Abbotsford Pilots goalie Aaron Oakley stones Marc Letourneau of the Delta Ice Hawks with a glove save during Friday’s season-opener at MSA Arena. Despite Oakley’s heroics

Abbotsford Pilots goalie Aaron Oakley stones Marc Letourneau of the Delta Ice Hawks with a glove save during Friday’s season-opener at MSA Arena. Despite Oakley’s heroics

Goalie Oakley a bright spot as Pilots split on opening weekend

After the Abbotsford Pilots hoisted their banners to the rafters, the Delta Ice Hawks did their best to spoil the party.

After the Abbotsford Pilots hoisted their B.C. and Western Canadian championship banners to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony on Friday, the Delta Ice Hawks did their best to spoil the party.

The Ice Hawks beat the Pilots 3-1 in their regular season opener at MSA Arena, a game which re-ignited one of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League’s great rivalries.

Last season, the Ice Hawks beat the Pilots in a six-game series to claim the PIJHL championship, but Abbotsford bounced back to win the Cyclone Taylor Cup provincial crown and the Keystone Cup Western Canadian title.

“It’s always a battle,” Delta coach Dave McLellan noted with a grin. “I think the league did a good thing, scheduling the two teams that played in the final last year (to open the season). You obviously develop a rivalry when you play as many games as we did, and the battle that we had.”

On Friday, Delta got goals from Kristofer Melna, Anthony Brito and Alex Martin, while Mike Tebbutt replied for the Pilots.

Abbotsford coach Jim Cowden was pleased with the performance of goalie Aaron Oakley, who made 38 saves, and with his youthful blueline corps. But he said the Pilots’ forwards need to be better, particularly in their own zone.

“We did a lot of running around,” Cowden said. “Our D was good, but our forwards weren’t so good. There wasn’t enough urgency, and too many shots were getting through.”

The Pilots bounced back with a 4-2 road win over the Port Moody Panthers on Saturday, out-shooting the hosts 43-19. Brandon Daase, Chris Vinette, Dakota Schipper and Kyle Star scored the Abby goals, while Oakley was named first star of the game.

• The Pilots are back in action on Friday, as they host the Aldergrove Kodiaks (7:30 p.m., MSA Arena).

Joel Atkinson of the Pilots carries the puck up-ice as Delta’s Anthony Brito hustles to catch up. (John Morrow photo)

Just Posted

Xauni de Figeuiroa of Abbotsford has been selected to attend a virtual space camp hosted by the Canadian Space Agency at the end of July.
Abbotsford student selected to attend virtual space camp

Xauni de Figeuiroa among 52 youth selected from across Canada

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

A program of the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation enables patients to thank their health-care workers.
Fraser Valley program enables patients to say thanks to their health-care workers

Philip Harris Grateful Patient Program offered through health care foundation

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read