Pilots even first-round series with Flames

Abbotsford hosting Ridge Meadows for game three tonight

Pilots defenceman Thomas Pickering collides with Flames forward Alexandre Furlan during game one action on Friday.

Pilots defenceman Thomas Pickering collides with Flames forward Alexandre Furlan during game one action on Friday.

It’s just two games in, but the first round Pacific Junior Hockey League series between the Abbotsford Pilots and the Ridge Meadows Flames could prove to be a long one.

The clubs are locked in a 1-1 series tie, with the road team winning both games.

Friday’s game one at MSA Arena saw the Pilots enter the third period with a 5-1 lead, but the Flames scored four unanswered goals in regulation, plus one in overtime to pull off the 5-4 win.

Oliver Alcock and Noah Wiebe gave Abbotsford a 2-0 lead after one, and Wiebe scored two more in the second period to post a hat trick. Carter Shannon also tallied for the Pilots, who were sitting pretty and up 5-1 after two.

It all fell apart in the third, and the Flames tied the game up at 17:02 when Zachary McKee scored on a penalty shot. Special teams were a big story in the game, as Ridge Meadows went three for eight on the power play, and the Pilots scored twice on four opportunities.

Pilots goalie Noah Giesbrecht made 33 saves in the loss, while Flames starter Jack Stradiotti was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots. Paul Tucek entered the crease in relief, making 33 saves for the win. The Pilots outshot the Flames 50-39 in game one.

Saturday’s game two in Maple Ridge saw Giesbrecht and the Pilots shut the door, blanking the Flames 3-0.

Wiebe scored two more goals, and Nate Castonguay also tallied to help the Pilots even the series.

Game three is tonight (Tuesday) at MSA Arena. Face-off is set for 7 p.m.

Game four is scheduled for Wednesday in Maple Ridge, and the best-of-seven series shifts back to Abbotsford on Friday at 7:30 p.m.