The Delta Ice Hawks limped through a couple of shootout loses on consecutive nights this week as the Pacific Junior Hockey League club continues to deal with a limited roster due to COVID-related sickness.
With eight regulars out of the line-up, the Hawks needed a big-time performance from goaltender Braedy Euerby to salvage a 3-2 shootout loss to the Langley Trappers on Wednesday. The hosts, and Harold Brittain Conference leaders, outshot Delta 47-33 on the night, but the 19-year-old from Ladner was superb between the pipes.
Power play goals just 58 seconds apart from Carson Hemenway and Dalton MacGillivray gave the Ice Hawks a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. The Trappers answered with a pair of goals of their own in the second, then outshot the visitors 17-4 in the third, but couldn’t beat Euerby again. Langley only needed one goal in the shootout after Delta failed to score on all three attempts.
The result came 24 hours after a stinging 7-6 shootout defeat to the White Rock Whalers at the Ladner Leisure Tuesday night. The Hawks were minus six players, but still opened up a 5-1 lead midway through the second period.
The Whalers answered with three of their own before Hemenway made it 6-4 with 11:50 remaining. The resilient visitors rallied again to tie the game then proceeded to score on all three shootout attempts.
The teams meet again on Saturday night at Centennial Arena in White Rock with the Whalers (22-11-1-0) now just one point back of second place Delta (21-8-1-3) in the Tom Shaw Conference.
“Last night (in Langley without eight players) I was proud of the effort and battle in a back-to-back situation, but that Whalers game with multiple leads on home ice is a heartbreaker for sure,” said Hawks GM and head coach Steve Robinson. “We have to learn to close out games and defend better if we expect to achieve our goals, so better now than in February, March or April.”
Also lurking in the standings are the fourth-place Richmond Sockeyes, five points back of Delta with two games in hand. The teams meet on Tuesday (7:35 p.m.) in Ladner with the season series tied at 2-2.
Robinson is hoping to be closer to full strength by then as COVID has impacted his line-up long before Christmas.
“The guys that didn’t have it in December all have it now,” he added. “With mild symptoms and a five-day (in isolation) protocol, I’m just glad to get it behind us. Hopefully you can’t catch it twice in three months and we’re good!”