Pilots forward Kolby Steen outraces a Flames defender during game five of Abbotsford's first round series against Ridge Meadows on Friday.

Abbotsford Pilots flame out in five

Ridge Meadows Flames eliminate Pilots on home ice in opening playoff round

The Abbotsford Pilots couldn’t solve Ridge Meadows Flames goalie Paul Tucek, and it cost them their season.

Abbotsford fell 5-1 to the Flames on home ice on Friday, a loss that ended their best-of-seven series with Ridge Meadows in five games (4-1).

Pilots coach Jim Cowden said his team had chances, but just couldn’t slip enough past Tucek.

“We ran into a hot goalie,” Cowden said, following the game. “We had our chances, we fired 41 shots at him in game four, but even at point blank we missed.”

Cowden pointed to game one as a turning point in the series. The Pilots were up 5-1 on home ice heading into the third period, but Tucek shut the door after coming on in relief mid-way through the second period. Ridge Meadows came back to win that game 6-5 in overtime.

Tucek was stellar in every game of the series, allowing just six goals in five appearances. His save percentage was .962 going into Friday’s game.

The Pilots also played the first two games of the series without starting goalie Jacob Crawford, who was unavailable to play.

“It wasn’t meant to be,” Cowden added. “The hockey gods weren’t smiling on us.”

Friday’s game saw the Flames score in the first period, and the game remained 1-0 heading into the third. Ridge Meadows made it 3-0 in the middle of the third, but Abbotsford roared back when Kolby Steen scored on a shorthanded breakaway goal.

Moments later it appeared the Pilots has scored again, but the referee ruled the goal had been gloved in, and the goal was disallowed. The Flames added two more goals to make it a 5-1 final.

The game marked the end to the junior hockey careers of Steen, Crawford, captain Philip Gauthier, Mitchell Plevy and defenders Issaih Piers, Kellan Lavallee and Nicholas Leeder.

The Flames now move on to the Harold Brittain conference final, where they will take on the Aldergrove Kodiaks.

For more on this story, read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News.

 

 

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