Its not since 2015 that the Knights last won in Ridge Meadows against the Flames. A team with names from yester-year like DeWaal, Catchpole, Surbey, & Trisevic. Those were times long gone and this new group of players caught lightening in a bottle on Friday night (Dec 3rd, 2022) with a win for the ages. Only two games per year are played in Planet Ice Maple Ridge and so it has been a while since the Knights have won.
The game started out in a spirited fashion with shots peppered on the goalies from both teams. Parkor Sarai, Jake Thompson, Kirit Saran and Bronson Sales all seemed to have a little more jump than normally. And boy did they deliver, as 1/2 way through the first period Sales buried his first of the game and 8th of the season! The Flames carried the play for the most part but the kids from Whalley were able to create offence on turnovers and an aggressive forecheck. However, the Flames were able to tie it late in the first. Shots at the end of the first despite the scorekeepers tactics were 18 – 12 for the Flames. (as per In-stat).
The second period saw the Knights on the power play and it seemed to be clicking with a big shot from Collins. Parker Sarai & Jake Thompson set up Captain Brad Collins with a booming one timer in the Ovi spot to make it 2-1 Knights less than a minute into the period. There were lots of fans there for the Flames game. It seemed like 500 plus and probably 25-30 of them were Knights fans. They were a small crowd but boisterous. And their team delivered when Bronson Sales scored his second (9th of the season) of the game on a great setup from Braden Ward & Alistair Lau. Knights up 3-1 at this point and Coach Liboiron could be heard calming his warriors, asking them not to get ahead of themselves. As soon as those words were spoken however, Jake Thompson and Parker Sarai combined for a goal and the bench was a buzzin! Shots at this point were Ridge 15 – Knights 10 in the second. Total Shots for the game after 2 periods was Ridge 33 – Knights 22.
With the score 4-2 at the start of the 3rd Period, the Flames scored to make it 4-3 and things started to get tense on the Knights bench. The Flames peppered goal tender Maddox Osaka who had an answer for nearly everything they threw his way. He was on his game that night and things look bright for his future as a goalie. He was having fun and seemed to be in their kitchen all night long. And when the ref made a suspect call on Collins ejecting him from the game (which was later over turned by the Dept. of player safety) and giving the Flames a 5 minute powerplay, Osaka just cranked it up a notch and turned every shot to the corner. Finally, with just under 5 minutes left in the game, Jake Thompson booked it down the left hand side and fed Nolan Foster with a pass and Foster slammed it home to put the Kids from Whalley up 5-3. The Knights never looked back and it was enjoyable to see them savour victory in a barn that has been the place of so much misery over last 7 years. Shots finished – Ridge 51 – Knights 31. The demons of all those years have been banished and they “slayed the dragon.”