Grandview’s Luke Cox chats with North Van’s Anthony Reimer Jan. 14. (Alistair Burns / Grandview Steelers)
Grandview goes 0-for-4 on PP in likely play-off preview
BURNABY WINTER CLUB – The Pacific Junior ‘A’ (PJHL) play-offs are a month away – and there’s a feeling of déjà vu around the Grandview Steelers and North Vancouver Wolf Pack.
Last year, these teams clashed in the first round – a tense three-game series that went to sudden-death – for a Grandview victory. But if the Steelers hope to pull off the same result in 2024, they have a lot of work to do.
The Wolf Pack defeated the Steelers 6-1 Jan. 14. North Van’s Corson Penman notched a hat trick and PJHL points leader J.J. Pickell also scored as the Wolf Pack went 2-for-7 on the man advantage.
New defenceman enters Steeltown
“We took the loss, but the energy was positive,” said Steeler defenceman Darian Tamas, 20, who skated in his second appearance for the club.
He mentioned the warm welcome he received from his new teammates in the Grandview dressing room. “I appreciated that a lot. Definitely a big change” from his previous club, the last-place Aldergrove Kodiaks.
The third-year PJHL veteran’s six-foot-two frame will be a welcome addition for the postseason.
While it was a 6-1 final for the Wolf Pack, the Steelers had an excellent start.
Ten minutes in, Steeler Ben Ruthven tapped the puck ahead to wide-open linemate Kori Belanger. Belanger skated in alone and roofed a shot high to the glove side of North Van netminder Evan Paul.
With 30 seconds left in the opening frame, teammate Pav Bandesha had a glorious chance to extend the lead as he pounced on a loose puck in the crease. Paul flashed out his pad to rob Bandesha.
Then, the North Van floodgates opened. After Penman’s first of the night, Rylan Oatman scored the game-winner 92 seconds later when he put a shot past Steeler goalie Shayan Kermany.
Kermany, the starter, was replaced by Ronin Geraghty for almost 11 minutes. Then, Kermany returned between the pipes. Both goalies faced a total of 28 shots; Kermany’s record fell to six wins and 11 losses with a goals-against-average of 3.65.
The Steelers put 21 pucks on net and went 0-for-4 on the power play.
With the defeat, the Steelers have a record of 20 wins, 18 losses and two shootout losses for a total of 42 points. At press time, Jan. 15, Grandview was in fifth place in the seven-team Tom Shaw Conference.
With only eight regular season games left for the Steelers – and a possible 16 points available for the black-and-gold – it looks likely that Grandview will be the fifth seed. In that case, the Steelers would not have home ice advantage for the best-of-three first round series.
Meanwhile, the fourth-place Wolf Pack are seven points ahead of Grandview with one game in hand; the sixth-place Port Moody Panthers are 14 points behind with an extra game to play as well.
Inside Steeltown post-game interview
New Steeler Darian Tamas explains what he brings to the Burnaby Winter Club.