Pilots forward Mason Smith tries to slip the puck by Outlaws goalie David Gillis during PJHL exhibition action on Saturday. (Bob Friesen/Mission Record)

Pilots forward Mason Smith tries to slip the puck by Outlaws goalie David Gillis during PJHL exhibition action on Saturday. (Bob Friesen/Mission Record)

Abbotsford Pilots open preseason with loss

Pilots fall 4-3 to Mission City Outlaws to open exhibition run

We’re still in the dog days of summer, but the Pacific Junior Hockey League gave fans a taste of winter this weekend in Mission.

The Abbotsford Pilots traveled across the Fraser River to battle their arch-rivals the Mission City Outlaws on Saturday, and fell 4-3 to open the exhibition schedule for both clubs.

The two teams were knotted up at one after 20 minutes, with Abbotsford’s goal credited to Andrew Keras assisted by Brian Pol. Mission took over in the second period, building a 4-2 lead, while the Pilots got on the board when Hunter Brown connected on the power play.

The third period saw Keith Chester get the Pilots within one, but it wouldn’t be enough as the club dropped game one of the preseason.

Abbotsford will spend the rest of the month practising and evaluating, but return to the ice on Aug. 29, when they take on the Delta Ice Hawks in Ladner. The two teams then meet again on Aug. 30 in Abbotsford at MSA Arena.

The Pilots open the PJHL regular season on Sept. 4, when they take on the Trappers in Langley. The home opener is set for Sept. 6, when the Outlaws come to MSA Arena. That game opens at 7:30 p.m.

In other Pilots news, the club recently acquired defenceman Chilliwack native Ethan Rideout. The 18-year-old played on the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League champion Revelstoke Grizzlies last season, and also suited up for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League.

For more on the team, visit abbotsfordpilots.com.