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Delta Ice Hawks advance to Pacific Junior Hockey League finals

Junior hockey team eliminates White Rock Whalers in five games and will meet the Ridge Meadows Flames for a trip to the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Revelstoke
Delta's Alex Lucchesi and White Rock's Zachary Sherwin battle along the boards during game five playoff action on Thursday night at the Ladner Leisure Centre. Both players had big series for their respective teams but it's Lucchesi's Ice Hawks moving onto the Pacific Junior Hockey League championship series after a 4-2 win. Jim Kinnear Photo

The Delta Ice Hawks are headed back to the Pacific Junior Hockey League championship series for the 12th time in their 25-year history.

The Ice Hawks capped a dominating run through the Tom Shaw Conference playoffs with a 4-2 game five victory over the White Rock Whalers on Thursday night at the Ladner Leisure Centre (LLC).

They will now meet the Harold Brittain Conference champion Ridge Meadows Flames to determine which team will represent the PJHL in next month’s Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial junior “B” championships in Revelstoke.

The Ice Hawks will enjoy home ice advantage in the best-of-seven series with games one and two slated for next Thursday (March 23) and Saturday (March 25) in Ladner.

The Hawks stayed perfect (5-0) at the LLC during their current post-season run thanks to an overdue power play outburst.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the second period, the Whalers’ Brayden Clark was handed a pair of minor penalties for cross-checking and roughing. The Hawks made the visitors pay dearly with man-advantage goals 85 seconds apart from Carson Merrimen and Carson Hemenway to break the game open. Brayden Sinclair then added another power play tally to close out the period with Dylan Travis in the box for slashing.

Delta had gone 1-for-14 on the power play in the previous three games combined.

Graduating Ladner native Zachary Sherwin capped off an outstanding post-season with his ninth goal and league-leading 19th point in 10 games to bring the Whalers back within two in the third period, but they would get no closer.

The Ice Hawks enjoyed a 58-23 advantage in the shot department with White Rock goaltender Mark Paton doing his best to keep his team close, while rookie Zach Shaughnessy picked up his third straight win of the series.

The Flames advanced to the final with a four-game sweep of the Chilliwack Jets. The Ice Hawks had a 3-1 edge in the head-to-head regular season meetings including a 5-3 victory at Maple Ridge back in early February.

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