Pilots’ lackluster loss to Flames ‘very upsetting’: Cowden

A weekend split illustrated the Abbotsford Pilots' season-long inconsistency when playing teams below them in the standings.

Pilots forward Adam Rossi battles for position in front of the Port Moody Black Panthers net on Friday at MSA Arena.

Pilots forward Adam Rossi battles for position in front of the Port Moody Black Panthers net on Friday at MSA Arena.

A weekend split illustrated the Abbotsford Pilots’ season-long inconsistency when playing teams below them in the standings.

On Friday at MSA Arena, the local junior B hockey club racked up 66 shots on goal in a 4-2 win over the Port Moody Black Panthers. Justin Dorey, Chris Vinette, Luke Venema and Brad Parker scored for the Pilots, and the score could have been much more lopsided if not for a strong outing from Panthers goalie Zachary Station.

Then on Saturday night, the Pilots laid an egg in a 2-0 road loss to the lowly Ridge Meadows Flames. In the aftermath, head coach Jim Cowden was extremely peeved with the effort his team put forth.

“That’s probably one of the most discouraging games I’ve ever coached in, as far as the lack of effort and consistency,” Cowden said. “It was very upsetting.

“I could go down the whole lineup, and only one hockey player played last night, and that was (forward Brady) Lawlor. Everyone else didn’t show up. They might as well not have even come.”

It marked the second consecutive defeat for the Pilots (23-10-2-0) against the Flames (8-27-1-0), and is all the more discouraging considering Ridge Meadows is a potential first-round playoff opponent.

“It’s somewhat concerning, and these guys have got to learn to adjust,” Cowden said. “I don’t care if we’re playing a strong, mediocre or weak team – we’ve got to stick to what we do best and play well.”

A win over the Flames would have given Abbotsford sole possession of first place in the Pacific International Junior Hockey League’s Harold Brittain Conference. As it stands, they’re tied with the Aldergrove Kodiaks at 48 points, and Aldergrove has a game in hand.

• The Pilots are back in action on Thursday, when they visit the league-leading Richmond Sockeyes (7:30 p.m., Richmond Arena). The next home game is Friday against the Mission Icebreakers (7:30 p.m., MSA Arena).