Pilots forward Ryan MacDonald battles with Trappers defender Thomas Colter during game three on Saturday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Pilots forward Ryan MacDonald battles with Trappers defender Thomas Colter during game three on Saturday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Pilots take 3-0 series lead on Langley Trappers

Game four goes down tonight at the George Preston Recreation Centre

The Abbotsford Pilots are now one win away from advancing to round two of the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The Pilots put a stranglehold on their first round series with the Langley Trappers with a dominant 5-0 win in game three on Saturday.

That victory put the Pilots up 3-0 in the best-of-seven opening round.

Abbotsford jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, and then added two more in the third to seal the win. Ryan MacDonald, Brady Morton, Baylee Wright, Cameron Obcena and Noah Wiebe all tallied for the Pilots.

Gunnar Neilsen was flawless in between the pipes, stopping all 19 shots he faced for the shutout. Special teams were also a factor, as the Pilots killed off all eight penalties they were assessed. Wright had a four point night, and is the PJHL’s leading playoff scorer so far with seven points in three games.

Pilots head coach Jim Cowden liked his team’s performance in game three.

“We played well especially in the first period when we stayed out of the box,” he said. “We got into a little bit of penalty trouble in the second, but in the third they just ran out of gas.”

Cowden said his special teams have been solid in the series, and noted being healthy makes a big difference. He said his club may be up 3-0, but the series outside of game three has been close.

“They’re a good team and they work extremely hard,” he said, of the expansion Trappers. “We have to keep matching their work ethic. They’re just a little inexperienced as a team, but the first two games were very tough for us.”

Game four occurs in Langley at the George Preston Recreation Centre tonight (Monday) at 7 p.m.

The other semi-final in the Harold Brittain conference sees the Ridge Meadows Flames have a commanding 3-0 lead on the Aldergrove Kodiaks. Game four in that series takes place on Wednesday in Aldergrove.