Abbotsford beats Delta in home opener

Pilots shoot down Ice Hawks 4-3 at MSA Arena

Pilots forward Mitchell Plevy fights for the puck following a face off during Abbotsford's game against Delta on Friday.

Pilots forward Mitchell Plevy fights for the puck following a face off during Abbotsford's game against Delta on Friday.

Following a 6-2 loss to open the Pacific Junior Hockey League season on Wednesday, the Abbotsford Pilots bounced back on home ice by disposing of the Delta Ice Hawks 4-3 on Friday.

Abbotsford never trailed in the game, and opened the scoring at 2:52 of the first period when forward Mateo Toledo lit the lamp. Brady Morton and Jamie Housch picked up the assists.

Rookie Corbin Genge made it 2-0 game with 5:30 left in the first, scoring his first ever PJHL goal, with Kolby Steen and Thomas Pickering setting him up. Delta added a late goal to cut the lead in half after one period.

Toledo scored his second of the night at 4:10 of the second period after he deflected a shot from the point on the power play to put the Pilots up 3-1 in the second period. Logan Favel and Nicholas Leeder drew the helpers on the goal. Both teams traded chances, but it turned out to be the only score in the middle frame.

The Ice Hawks stormed back in the third, scoring power play and shorthanded goals to even the game up with 9:30 remaining. However, the Pilots would squeeze one by the Ice Hawks goalie with six minutes left. Jackson Waniek was credited with the game winner, while Steen and captain Mitchell Plevy were credited with the assists.

The three stars of the game were goalie Jacob Crawford, forward Kolby Steen and Toledo.

Pilots head coach Jim Cowden noted that his team was only playing with four defenceman, as injuries and other commitments led two rearguards to miss Friday’s game.

“We were tired at times tonight,” he said. “It’s hard to play with just four D at this level, but I think they played well.”

Cowden said the team is still learning its systems, but he liked what he saw from Friday.

“We’re going to be good, we’re quick and we’re putting all our systems together,” he said, noting that the team has only been practising as a group for under a week.

The Pilots return to action on Thursday against the Surrey Knights on the road. They then return home to host the PJHL champion Mission City Outlaws on Friday night.