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

Cascades soccer teams prepare for playoffs

Men’s, women’s teams begin Canada West title drive

Abbotsford mom stuck in Africa over adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran have been waiting four weeks to bring son home

Abbotsford election turnout in line with past votes

Thirty-six per cent of eligible Abbotsford voters cast a ballot in Saturday’s municipal election

Chickens die in morning barn fire in Abbotsford

Structure broke out in flames on Leclair Street in Bradner

Abbotsford boy among winners of national recipe contest

Isaac, 10, heads to Ottawa to participate in Kid Food Nation Gala

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Fraser Valley Throwdown 2018

Highlights from the annual crossfit event at Abbotsford Centre

WWE star Roman Reigns announces he has leukemia

Grappler formerly played in CFL

China opens mega-bridge linking Hong Kong to mainland

The $20 billion bridge took almost a decade to build while incurring major delays and cost overruns

Dangerous Cat 4 Hurricane Willa closing in on Mexico coast

Officials said 7,000 to 8,000 people were being evacuated from low-lying areas, mostly in Sinaloa state

Excessive speed named as cause of Taiwan train derailment

18 people were killed and at least 170 more were injured

Ovechkin has 4 points as Caps rough up Canucks 5-2

WATCH: Defending champs pick up impressive win in Vancouver

Vancouver mayoral hopefuly admits defeat, congratulates winner Kennedy Stewart

Ken Sim of the Non-Partisan Association apologized for the time it took to acknowledge Stewart won

Mental fitness questioned of man charged in Chilliwack River Valley shooting

Peter Kampos told his lawyer ‘his dreams are being stolen and turned into drugs’ at Surrey Pre-trial

B.C. government moves to tighten resource industry regulations

New superintendent will oversee engineers, biologists, foresters

Most Read