Pilots fly into first place

Abbotsford vaults above Mission after wins at Winter Classic

Pilots players swarm the net during a game against the Delta Ice Hawks from earlier this year. The Pilots are now in first place after a pair of wins at the PJHL's Winter Classic event.

Pilots players swarm the net during a game against the Delta Ice Hawks from earlier this year. The Pilots are now in first place after a pair of wins at the PJHL's Winter Classic event.

After a strong showing at the first-ever Pacific Junior Hockey League winter classic, the Abbotsford Pilots are now sitting in first place in the Harold Brittain conference.

All 10 PJHL teams descended on the Minoru Arena in Richmond for three days of games, and the Pilots didn’t disappoint by posting wins on Friday and Saturday.

Abbotsford battled the Delta Ice Hawks on Friday, and the Pilots never trailed, but the Hawks didn’t make it easy. Delta tied the game up three different times, but Abbotsford outlasted them with a 5-4 win.

Francis Bamford and Cole Methorst scored in the first period for the Pilots, as Abbotsford built up a 2-1 lead. Hayden Guilderson scored a pair of goals in the second for the Pilots, but Delta scored three times, and the teams were all tied up at four after two periods.

Cole Methorst then scored the eventual game winner in the third period at 9:34.

Methorst had a big game, recording four points and earning first star of the game. Guilderson also had four points, with Alexander Methorst picking up a pair of assists.

Rookie Pilots goalie Lucas Mills stopped 24 of 28 shots to pick up his third win of the season.

Abbotsford returned to Richmond on Saturday and exploded offensively with an 8-5 win over the Ridge Meadows Flames.

The Methorst brothers were again on fire, with Alexander scoring a hat trick, and Cole picking up four assists.

The two teams were tied 4-4 after two periods, but the Pilots outscored the Flames 4-1 to earn the win.

Goal scorers for the Pilots were: Sean Olson, Alexander Methorst (three), Dryden Michaud (two), and Phillip Gauthier (two). Five different Pilots recorded multiple-point games in the win. Pilots goalie Jacob Crawford made 23 saves for his 14th win of the season.

The pair of wins vaulted the Pilots to first place in the Harold Brittain conference, as they moved ahead of the Mission City Outlaws by one point. Abbotsford now sports a record of 21 wins, 10 losses, one tie and one overtime loss.

The Pilots next have a home-and-home weekend with the Flames, as they travel to Ridge Meadows on Friday and then host the Flames at MSA Arena on Saturday. Faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the team, visit abbotsfordpilots.com.