Abbotsford Pilots earn pair of wins

Junior hockey team posts victories over Grandview and North Vancouver

The Abbotsford Pilots have returned to their winning ways for the first time in 2018, picking up wins on Friday and Saturday as the club begins its playoff push.

Abbotsford hosted the Grandview Steelers on Friday, and a third period surge saw the team earn a 4-3 win.

Grandview jumped out to a 1-0 lead early, but the Pilots responded with goals from Baylee Wright and Tyler Falk to enter the second period with a 2-1 lead.

The Steelers then tied the game up in the middle frame, but the Pilots took over in the third with goals from Jamie Housch and Jeremy Zomar. Grandview added a goal with 52 seconds left to make it a 4-3 final.

Pilots goalie Gunnar Neilsen made 23 saves for the win. Both teams scored power play goals, and the Steelers outshot Abbotsford 26-25.

The third period proved to be a launching pad for the Pilots again on Saturday, as after two periods of scoreless action the club scored four goals in the third to defeat the North Vancouver Wolf Pack 4-0.

Alexander Methorst (two), Wright and Kellan Toews all tallied in the final frame to pick up the victory. Special teams were also a story, as neither team managed a power play goal despite 15 opportunities between them.

Neilsen stopped all 22 shots he faced for his 15th win and second shutout on the season. Wright continues his quest for the Pacific Junior Hockey League scoring title, as the Langley product now has a league-leading 68 points in 32 games. He’s eight points up on the second place player.

The Pilots record now sits at 21 wins, 11 losses, one tie and three overtime losses. Abbotsford is second in the Harold Brittain conference, and fifth overall in the PJHL.

Abbotsford next takes on the Langley Trappers tonight (Wednesday) in Langley, and then returns home to host the Ridge Meadows Flames on Friday at MSA Arena. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

In other league news, the rosters for the annual PJHL Prospects Game has been announced with three Pilots named to the Brittain conference team at the game.

Forwards Alexander Beechey and Jared Pitkethly along with defender Savhan Gill have been invited to the game, which occurs at Abbotsford’s MSA Arena on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

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