Pilots Lucian Serban (12) and Kolten Grieve (21) scrum it up in front of the net. The Pilots lost to the Kodiaks 4-1 on Friday night at MSA arena.

Pilots struggling with injury

The Abby Pilots lost twice last week while playing with only four defencemen due to injuries.

After streaking from last to first in the Harold Brittain Conference of the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) in November, the Abbotsford Pilots are experiencing some December difficulty.

The Pilots dropped two games last week by identical 4-1 scores, losing to the Aldergrove Kodiaks and then the Ridge Meadows Flames back-to-back.

To compound the difficulty of playing two games in 24 hours, the Pilots were also down two defencemen, having lost Devon Becker and Trent Huitema to injury.

“We’re just kind of banged up,” said Pilots coach Jim Cowden. “We played with four defencemen back-to-back nights … they were pretty tired.”

The Pilots went down 2-0 to the Kodiaks on Friday, Dec. 5 before benefitting from a second-period goal off the stick of Tyler Fraser (assists to Mateo Toledo and Joel Balzer). The Kodiaks scored a third goal in the final period before finding an empty net in the waning minutes.

On Saturday, the Flames scored twice on the Pilots in the first four minutes.  Philip Gauthier managed an unassisted goal to keep Abby in the game, but Ridge Meadows would net two more in the second period.

“We had our opportunities and just didn’t capitalize,” said Cowden. “When you’re missing two pretty good defencemen, it’s hard to get the puck to the forwards.”

The Pilots play four more games before the Christmas break. They next play this Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Mission City Outlaws.

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