What’s next for the Delta Ice Hawks? A guaranteed 10-goal win night for their next home game?
The way things have been going lately it would hardly be a stretch as the Pacific Junior Hockey League team is on an offensive tear never seen before in franchise history.
The Ice Hawks stayed perfect in October and extended their win streak to nine games with a 10-5 triumph over the Ridge Meadows Flames on Tuesday night.
The result came after 10-1 (North Vancouver), 16-0 (Aldergrove) and 10-0 (Abbotsford) victories, giving Delta an astonishing 46 goals over that four-game stretch.
The Flames were hardly a pushover either, coming into the Ladner Leisure Centre with an 8-1-0-0 record.
The teams were tied at 4-4 in the early stages of the third period when the Ice Hawks exploded for five unanswered goals to take control.
Back in the 2017/18 campaign, Delta steamrolled through the regular season with a 37-4-3 record and a whopping 158 goal differential, on its way to winning the league title.
“I was telling the guys about that team and how dominant it was. The goal differential was high, but it wasn’t anything like this,” said Ice Hawks GM and head coach Steve Robinson. “I told them this was probably unsustainable then tonight (they do it) with six guys out of our line-up.”
Among the missing players was team captain and last year’s leading scorer Alec Scouras who has now served three games of a five-game suspension. He is part of a dynamic group of returning players from last year’s squad that lost on home ice in the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial final.
The returnees also include 19-year-old twin forwards Carson and Conner Merrimen who sit fourth and ninth in the league in scoring with 22 and 18 points respectively.
The depth up front has been bolstered in a big way with the addition of impressive 17-year-old rookies Brayden Sinclair, who leads the PJHL in scoring with 25 points, and linemate Payton Hu who sits fifth with 22 points.
However, according to Robinson, what's stirring the attack is at the backend — led by 20-year-old Ladner native Carson Hemenway who has pick up right where he left off last season as the league’s top blueliner with 19 points. Right behind with 18 points is standout Yuji Akimoto who logged huge minutes last season.
Ryan Bal has also returned, along with Delta Hockey Academy alumni Logan Joslin who was a regular call-up a year ago. Robinson also is impressed with his rookies — so much so that when Henry Smith returned to the club late last month he was converted to a forward. He scored twice against the Flames.
“It’s the fluidity of our (defence) and their ability to move the puck. That’s what is pushing the offence to the next level,” continued Robinson. “We arguably have three or four number one type d-man on our team. It’s a very fortunate situation to be in.
“The dynamic is really positive. Everyone is pushing each other right now and they are hungry.”
Ice Hawks home games are Tuesday nights (7:35 p.m.).