The Abbotsford Pilots have dug themselves an 0-2 hole in their best-of-seven junior B championship series against the Richmond Sockeyes.
They can start digging out tonight in Richmond during game three of the Pacific International Junior Hockey League final.
The first game was a 3-1 loss on Friday at MSA Arena, and the second was 4-3 Saturday in Richmond. Saturday’s loss was hard to take, said Pilots head coach Jim Cowden, as the Sockeyes got the game winner with just five seconds left in the third period.
That, after Pilots rang their shots off posts or the crossbar four times in the first game, has Cowden feeling like the Sockeyes get more breaks than Sami Salo.
Especially after the Pilots lost their starting goaltender.
Brad Anderson is one of the league’s most solid netminders. He had stopped all eight shots he faced Saturday, but after the last one he couldn’t get up, and was taken from the game with painful back problems.
“He couldn’t even stand up,” said Cowden, adding it is 50-50 whether Anderson will be available for the rest of the series.
Backup Cole Chreptyk allowed four goals on 27 shots, but Cowden said he was solid in net.
The lone Pilots goal Friday was from Riley Lamb, set up by Brett Kolins. On Saturday, Lamb, Daniel Amesbury and Brock Wellicome all scored.
“We’re not out of it. They’ve got to win four games,” insists Cowden. He noted Richmond had trouble finishing off the Delta Ice Hawks in their last series. Richmond got up three games to one, but then the series went to Game 7.
“Our guys have played well, and we haven’t given up a lot of chances,” said the coach. “We get a few bounces, and we’ll be OK.”
The Pilots will not host Game 4 in the friendly confines of MSA Arena, as minor hockey has bumped them to Abbotsford Recreation Centre (ARC). There is nothing confining about it’s Olympic-sized sheet of ice.
Cowden said his team will have to be cognizant off their positioning in the bigger rink, and speedy forwards need to take advantage of the extra room.
“We’re a good skating team, so hopefully it helps us,” said Cowden.
The remaining series schedule:
Game 4 – Tuesday, March 22, 7 p.m. at Abbotsford Recreation Centre
Game 5* – Thursday, March 24, 7:30 p.m. at Richmond Arena
Game 6* – Friday, March 25, 7:30 p.m. at MSA Arena
Game 7* – Sunday, March 27, 5:45 p.m. at Richmond Arena