaws, who placed fifth overall in the Harold Brittain Conference last season, compared to Aldergrove’s third place standing.

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