Saturday, October 24, 2015 - Submitted by Adam Piercy
In the words of the late Yogi Berra, Thursday night’s game was “like déjà vu all over again.” Just one week after blowing a 4-0 first period lead in Delta to lose 7-5, the Langley Knights were once again defeated by the Delta Ice Hawks by a 7-5 score – though the journey to that result was different this time around.
Jacob De Waal opened the scoring for the Knights on the powerplay just 1:55 into the first period, and it remained a 1-0 score until the 14-minute mark when Delta’s Michael Schellenberg scored his third of the season, opening the floodgates for a flurry of goals that didn’t cease until midway through the second period, by which time the Knights and Ice Hawks found themselves in a 5-5 tie.
Daniel Watson took a goaltender interference penalty just two minutes into the second period, giving Delta ample opportunity to build on their 3-2 lead. Just over a minute later, De Waal took advantage of a defensive miscue in the Delta zone and scored Langley’s league-best third shorthanded goal to knot it up at three. The Knights retook the lead three minutes later on a shot by Harman Shoker, who scored his first-career PJHL goal in the process. The lead was short-lived, however, as Delta scored two quick goals a few moments later to put the Ice Hawks ahead 5-4. Later in the frame Tristan Craighead added to Langley’s league-best home powerplay on a pretty pass from Oliver Alcock to tie the game at five.
Quinten Wideski scored the eventual game-winner at the 13:50 mark of the third period on a play set up by Sam Kozlowski, who would also notch an assist on the insurance goal just over a minute later. The Knights outshot the Ice Hawks 23-11 in the third but couldn’t solve backup goaltender 16-year old Jonah Dutz, who came in in relief of Jacob Latrace six minutes into the second period after the latter allowed four goals on twelve shots.
Despite the loss, the home dressing room was fairly upbeat. “It was just one of those nights where everything seemed to be going in,” Knights forward Jacob De Waal said of the game. “But we had a lot of confidence in our offence tonight, and that’s important. We got a lot of quality shots in the third period. [Dutz] played really well for them. We’ve got to learn to keep our mental composure, especially in the third... We can’t be giving up late goals like that. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Cole Forbes made 27 saves on 34 shots in his first start of the season for the Knights after undergoing major facial reconstruction surgery in the offseason. “We’re confident he’ll get back into game-shape fairly quickly,” Knights bench boss John Craighead said of Forbes. “It’ll take him a while before he’s unafraid of the puck, just with the nature of his injury. And we get that.”
Despite falling to 0-8 at home, coach Craighead was pleased with the performance of his players. “Look, we’ve got the youngest team in the league. And we feel that our guys are really taking advantage of the opportunities they’ve been given. Sure, we need to be more disciplined. But they’re working hard out there, and I’m not going to yell and scream at them when I know they’re working their butts off.
“For the second half of a back-to-back [the Knights lost 6-0 in Aldergrove the night previous], I felt our guys played with a lot of energy. I thought we bounced back really well.”
The Richmond Sockeyes (5-5-1-2) are in town to face the Knights (2-12-0-1) next Thursday for their first meeting of the season, looking to end a three-game road losing streak. Langley lost all three games against the Sockeyes last season, going 0-2-0-1.