Pilots goalie Brock Machholz stretches out to make a save during PJHL action on Friday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: Abbotsford Pilots stumble into 2020

Club riding a three game losing streak to close out 2019

The Abbotsford Pilots ended the 2019 calendar year with three straight losses, including setbacks to the Richmond Sockeyes at home on Friday and to the Mission City Outlaws on the road on Saturday.

Friday’s game saw the Pilots allow goals in the first and second period to fall 2-0 to the Sockeyes.

Abbotsford was outshot 45-15 in the loss, and goalie Brock Machholz was busy making 43 saves.

On the positive side, the Pilots killed off all seven penalties they were assessed, but the team also went zero for three with the man advantage. Abbotsford’s power play sits 10th overall in the 12-team league at just 12.5 per cent, but the club really struggles on home ice clicking at just 8.11 per cent. The Pilots have scored just six power play goals in 74 opportunities at MSA Arena.

Abbotsford then traveled up Highway 11 on Saturday to battle the Outlaws, but lost control of the game in the third period to fall 5-4.

Mission opened the scoring at 1:28 of the first period, but Abbotsford replied with three consecutive goals to go up 3-1 after 20 minutes. Hunter Brown and Mason Smith (two) tallied for the Pilots, with two of those goals coming on the power play.

The teams traded goals in the second, with Mission making it a one goal game twice. Abbotsford’s Jared Pikethly scored the lone goal of the second for the Pilots, and the club was up 4-3 after two.

Mission took over in the third period, scoring a pair of goals and outshooting the Pilots 13-4. Smith had a strong game for the Pilots, as he was in on all four Abbotsford goals. Brown added three points and Pikethly had a two point night. Machholz made 24 saves in a losing cause.

The Pilots end the 2019 calendar in fifth place in the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Harold Brittain conference, with a record of 12-20-0-1. The club sits five points out of a playoff spot.

Next up for the Pilots is the PJHL’s annual Winter Classic event at Minoru Arena in Richmond. The fifth annual event invites all the teams in the league to showcase their skills in one setting. The Pilots take on the Sockeyes on Jan. 3 and then challenge the Ridge Meadows Flames on Jan. 4. Both games face-off at 7 p.m.

Abbotsford then returns home on Jan. 10, when the Port Moody Panthers come to the MSA Arena. Face-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Video by: Joshua Watkins/Black Press

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