After playing .500 hockey for the first two weeks of the season, a four-game losing streak has dropped the North Delta Devils to the bottom of the standings.
The Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) team was outscored 30-10 last week, dropping two games on the road before losing at home for the first time. The week concluded with a 5-4 loss to the Grandview Steelers Sunday evening, the closest decision of the week.
North Delta fell 5-3 to the North Vancouver Wolf Pack Wednesday, then lost 8-1 to the Richmond Sockeyes. Playing at home Saturday in the Sungod Arena, where they had won their first two outings, the Devils were humbled 12-2 by the Delta Ice Hawks.
In the middle of the pack after a 2-2-0-0 won-loss-overtime loss-tied) record, the Devils have now slipped to 2-6-0-0, and are three points behind the Wolf Pack in the Tom Shaw Conference standings. Four of the five teams will advance to the playoffs.
The Devils started slow in North Vancouver, trailing 4-0 before the game hit the halfway point. Matthew Tilton and Benjamin Vikich tallied to cut the difference to 4-2, but that was as close as they got. After a Wolf Pack goal midway through the third period, Matthew Painchaud of the Devils completed the scoring.
A positive for North Delta was special teams. They scored once on two power play chances, and killed off a pair of shorthanded situations.
The Devils were never in the game Thursday in Richmond, falling behind 3-0 after 20 minutes then allowing four goals in the first four minutes of the second period.
Joshua Trisevic was the lone Devil to score, netting a goal with nine seconds left in the second.
Richmond outshot the visitors 46-30, and scored on one of seven power plays. The Devils were shutout on two extra-man opportunities.
North Delta didn’t fare any better on home ice Saturday. Although they held a 9-8 edge in shots on goal after 20 minutes, it was the Delta Ice Hawks holding a commanding 5-1 lead. The visitors scored once while shorthanded, another on a penalty shot, and three times at even strength.
The count was 9-2 after two periods, with the Ice Hawks adding three more in the third.
Several Ice Hawks were able to pad their scoring stats in the game, led by Mark Whiteley. The Surrey native scored once and assisted on six others for a seven-point night.
North Delta resident Anthony Brito tallied three times for Delta and assisted on two others, and now leads the PJHL scoring race with 13 goals and seven assists in just six games played.
The final shots on goal tally was 25-21 for Delta, a team which scored on almost half their shots.
The Devils had a strong outing Sunday, but the same result at the Burnaby Winter Club against the Steelers. They trailed 3-0 after 20 minutes, but outshot Grandview 21-8 in the second frame and tied the game on goals by Nicholas Lee, Shane Kumar and Marco Romano. The Steelers scored two quick goals late in the game for a 5-3 cushion, and although Mack Wallace got a power play goal with two minutes to play, it left the Devils a goal short.
After a four-game in five-days stretch, North Delta will play twice next week against opposition from the Harold Brittain Conference, visiting the 4-1-0-0 Abbotsford Pilots Friday night, before hosting the 2-3-0-0 Mission Outlaws Saturday at 6:45 p.m. in the Sungod Arena.