The Ridge Meadows Flames are one win away from hoisting the Stonehouse Cup after beating the Delta Ice Hawks in Ladner Thursday night (March 30).
The Flames won game five in the best-of-seven PJHL Championship series 7-3 after scoring five unanswered goals in the third period.
Neither team has won a game on home ice so far this series, despite the home team scoring first each time.
The Ice Hawks opened the scoring in the first with a powerplay goal from Conner Merriman — his fifth goal of the series and seventh of the playoffs — assisted by captain Alec Scouras and Carson Hemenway.
Ridge Meadows answered with less than minute left in the period as Jack Foster slipped one past Merik Erickson for his fourth of playoffs, assisted by Linden Perry and Jakob Loewen.
Scouras found the back of net five and a half minutes into the second for his seventh of the playoffs, tucking one around a sprawling Cam Connolly after trading passes on a partial breakaway with linemate Carson Merriman. Caelan Mander also got an assist on the play.
Less than two minutes later, the Flames tied it up with a goal from captain Jordan Kujala, his second in as many games and 15th point of the playoffs. Defencemen Lukas Ravenstein and Brandon Osborne each got an assist.
Delta retook the lead just over 11 and half minutes into the period when Colin Jang came away with the puck on the forecheck and tapped it to open ice, where Ice Hawks affiliate player Declan Warburton one-timed a shot past Connely for his first-ever PJHL goal.
Warburton has played just six games for the Ice Hawks this season, five of them during the playoffs, and he had an assist on Jang’s game-winning goal in game four on Wednesday.
In the third period it was all Ridge Meadows.
Foster evened the score for the Flames with a powerplay goal off of Erickson’s pad almost three minutes into the period, assisted by Zack Lagrange and Loewen.
Then, just 36 seconds later, Pierce Whyte beat Erickson blocker side to put the Flames up 4-3, assisted by Lukas Ravenstein.
A minute and a half after that, on just their third shot of the period, the Flames added another goal after Zack Lagrange unassisted stole the puck from Hawks d-man Yuji Akimoto.
Lagrange scored another at the 11:32 mark, assisted by followed by Cohen Muc and Perry.
Foster scored his third of the night with under three minutes left in the game, a powerplay marker assisted by Loewen and Lagrange.
Connolly stopped 47 of 50 shots he faced in net for the Flames, while Erickson stopped 28 of 35 for the Ice Hawks.
Lagrange, with two goals and two assists on the night, was named the game’s first star. Foster with his hat trick was the game’s second star and Loewen, with three assists, was third.
The series heads back to the Cam Neely Arena for game six on Saturday night (April 1), puck drop at 7:30 p.m.
Game seven, if necessary, will be played at George Preston Arena in Langley on April 2, as the Ladner Leisure Centre is unavailable after March 31.
The winner of the Stonehouse Cup will advance to the 2023 Cyclone Taylor Cup, which is being hosted by the Revelstoke Grizzlies April 13-16. The four-team tournament will also include the champions from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, battling it out to determine the provincial Junior B champion.
The trophy has been awarded since 1967, and the 2022 champions were the Langley Trappers.
— with files from Neil Corbett
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