Pilots fly to PIJHL final

The Abbotsford Pilots are a resilient bunch. The local junior B hockey club capped a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit on Tuesday, beating the Port Moody Black Panthers 6-3 at MSA Arena.

Devon Toews of the Abbotsford Pilots protects the puck against pressure from Taylor Young of the Port Moody Black Panthers.

Devon Toews of the Abbotsford Pilots protects the puck against pressure from Taylor Young of the Port Moody Black Panthers.

The Abbotsford Pilots are a resilient bunch.

The local junior B hockey club capped a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit on Tuesday, beating the Port Moody Black Panthers 6-3 at MSA Arena.

The victory punched the Pilots’ ticket to the Pacific International Junior Hockey League final, where they’ll face either the Richmond Sockeyes or the Delta Ice Hawks. Those two teams play Game 7 of their semifinal series this evening.

“We’re a very resilient group,” Pilots defenceman Travis Grewal said. “We just keep our heads up and keep going.”

On Tuesday, the Pilots built a 2-1 lead through two periods, but the Panthers surged ahead with a couple of quick goals in the third.

The Pilots, though, responded with four unanswered goals, with the game-winner coming on a seeing-eye point shot from Grewal at the 8:33 mark.

Christopher Vinette and Riley Lamb scored two goals apiece for Abbotsford, while Kevin Lourens added a single.

“Even in the third period, when they had us 3-2, I just knew these guys could battle back,” Pilots coach Jim Cowden said. “Every time they’re down, they’re not out.

“It’s a good group. They work for each other, battle for each other.”

Pilots owner Jack Goeson, who has been involved with the team since 1988, said Tuesday’s victory represented the first time the Abbotsford team has come all the way back from the dreaded 3-1 series deficit.