After cruising through the early portion of their schedule, the Abbotsford Pilots encountered their first patch of turbulence last week.
The local junior B hockey club suffered its first back-to-back losses of the season, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Richmond Sockeyes on Thursday and by the same score in regulation time to the Ridge Meadows Flames on Friday. Both games were on the road.
The Pilots took a 2-1 lead into the third period against the Pacific Junior Hockey League-leading Sockeyes on goals by Ryan Parmar and Chris Vinette. But Richmond’s Sam Chichak scored early in the third to knot the score, and Jeremy Hamaguchi got the game-winner 57 seconds into OT.
The loss wasted a terrific effort from Abby goalie Aaron Oakley, who stopped 45 of 48 Sockeyes shots.
On Friday, the Pilots out-shot the Flames 37-17, but ran into a hot goalie in Wesley McLeod. Mico Dragutinovic and Adam Rossi were the only Abby shooters to squeak pucks past him.
The Pilots obtained Dragutinovic and defenceman Michael Dion in a trade with the Port Moody Panthers last week in exchange for rookie forward Wolfgang Schoenefuhs. The 20-year-old Surrey native was the Panthers’ top scorer at the time of the deal with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in seven games.
Despite the weekend defeats, Abbotsford still leads the Harold Brittain Conference with a 6-2-1 record.
• The Pilots have a trio of games this week. They visit the Delta Ice Hawks on Tuesday (7:30 p.m., Delta Leisure Centre), and host the Mission City Outlaws on Friday (7:30 p.m., MSA Arena). On Saturday they hit the road once again to face the North Delta Devils (6:45 p.m., Sungod Arena).