Written by – Giancarlo Nadeau
Tonight, the North Vancouver Wolf Pack get set for their first game against the Grandview Steelers. The two teams are set to take part in a best-of-three Survivor Series to determine who will meet the Delta Ice Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.
Grandview held a 3-0 series lead against the Wolf Pack entering the final game of the regular season. The Steelers knocked the Wolf Pack off in a 3-2 overtime road victory on September 17, won a 7-4 home game on November 9, and came away with a tight 4-3 victory on November 20. The most recent meeting between these two foes was arguably the most entertaining as both teams combined for 16 goals! North Vancouver won 10-6.
General Manager / Head Coach: Aldo Bruno
Regular Season Record: 28-17-1-2
Goals For/Goals Against: 203GF/193GA +10
Power Play: 54/183 (29.51%) 2ND
Penalty Kill: 34/143 (76.22%) 9TH
5 Overagers: Vincent Timperio (F), Alec Pettingale (F), Kaidan Johnson (F), Dylan Narduzzi (D)
Leading Scorers: Dylan Narduzzi (47GP- 1G – 61A – 69P), Kaidan Johnson (35GP- 30G – 28A – 58P), Vincent Timperio (48GP- 19G – 36A – 55P)
THAT SON IS NICE
Kaidan Johnson had 30 goals and 28 assists for 58 points in 35 games. Those 58 points allowed him to finish first in team scoring amongst all forwards. Despite Johnson being in his final year of junior hockey he still managed to have a very successful regular season. The right-shot forward who checks in at 185 pounds and is 6’1” will provide a strong presence on the ice.
‘LAN’D OF NARDUZZI
Dylan Narduzzi is in his final year of junior hockey and truly made the most of it. Narduzzi finished first on his team in points with one goal and 61 assists for 62 points in 47 contests. Narduzzi’s 61 assists were second in the PJHL but helped him finish first in points amongst all PJHL defencemen. The left-shot defenceman from Anmore, BC plays big minutes and is deserving every second. Narduzzi is looking to build upon his regular-season success against the Wolf Pack.
Shayan Kermany is in his second season with the Grandview Steelers and became the starting goaltender for his team this year. The product of Vancouver, BC made 33 appearances in the Steelers creases and secured a record of 21-9. Despite not having a shutout his numbers were solid around the board with a 3.36 GAA and 0.901 SV%. Kermany has faced the Wolf Pack six times in his career and holds a winning record of five wins and one loss. Kermany will likely play in the majority of games against the Wolf Pack.
NORTH VANCOUVER WOLF PACK
General Manager: Dean Samson
Head Coach: Mike Borrelli
Regular Season Record: 26-19-2-1
Goals For/Goals Against: 191GF/180GA +11
Power Play: 57/229 (24.89%) 5TH
Penalty Kill: 49/200 (75.5%) 10TH
2 Overagers: Alex Binette (F), Daniel Dalla Pace (D)
Leading Scorers: JJ Pickell (45GP – 42G – 32A – 74P), Andrew Casellato (42GP – 18G – 43A – 61P), Ryan Hunter (39GP – 10G – 36A – 46P)
TICKLE MY PICKELL
JJ Pickell. That name should bring a lot of fear to the Grandview Steelers. Pickell finished off his second regular season in the PJHL as the league’s highest goal scorer. The left-shot forward had 42 goals and 32 assists for 74 points in 45 games which are 19 more than he had last year. North Vancouver has four players who had 40 or more points this season, including Andrew Casellato, Ryan Hunter, and Trevor Baron. Despite the potency of the Wolf Pack forwards all eyes will be on JJ Pickell.
HE SHOOTS, HE SOARES
Jonathan Soares averaged 1.10 points per game in 31 contests with the Wolf Pack this year. Soares was acquired from the VIJHL’s Kerry Park Islanders in exchange for David Coyle and a player development fee back in October and has made the most of his time with the Pack. In the 31 games that Soares did play, he had eight goals and 26 assists for 34 points. Soares had points in his first seven games with the Wolf Pack which included five assists in his second game. The right-shot defenceman of Surrey, BC plays key minutes for his club at both ends of the ice and will expect the same workload against Grandview.
The goaltending tandem of Charlie Tritt and Zoltan Bencsik was one of the best in the PJHL. It was always a tough decision for the Wolf Pack staff to choose who to start in net each game and that is a problem that all coaches wish they had.
Charlie Tritt appeared in 24 games with the Wolf Pack earning a record of 11-9 to go along with one shutout. The Burnaby, BC boy had a 3.85 GAA, 0.893 SV% and had 656 saves on the campaign. Tritt has been with the team all season and has given his team an opportunity to win a vast majority of games that he has played in.
Zoltan Bencsik finished seventh in the league in goals against with a 2.68 rate and sixth in saves with a .922 save percentage. The product of Calgary, AB logged 785 minutes making 413 saves and locking in two shutouts. Bencsik only experienced two losses with the team during the regular season and has hopes of not seeing another.
North Vancouver finished off their last 10 games with a record of 7-3-0-0. The club ended the series with a 3-game win streak. The team’s strength is its depth and every wolf will need to play its part against their highway rivals.
Survivor Series Schedule
GAME 1: Wednesday, February 15 @ 7:15 (Burnaby Winter Club)
GAME 2: Saturday, February 18 @ 7:15 (Harry Jerome Rec. Centre)
*GAME 3: Sunday, February 19 @ 7:15 PM (Burnaby Winter Club)
* IF NECESSARY