The holiday season is upon us and with a busy schedule ahead, some PJHL players and coaches better make sure they’ve got their shopping done ahead of time.
Meanwhile, the White Rock Whalers have made their way clear of the pack in the middle of the Tom Shaw Conference thanks to a string of play that has banked them some points in the standings.
Potentially historic seasons are ongoing in Richmond and Ridge Meadows as those two teams have combined for just three regulation losses while skaters from North Van and Delta have bunched up atop the PJHL scoring race.
Whale of a Time – The White Rock Whalers have earned points in nine of their last 10 games and six of those games have been away from Centennial Arena. If the road is friendly, that’s good news for White Rock because they play at Poco, Grandview and Delta on Dec. 15, 17 and 19. Forward Derek Leroux, in his first season with the Pod after stops in Port Moody and Ridge Meadows, looks ready to top his previous scoring bests. The Coquitlam product has 27 points in 27 games as of Dec. 9 after recording 33 points a season ago. Rookie defenceman Cohen Massey has been on a tear of late, with eight points in his last four games (as well as 32 PIMs), after beginning the season with WHL Portland.
Hectic Holiday Season – Both the Grandview Steelers and Surrey Knights have 11 games lined up for the month of December, including two games each at the PJHL Winter Classic happening Dec. 28 to 31 at Minoru Arena in Richmond. Their schedules are the busiest in the league this month and while Grandview has sustained a pair of losses to Richmond to start the month, Surrey has points in two straight with a win over Aldergrove and an OT loss to Poco. Parkor Sarai and Kirit Sran have been productive lately for the Knights and combined for four goals and six points in a recent 5-2 win over Aldergrove.
To the Max – It feels like each edition of Trending could have an update about Mission City’s Max Fowle. The Outlaws netminder has played more games and more minutes than anyone else in the PJHL. His 2.06 goals-against average is third in the league while his surreal .950 save percentage leads the pack and he’s made 35-plus stops in each of his last eight starts. Of his 13 wins, four have been shutouts and his play has almost singlehandedly brought Mission City back to the .500 mark and in the mix in the Harold Brittain Conference.
In a Pickell – North Van’s JJ Pickell has never had a PJHL season where he accumulated more assists than goals. That’s holding true again in 2023-24 and with 5-1-6 in his last three games, he’s vaulted to the top of the PJHL scoring race. His finishing is just fine by teammate and rookie Rylan Oatman, who has assisted on four of Pickell’s last five tallies with Oatman rising to fourth in league scoring, 12 points better than the next rookie (Richmond’s Nicholas Noren). Sandwiched between Pickell and Oatman are Delta’s Carson Merriman and Colin Jang who each have five game-winning goals to their credit, as does Pickell.