Heading into his team’s Pacific Junior Hockey League semifinal against the Aldergrove Kodiaks, Abbotsford Pilots head coach Jim Cowden predicted it would be a long series between two evenly matched teams.
Tuesday’s opener at MSA Arena lived up to that billing for two periods, as the Pilots built a slim 2-1 lead.
But the third period was a different story, as the hosts exploded for six goals – including five in the last seven minutes of regulation – to claim an 8-1 victory and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Eight different players scored for the Pilots: Brett Kolins, Kyle Star, Colton Cowden, Michael Tebbutt, Brandon Daase, Adam Rossi, Dakota Schipper and Christopher Vinette.
Abby captain Kolins added three assists for a four-point night, while Aaron Oakley made 25 saves in the win. Ryan Veillet scored the Kodiaks’ lone goal.
The Pilots, coming off a sweep of the Mission City Outlaws in the first round, won the special teams battle, going 4-for-9 on the power play while Aldergrove went just 1-for-5.
Game 2 of the series goes Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Aldergrove Community Arena, while Game 3 is back at MSA Arena on Friday (7:30 p.m.).