It has been 685 days since the last time the Knights won. Granted 365 of those days was when the league was basically not playing. Moreover, it has been more than a 5 years that the Knights have been able to defeat the powerhouse Mission City Outlaws. However, Saturday September 19th was a new day and a new opportunity for the young upstart team from the suburb of Whalley in Surrey. Yes, a rough and tumble neighborhood that not many have been proud to say they are from but this team seems to suit the fact that their home rink is in the Whalley-Bridgeview area. As the City of Surrey, does a complete make-over of the community the Surrey Knights have done a complete redux of their team. Adding, just the right parts to the core of the team, seems to have breathed a new attitude and new life into the Jr B team.
Last night appears to have proven that the changes that Coach Andy LIboiron & GM Gerry Leiper made to the roster are working. Coach Andy was able to light a fire under the Knights and get them to come out swinging early. That was a clear sign that these Young Guns are starting to figure things out in the League. They were able to pepper the Mission Goalie (Brian Dale) with 11 shots in the first, while Knights Goalie Rahul Sharma faced 16 shots. By the end of the first Mission forward James Vietch was able to score two beauties from in the slot, top shelf about Sharma’s blocker hand.
The Knights had the look of defeat in their eyes after that period and feared that this would just be another day versus the Outlaws from the previous 10 plus games. However, Sharma and boys in Black and Gold had different ideas. They picked themselves off the ground and started chipping away at the Outlaw lead. Shift by shift they outworked the Mission team, grinding down their top line. You could see the momentum slowly switching sides, then when Kade Padgham dumped Logan Earle into the Mission bench all hell broke loose! Multiple Outlaws started shoving Logan into the bench and Tyson Williams came to the rescue and charged the Knights up. On the ensuing power play which looked excellent, Trevor Damon buried a point shot and all of a sudden the Knights were only down one goal! At this point the pace was rabid, each team exchanging shots and big hits. Then with less than 1 minute to go the game Coach Andy pulled Sharma from the net for the extra attacker. When Nick Rusnak carried the puck up and made a crisp pass to Brandon Melsness who then was in a battle for possession and successfully slid it across to Tyson Benoit who smashed it in, sending the Knights bench into pandemonium. With 20 seconds left in the game it was tied.
Overtime was nuts, all the fans standing and all the players focused. 3 on 3 was the format and Coach Andy started with the Thompson Brothers and Damon. Mission city carried the play for the most part but couldn’t get one past Sharma who basically shut the doors 100%. Uyeyama, Rusnak and Melsness all hit the ice in OT but they didn’t have an answer to Mission’s Attack either. And so it came down to a Shootout. Mission went with Chase Newman who Sharma thwarted, then Montaro Uyeyama went for the Knights and was stopped. Then it was Cole Moffat and Sharma had an answer for his shot too! Then Jake Thompson has his chance…he came in from the left of the slot lost the puck briefly causing the goalie to freeze and Jake stuffed home the puck top chedder. (whatever that means) . And it came down to Sharma in net for the last shot….he sacked Kyle Sackman and the Knights had their Victory! It was very sweet indeed and well deserved for the Kids from Whalley!
Post game saw Tyson Benoit get his first PJHL Goal Game puck and Rahul Sharma donned the Golden Chain for Player of the Game. Shots ended up at 39 – 42 Mission. Next Game for the Knights is next Thursday Sept 23rd at 7pm vs Delta IceHawks.