Playing at a .500 clip through the first six games of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League season, it appears the North Delta Devils might have to pick up the pace to earn a playoff position.
Playing twice away from home last week, the Devils lost 4-0 to the Richmond Sockeyes Thursday night, then edged the Grandview Steelers 5-4 in overtime Sunday afternoon.
North Delta finished the week with a 3-3-0 (win-loss-overtime loss) record, but are two points behind the Steelers, who currently hold the last playoff position in the Tom Shaw Conference. The Devils’ point total would put them in a second place tie in the Harold Brittain Conference. The 0-5-1 Mission Ice Breakers lead the 0-7-0 Ridge Meadows Flames in the race for fourth place.
Sunday’s game saw the Devils strike early in each period.
Jacob Wensley needed just 50 seconds to net the game’s first goal, but the Steelers responded with a pair of tallies in the last half of the opening period for a 2-1 lead.
North Delta regained the lead early in the second period with a pair of powerplay goals from Tanner Lenting for a 3-2 advantage. But again the home side rebounded in the last half of the frame, scoring twice in a 37-second span to regain the lead.
The pattern continued at the start of the third with Connor Beauchemin tying the score at 4-4 after less than two minutes of play. Grandview couldn’t answer, and four minutes into extra time Wensley’s second goal decided the game.
North Delta outshot Grandview 31-27, but it was the Steelers with a 6-3 advantage in overtime. Harry Fredeman stopped 27 shots in the North Delta goal for his third win in five starts.
The Devils fired 33 shots at the Sockeyes goal Thursday night in Richmond, but came away empty. They trailed 1-0 and 4-0 at the period breaks.
The Devils are at home Saturday night against the North Vancouver Wolf Pack. Face-off is at 6:45 p.m. at the Sungod Arena.