Special teams lift Abbotsford Pilots to win

Pilots perfect on penalty kill in win over North Vancouver

Kellan Lavallee moves in on the Wolf Pack goalie during PJHL action on Friday.

Special teams were the difference for the Abbotsford Pilots on Friday.

The Pilots killed off all six penalties they were faced with, including a momentum-turning, two-man disadvantage for a full two minutes.

Abbotsford faced that situation tied 1-1 in the first period, and answered back in the second period. Forward Brady Morton pounced on a loose puck in the second period to give Abbotsford a 2-1 lead and that proved to be the difference. The Pilots faced several more shorthanded situations, but goalie Jacob Crawford was strong between the pipes, stopping 33 of 34 shots for the win.

“Our special teams were outstanding tonight especially the penalty kill,” said Pilots head coach Jim Cowden. “Our penalty killers [Philip] Gauthier, [Mateo] Toledo and [Joel] Balzer were outstanding on the kill for us tonight.”

Jackson Waniek of the Pilots opened the scoring at 4:34 of the first period, after connecting on a power play goal. The Pilots were out-shot 16-9 in the third period, but Cowden said the team didn’t sit back.

“We’re a pretty good defensive team,” he said. “We’ve got the best goals against and penalty killing and you never want to hold back in the situation, but you want to be responsible and that’s how we played.”

Cowden said it was a nice bounce-back game for Crawford, after he struggled a bit in Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Langley Knights in Langley. The Pilots had a 2-1 lead after one, but the Knights scored two in the second to skate away with the win. Hayden Guilderson and Cole Methorst tallied for the Pilots in a losing cause.

Cowden said he’s making some minor tweaks to the roster, bringing in Waniek from Langley and forward Kevin Allan from the Grandview Bruins in recent weeks.

It was only the seventh loss of the season for the defending PJHL champion Wolf Pack, who are in first place in the Tom Shaw Conference.

The Pilots’ record improved to 14 wins, eight losses and one overtime loss after the pair of games.

They are in second place in the Harold Brittain Conference, but can make up some ground on the first-place Mission City Outlaws when Mission comes to the MSA Arena on Friday. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Pilots also travel to Aldergrove to take on the Kodiaks tonight at 7:15 p.m. inside the Aldergrove Community Arena.

Just Posted

Can protected bike lanes get more kids cycling to school in Abbotsford?

Planners hope safer bike facilities can encourage pint-sized commuters to hit the road on two wheels

Man pepper-sprayed and arrested near railroad tracks in Abbotsford

Police and fire crews called to incident at Marshall and Riverside

MEI three-peats as Spartan Cup champions

Senior boys finish first, junior boys place second at Langley event

UPDATE: Highway now open after several hour closure at Herrling Island

Westbound traffic is stopped, and some cars have been seen driving the wrong way on the highway

Rainbow crosswalk plan gets council support in Hope

Council writing letter of support to community group for crosswalk project

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

‘We still did not get answers’: Vancouver parents demand expulsion after students’ racist video

‘We were unable to get confirmation from the VSB, but he hasn’t returned as of yet,’ says Marie Tate

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

‘What goes up will come down’: Gas prices spike in Metro Vancouver

Petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says prices will fall Thursday

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read