Kodiaks get playoff second chance

 

The Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs have unfolded as they should.

The teams left standing are the top dogs of the PJHL: the Aldergrove Kodiaks and Richmond Sockeyes.

The Tom Shaw Conference champion Sockeyes led the PJHL with a 34-5-3-2 record.

The Harold Brittain Conference kings, the Kodiaks, had the second-best regular season record in the league, at 34-6-2-2.

Both teams battled past a tough second-round opponent to reach the PJHL playoff final for the second time in as many years.

The Kodiaks dispatched the Abbotsford Pilots in five games in their best-of-seven series. The Aldergrove junior Bs clinched the series with a 7-3 win over the Pilots last Wednesday (March 12) at Aldergrove Arena.

The Kodiaks bookended lopsided wins (they opened the series with a 7-2 win March 4 at Aldergrove Arena) between three close games.

Aldergrove beat Abbotsford 2-0 on March 5, lost 3-2 to the Pilots in overtime on March 7, and pushed Abby to the brink of elimination with a 3-2 win March 8.

In the series-clinching victory, the Kodiaks manufactured a 4-0 first-period lead before cruising to victory.

Elvis Jansons and Spencer McHaffie each scored twice for the Kodiaks, who got singles from Joshua Cronin (who added two assists), Jonathan Philley, and Stephen Ryan. 

Philley and Ryan each added an assist to their totals.

Spencer McHaffie tacked on one assist for a three-point night while his brother Scott posted a pair of helpers.

The Sockeyes, meanwhile, completed a four-game sweep of the North Vancouver Wolf Pack with an 8-5 win, also played last Wednesday at the Harry Jerome Sports Centre in North Vancouver.

Every game in that series was decided by two goals or less, with two of the games decided in overtime, both won by Richmond by 4-3 counts.

 The title series is a replay from last year, when the Sockeyes cruised to a four-game sweep of the Kodiaks.

Game one of the best-of-seven 2014 championship series is tomorrow (Wednesday, March 18) at Aldergrove Arena. Game time is 7:15 p.m.

Games two and three will be played at Richmond Arena Thursday and Sunday (March 19 and 23). 

The series returns to Aldergrove Arena for game four next Wednesday, March 26, with a 7:15 p.m. start time.

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