Pilots renewing rivarly with Kodiaks

Abbotsford opens season against team that eliminated them

The Abbotsford Pilots return to the rink on Friday and have an opportunity to exact a little revenge for last season.

Abbotsford was bounced in the 2014-15 playoffs last year in the first round in seven games by the Aldergrove Kodiaks, and the Pilots get a chance for some payback at the club’s home opener.

The Pilots battled back from a 3-1 series deficit last season only to fall in the seventh and decisive game. The Kodiaks went on to lose in the next round to the Mission City Outlaws.

Forwards Kolten Grieve and Brady Lawlor, the Pilots’ top two scorers last season return to the club for 2015-16. Grieve, returning goaltender Jacob Crawford and returning defenseman Kellan Lavallee all were named all-stars last year and are expected to play key roles on the club in 2015-16. Other returning players include: Devon Becker, Phillip Gauthier, Joel Balzer, Cole Methorst, Mitchell Plevy, Lucian Serban, Alexander Methorst, and Hayden Guilderson.

Abbotsford went undefeated in five exhibition games earlier this year, posting three wins over the Langley Knights and playing the Princeton Posse to a tie.

The Pilots’ regular home night is Friday’s for 2015-16, with the puck dropping at the MSA Arena at 7:30 p.m. on most nights. This Friday’s game features an opening ceremonies and a celebration to kick off the new season. The team hits the road on Saturday and travels to North Vancouver to battle the Wolf Pack.

The next big event on the Pilots’ calendar is the 16th annual Gary Graber and Richard Newton Memorial Fishing Derby. It runs on Oct. 17 to 18 at Tamihi Campground on Vedder River. Visit abbotsfordpilots.com for more information.