Pilots defenceman Eric Wieking puts the clamps on Aldergrove's Liam Pearce on Friday at MSA Arena.

Pilots defenceman Eric Wieking puts the clamps on Aldergrove's Liam Pearce on Friday at MSA Arena.

Pilots’ penalty killers come up big vs. Aldergrove

A lethal penalty kill was the difference for the Abbotsford Pilots on Friday, as they beat the Aldergrove Kodiaks 5-2 at MSA Arena.

A lethal penalty kill was the difference for the Abbotsford Pilots on Friday, as they beat the Aldergrove Kodiaks 5-2 at MSA Arena.

The Kodiaks had 11 power plays, including a pair of five-on-threes, but the Pilots’ shorthanded brigade came through in a big way, snuffing each and every one of Aldergrove’s man-advantage chances.

“Our penalty kill was outstanding,” enthused Pilots coach Jim Cowden, offering special plaudits to forwards Luke Venema, Brandon Daase, Colton Cowden and Chris Vinette. “I knew going in that we’d be good, because we have a lot of our guys on the PK back from last year.

“They get in lanes, they block shots, they do the little things that matter.”

The Pilots took a 3-2 lead into the third period, with Austin Edwards, Kyle Star and Keith Bendall scoring for the home side.

Vinette played the role of closer – the veteran forward scored an insurance goal with 3:59 remaining in the final frame, then rounded out the scoring with an empty-netter with just over a minute left.

Goalie Aaron Oakley has been the Pilots’ best player in the early going this season, and he was outstanding once again against Aldergrove, stopping 33 of 35 shots.

• The Pilots (2-1-0) are back in action Thursday, as they head across the Fraser to visit the Mission Outlaws (7:15 p.m., Mission Leisure Centre). On Friday, the Pilots host the Grandview Steelers (7:30 p.m., MSA Arena).

Pilots forward Kyle Star fires a shot at Aldergrove Kodiaks keeper Brenden Sharp. (John Morrow photo)