The North Van Wolf Pack topped their two biggest rivals while running their win streak to 19 games at the PJHL Winter Classic showcase event held over the weekend in Richmond.
The two wins – including a thrilling last-second victory over the host Richmond Sockeyes – pushed North Van’s record to 31-1-0-1 as the junior B squad chases their preseason team goal of winning a league record 40 games in the 44-game PJHL season.
The Wolf Pack opened the Winter Classic – which involved all 12 PJHL teams playing a pair of regular season games over a three-day span at Richmond’s Minoru Arena – with a 6-4 win over the second-place Grandview Steelers Jan. 3. Ryan Stack scored a goal midway through the third period to give the Wolf Pack a 5-3 lead, with Grandview responding quickly to make it 5-4. Stack’s marker, however, held up as the game-winner following a late empty-net goal for the Wolf Pack, and Stack ended the night with a goal and two assists to earn first star honours. Alex Suprynowicz scored twice for the Wolf Pack and Lucas Barker and Jacob Callas each added a goal and an assist, while goalie Eric Clark stopped 27 of 31 shots for the win.
Two days later North Van faced one of the toughest tests of their win streak, taking on the third-place Sockeyes in Richmond in a game that officially counted as a “home” game for North Van as part of the Winter Classic but was played on the road in enemy territory. Richmond took a 2-1 lead into the third period but Stack came up big again, tying the score midway through the third and setting the stage for a big finish. With the clock winding down and overtime looming, Suprynowicz hit Nathan Haaksma with a cross-ice pass and the defenceman fired in a wrist shot for the game-winning goal with three seconds left in the game.
Suprynowicz, Haaksma and Stack all ended the game with a goal and an assist, while goalie Bradley Cooper stopped 22 of 24 shots for the win.
The Wolf Pack will look to keep their win streak alive Friday night in Maple Ridge against the Ridge Meadow Flames before returning home Saturday night for a 7 p.m. faceoff against the Abbotsford Pilots at Harry Jerome Arena.