Pilots goalie Brock Machholz smothers the puck during Friday’s game against the Grandview Steelers. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Pilots goalie Brock Machholz smothers the puck during Friday’s game against the Grandview Steelers. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Pilots not going to the postseason

First time Pilots have missed playoffs since 1995-96

The Abbotsford Pilots’ playoff dreams for this season are long gone, but the team managed to score a nice win last Friday against the Grandview Steelers.

After falling behind 1-0 after one, Abbotsford’s Sean McCracken tied the game at 7:31 of the second period. The game remained tied for much of the third, but Pilots forward Ethan Rideout scored the game winner at 17:39 to earn the Pilots the 2-1 win.

Pilots goalie Brock Machholz was excellent in goal, making 38 saves to earn his 12th win this season.

Abbotsford remains in fifth place in the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Harold Brittain Conference at 14-24-0-2. This year’s record is the second worst in Pilots history, only beating out the 1995-96 record of 12-28. This season marks the first year since ’95-96 that Abbotsford has not qualified for the postseason.

Connecting on the power play continues to be an issue for the Pilots this season, and the club went 0/2 on Friday. For the season, Abbotsford is the worst in the PJHL, operating at just 12.06 per cent. The team has converted just 24 times on 199 opportunities.

The Pilots have only scored 88 goals in total this season, with only the lowly Surrey Knights scoring less. Abbotsford has also failed to record a single shorthanded goal this season.

Forward Mason Smith has been a bright spot for the team, leading the club in scoring with 36 points in 36 games. Rookie Hunter Brown has also had a solid first year with 13 goals and 24 points in 34 games.

The Pilots next host the North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Friday. Puck drop is set for 7:30 p.m. The final game for the 2019-20 season occurs on Feb. 7, when the Surrey Knights come to town.

RELATED: VIDEO: Abbotsford Pilots stumble into 2020

Junior B Hockey

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