The Abbotsford Pilots are heating up, and have now won five straight games.
The Pilots beat the Aldergrove Kodiaks 6-5 at home on Friday, fueled by big performances from forwards Alexander Methorst and Dryden Michaud.
The pair scored two goals apiece to help the Pilots avenge a 5-1 loss to the Kodiaks on Nov. 7. Head coach Jim Cowden said he liked his team’s effort.
“Throughout the game they couldn’t handle our speed, but we let them back in the game in the second period,” he said. “We fell asleep for a bit in the second, but I thought for the most part we played well…”
Sean Olson opened the scoring early in the first, but the Kodiaks scored two unanswered goals to end the first period up 2-1. The Pilots grabbed the lead back with goals from Jackson Waniek and Methorst, but the Kodiaks tied it up again at three. Michaud then scored a goal with two seconds left in the second to give the Pilots a lead they would not let go.
Michaud and Methorst both scored again in the third, but the Kodiaks scored a pair of goals to close the gap to one. New Pilots goalie Lucas Mills picked up his first Pacific Junior Hockey League win, and made 29 saves.
Cowden said regular starter Jacob Crawford was sick and unavailable, and Mills was a trade deadline pickup by the Pilots. Abbotsford also had to call up an affiliate goalie to back up Mills on Friday. He had previously been playing with the Burnaby Winter Club’s midget AAA team. Cowden said Mills was solid in his debut.
“There were a few goals he’d like to have back, but I thought he was good.”
The Pilots continued their winning ways on Saturday, with a 4-2 win over the Mission City Outlaws. Abbotsford took a 2-0 lead early in he second period, after goals from Olson and Cole Methorst. Alexander Methorst and Hayden Guilderson scored the Pilots’ other goals. Mills stopped 33 of 35 shots to earn his second win in two days.
The loss was just the sixth of the season for the top-ranked Outlaws, but three of those losses have come at the hands of the Pilots.
Abbotsford’s record is now 17 wins, nine losses and one overtime loss, and they are in second place in the Harold Brittain conference.
The Pilots next travel to Richmond on Thursday, and then host the Grandview Steelers at MSA Arena on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Friday’s game is the 17th annual teddy bear toss game, with fans having the opportunity to toss a stuffed animal onto the ice after the Pilots score their first goal.
All of the donations go to the local Salvation Army for underprivileged children this holiday season.