Early goals and some shutout goaltending helped the Delta Ice Hawks to a 3-0 win on home ice against the Aldergrove Kodiaks Tuesday night.
Hawks backup goalie Hunter Tarves stopped 29 shots in the win, keeping the Bears off the board, and some early goals helped set the tone for the home team.
GM and head coach Steve Robinson was much happier with his team’s effort this week at home compared to last week’s tough loss against White Rock.
“We had a couple little lulls, but overall, I thought we played pretty good. Hunter did a great job [in net]; he took care of business there,” he said. “It was nice to keep a clean sheet and for the most part, stay in control of the game.”
The Hawks came out flying, scoring two goals in the opening 2:13 of the game. Mark Epshtein had the first one 45 seconds in, taking a pass from Truman Chiu and deking past goaltender Dylan Black.
Just 88 seconds later, Brice Kemp came away with the puck after a scramble along the boards and skated uncontested through the slot, wiring a shot off the post and in to double the Hawks’ lead to 2-0.
Brad Fortin padded Delta’s lead in the second period, following up on a shot from Chiu and poking home a loose puck in the crease, putting them up 3-0 through 40 minutes.
Going into the third period, the Hawks had a strong final frame, controlling most of the play and putting 24 shots on goal, holding the Kodiaks to just three.
Tarves played a key role in this one, as Aldergrove outshot Delta in both the first and second periods, and Robinson credited his goaltender for keeping the Hawks up.
“Every time [Tarves] had a little flurry where one goal could have changed the energy of the game when it was 2-0, he came up big when we needed him.”
“Everybody needs to play well, but goaltending is the great equalizer and we’ve been fortunate this year to have really solid goaltending from both Jordy and Hunter on a nightly basis,” he added.
The Hawks' next game is against the division-rival White Rock Whalers, who Delta is jockeying for position with in the standings. The Hawks are up four points on the Whalers, who have the advantage of two games in hand.
“I’m looking forward to re-matching with White Rock,” said Robinson. “I was pretty disappointed with the way we played last Tuesday...but the guys will be fired up and motivated to get some retribution from last week’s loss on home ice.”
That matchup is Saturday at Centennial Arena at 7:30pm.