By Ben Lypka, Abbotsford News
It would have been hard to come up with a better start to the 2015-16 season for the Abbotsford Pilots.
On the very first shift of Friday’s opening game against the Aldergrove Kodiaks, Mitchell Plevy banged home a rebound just 23 seconds after the first puck drop and it managed to set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Pilots cruised to a 5-1 win to start off the season on the right foot.
Head coach Jim Cowden said he liked a lot of what he saw in his team’s first taste of action but that there’s still a lot to work on.
“We moved the puck well for the most part,” he said. “But we haven’t really practiced much yet. I think we’re pretty skilled but the guys don’t really know each other yet. I think we will only get better but we’ve got a long way to go.”
Cowden praised the play of goalie Jacob Crawford, who made a number of big saves in the second period to keep the Pilots ahead. The Pilots also had goals from Alexander Methorst (two), Cole Methorst and rookie Brady Morton.
Abbotsford jumped out to a two goal lead at the 16:58 mark, only for the two teams to trade goals within 30 seconds of each other to end the first period 3-1. The Pilots tallied two more in the second and the teams were both kept off the board in the third.
Cowden said he’d like to see his young team focus more on defence.
“I’m defence first and we need to look after our team from the goaltender out,” he said. “I thought we gave up too many opportunities tonight but we’ve got a good bunch of kids that get along and compete.”
He said it was a team effort but several players impressed him on Friday.
“Jacob Crawford our goalie played well,” he said. “I thought Pleavy was good and so was Olson and Methorst. It was really a team win for us tonight.”
The Pilots out-shot the Kodiaks 45-35 and both teams were unsuccessful on the man advantage. Pilots players Alexander Methorst, Plevy and Crawford were named the three stars of the game.
Abbotsford then traveled to North Vancouver on Saturday to take on the defending PJHL champion Wolf Pack and they spoiled the team’s banner-raising party.
The Pilots sealed the deal in the third period with a pair of goals to skate away with a 5-2 win. Erik Olson, Cole Methorst, Lucian Serban and Phillip Gauthier (two) scored in the victory and goalie Brandon Kruger made 25 saves in the win. Both Serban and Gauthier had three-point nights. Kruger and Gauthier were recognized as stars of the game.
Abbotsford returns to MSA Arena on Friday to host the Delta Ice Hawks. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m. For more information on the team, visit abbotsfordpilots.com.