Abbotsford’s Mason Smith directs a puck towards the net during PJHL action on Friday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Pilots win pair of games

Junior hockey club has now won three of last four

The Abbotsford Pilots continued their recent strong play, winning games on Thursday and Saturday to crawl back into the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoff picture.

The club has now won three of four and now sit four points out of the postseason bubble.

Abbotsford edged the winless Surrey Knights 2-1 on Dec. 5, with all the scoring in the game coming in the third period.

Pilots forward Alexander Beechey broke the scoreless tie with a power play goal at 15:28 of the third period, and Mason Smith made it 2-0 just 20 seconds later. Surrey got on the board 27 second later, but it wasn’t enough.

Surrey outshot Abbotsford 35-33, and Pilots goalie Brock Machholz was strong in between the pipes with 34 saves and was named the game’s first star. The Chilliwack native has now recorded nine wins this season.

The Pilots returned to the MSA Arena on Dec. 6, and posted a 4-3 win over the Delta Ice Hawks.

Abbotsford jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first, with goals from Matthew Dyck, Jared Pikethly and Austin Moar. Delta roared back in the second, making it a 3-2 game midway through the period but Dyck added his second to put the Pilots up 4-2 after two.

The Ice Hawks scored the game’s lone goal in the third period, but Machholz shut the door after that to post the win. The Pilots starting goalie made an impressive 39 saves and was named the game’s third star. Dyck, the game’s first star and Devon Wolfe both had multi-point games in the victory.

Abbotsford remains in fifth place in the PJHL’s Harold Brittain conference, and trail the Aldergrove Kodiaks by four points for a playoff spot.

The club’s next home game occurs on Friday, and Hometown Hockey’s Tara Slone will be on hand for a ceremonial puck drop before the game against the Port Moody Panthers. Slone and the Hometown Hockey crew will be at Abbotsford’s Exhibition Park for the festival on Saturday and Sunday. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

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