Surrey Knights fired 34 shots but couldn’t get one by visiting goaltender Brodie Haylock during the team’s season-opening game.
Thursday night (Sept. 9) at North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, the home team fell 5-0 to Langley Trappers during the first week of the PJHL’s return to action, with spectators in stands again.
After surrending two goals early in the game, it was a “sluggish” start for the Knights, according to a game report posted to the team’s new-look website (surreyknights.ca).
New head coach Andy Liboiron “will have to come up with a new warmup routine to wake up his crew next game. The Knights rallied 10 minutes into the first period and fought hard. The powerplay looked good but didn’t twinkle the twine and looked tired as the coaches leaned on them hard, possibly too long, trying to get a goal.”
Brodie Haylock gets the game puck for his first career PJHL win, also a shutout! Way to go, Brodie! pic.twitter.com/fa9f7wBt7o— Langley Trappers (@LangleyTrappers) September 10, 2021
For the Knights, goalie Brendan Olson made 34 saves on 39 shots during the game, which saw 2002-born Trappers forward Anthony Bosnjak score three goals and an assist, with single markers from Hayden Yahn and Lleyton Shearon.
Knights forward Brandon Melsness, an 18-year-old from Ladysmith, earned the right to wear a thick gold chain as the team’s Player of the Game (POG).
Melsness, along with Dalton Mackeigan and Tyson Williams, showed promise on the penalty-kill, as the Knights were called for seven minors over 60 minutes of play.
“They thwarted large chunks of the Langley powerplay and were able to generate some shorthanded offence and freeze the puck behind either net,” the game report says.
“It should be noted that this was the first junior game for at least half of the Knights team, and it showed in the team’s start. Apprehensive and overly cautious play (by) the team ended up in the result they received.”
Following two start-stop seasons due to the pandemic, it’s game time again for the Knights and other teams in league.
Next up for the Knights is another home game Thursday (Sept. 16), 7 p.m. start against White Rock Whalers, followed by a Sept. 18 battle in Mission against the Outlaws.
Liboiron, 30, originally from Kitchener, Ontario, takes over head-coaching duties from Gerry Leiper, who will focus on general-managment work and also serve as an associate coach.
Knights forward this year are Billy Thompson, Tyson Williams, Dalton Mackeigan, Brandon Melsness, Henry Brawdy, Roman Wolynec, Tak Nagamatsu, Caleb Douglas, Montaro Uyeyama, Jayman Jutla and Jake Thompson.
The seven defensemen are listed as Liam Knotts, Tyson Benoit, Maddox Caie, Logan Earle, Brad Collins, Nick Rusnak and Darian Tamas, and the goaltenders are Rahul Sharma, DJ Cash and Brendan Olson.