Pilots bounce back

Jarrett Martin (16) and Garrett Lynum of the Pilots jockey for position in front of the Mission Icebreakers’ net on Saturday evening at MSA Arena.

Jarrett Martin (16) and Garrett Lynum of the Pilots jockey for position in front of the Mission Icebreakers’ net on Saturday evening at MSA Arena.

The Abbotsford Pilots inched closer to clinching first place in the Harold Brittain Conference by splitting a pair of games on the weekend.

The local junior B hockey club dropped a 4-3 decision to the Ridge Meadows Flames in a rare Friday road game, but rebounded for a 5-3 triumph over the Mission Icebreakers on Saturday at MSA Arena.

The results left the Pilots seven points clear of the second-place Port Moody Black Panthers. Abbotsford has one game in hand with seven games remaining in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League regular season.

The Pilots out-shot the Flames 41-32 on Friday, including a 24-7 edge in the first period. But Ridge Meadows stole the victory on Todd Fletcher’s power play goal with one second remaining in the third period.

On Saturday, Mission’s Travis Park opened the scoring at 2:42 of the second period, but the Pilots responded with four consecutive goals – including three on the power play – to take control. Blueliner Garett Lynum scored twice in the win, while Riley Lamb, Justin Dorey and Brock Wellicome also tallied for Abbotsford.

The Pilots are back in action on Friday, when they host the Richmond Sockeyes (7:30 p.m., MSA Arena).